Who remembers dragging the family phone with its long extension cord into their bedroom to talk to friends without their entire family eavesdropping? Perhaps you’ve seen kids looking at an old public telephone box, then looking incredulous when told it’s a phone? Do you remember the first email you sent or the sound of connecting to the internet back in the dial-up days? It may feel like we’ve always relied on our smartphones for communication but, in the broader scheme of things, the advances in technology that have changed our lives are a relatively new, if now ubiquitous, part of our lives. This week on School Stream, we ask (and answer) the question: what does the future of communication look like? For all the talk around wearable tech, the metaverse and more, it might be surprising (and pleasing) to hear that the future of comms is decidedly human-centric.
School Stream is the future of school communication. Innovative tech powered by world-class, responsive customer service. See how we can help your school.
What does the future of comms look like?
The way we communicate has changed beyond all recognition in the past few decades. While some of the predictions floating around the web sound like the stuff of science fiction and in all honesty, seem downright terrifying – augmented telepathy, we’re looking at you! – it is likely the changes we will see in the near future operate at the sweet spot of innovation and people power. So, without further ado, here are some of the changes communication experts and futurologists think will be big news.
Repairing Trust through Transparency and Responsibility
Many communication experts cite combating fake news and disinformation as a key communication priority going forward, as people look to credible news sources, websites, and leaders after years of ‘alternative facts’ and the like. With the advent of social media effectively putting an end to our shared notion of a civic truth, and all the ramifications that have flowed from there, it’s a relief to hear that combating misinformation and rebuilding trust is going to be at the heart of communication in the future.
Culture, Tech and the Future of Communication
Working from home, ordering our coffees via an app and shopping online all offer convenience, but does it come at the cost of a reduction in our collective interpersonal skills?
“As we continue to advance technological communication options, we’ll be better able to reach more people in less time, but it means that we’ll rely more and more on technology and less on personal interactions.” ‘ These are the major communication trends of the future’
Communication experts speak of the increased automation and digitisation of our daily interactions as both ‘promising and alienating’. Most of us can relate to the discomfort of having Zoom meetings with people that we only ever see in a grainy Brady Bunch-like grid on our laptops. Without sharing a physical space, there is limited opportunity for all the incidental relationship building that happens when people are making their lunch in the shared kitchen or waiting by the printer. There is data to back this up too, with 17% of respondents to the 2022 Raglan Communications Benchmark Report saying that creating a positive culture for a remote workforce was their biggest challenge. Enter the next big moment in communication: a focus on building a positive culture, increasing engagement and using tech to support interpersonal relationships.
Welcome to the Metaverse
It would be remiss of us to omit the metaverse from any article discussing the future of communication. The idea of the metaverse has made its way into popular culture through recent films – including the most recent Spiderman outing – but who among us could explain exactly what it is? The truth is, no one really knows what it is or how it will work. Even the savviest of tech journalists are having trouble:
To help you get a sense of how vague and complex a term “the metaverse” can be, here’s an exercise: Mentally replace the phrase “the metaverse” in a sentence with “cyberspace.” Ninety per cent of the time, the meaning won’t substantially change. That’s because the term doesn’t really refer to any one specific type of technology, but rather a broad (and often speculative) shift in how we interact with technology….” (Wired, What is the Metaverse, Exactly?’)
While every tech company seems to be touting a future where we will all be interacting in online worlds, in the words of the same journalist, the ‘metaverse’ is going to be ‘mostly just something we still think of as the internet’.
Schools are already communication innovators
Even the way schools communicate with their families and community has evolved from the humble photocopied newsletter to a much more cost and time-efficient method. It was only a few years ago that school communication apps were a relatively new concept, now they are the norm at schools across Australia – and the world. We don’t want to brag, but schools tell us that School Stream is the perfect balance of innovation and customer service. But don’t take our word for it. In the words of a school principal we work with: “School Stream has gone from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’. I don’t know how we managed without it!”
Are you ready to School Stream? Let’s get started.