Innovation influences the way we live. We thought it would be fun to look back to see what life was like just a decade ago, and how technology has changed our day-to-day interactions for the better.
1. Home Entertainment
Remember going to the local Blockbuster or Hollywood Video to pick up your favorite movies to watch? The convenience of in-home streaming services like Netflix and Hulu changed the way we consume media. In 2008, Netflix had a little more than 7.5 million DVD-by-mail subscribers. Today, Netflix has 110 million streaming subscribers, and it revolutionized the TV and movie industry by releasing series of its own and inspiring others to do the same. Now, instead of waiting for new episodes to come out each week, we can binge watch our favorites in one sitting. Netflix and chill, indeed.
2. Real Estate Property Listings
A decade ago, when people were starting their journey to buy a home, the first step was to get in touch with a real estate agent. This experience was often time-consuming and intimidating to some. Back then, Zillow was still a startup and it attracted millions of prospective homeowners to begin their search for available properties and to learn valuable insights about their next home. Today, Zillow is a public company that attracts more than 160 million visitors each month, with no sign of slowing down.
3. Ride Sharing
Remember as a child, you were told to never talk to strangers, and especially to never get in their car? Before Uber launched in 2009, people would be crazy to solicit rides from a stranger using their mobile device. Now, millions of people enjoy the on-demand ride sharing services to get around every day. Many are even giving up car ownership in favor of taking an Uber or Lyft for their commute.
The iPhone was in its infancy: Launched just a year prior, most of us were still wary about the idea of an app store and having a device more powerful than a desktop in our pocket. Today, the smartphone functions as a critical part of our daily lives. Beyond a communication device, smartphones (and the tablets that came next) transformed the way we work, the way we transact, the way we shop, the way we interact with the world and information around us. These devices have created whole new marketplaces and industries, and gave way to revolutionizing many legacy businesses, including banking and real estate.
5. Financial Awareness & Education
Banks and other financial institutions have always been available to hold our money, and possibly provide some advice on how and where to invest. In the last decade, businesses have been popping up that help people be smarter about their financial decisions. Companies like Mint, Wally and Acorn help us manage spending and savings, while others, like, Credit Karma and WalletHub, give us instant access to our credit report. Armed with knowledge and better education about our financial picture, we can plan our next vacation, save for retirement, or even purchase our next home.
6. Shipping of Goods
Whether USPS, UPS or FedEx, ten years ago shipping a package was expensive and took time to arrive. Now, most online retailers absorb the shipping costs, and some retailers, like Amazon, offer memberships that provide all-inclusive shipping for all their products, among other perks. Delivery options are not just limited to three carriers, as many independent contractors have built businesses to meet the expanding needs of the e-Commerce and the on-demand consumer. Some companies are even testing new tech to get your package to you immediately. Drone delivery, anyone?
7. Grocery Shopping
Remember the days of pushing a cart around a crowded store, pausing to poke and prod the produce, and then waiting in an enormous line to check out? We don’t miss it either. Today, Kroger, Safeway, Walmart, Whole Foods, among others, now empower savvy shoppers to select groceries online and within a few hours, you can pull up and have your groceries loaded into your trunk. Or better yet, delivered to your home. This trend has also given rise to on-demand meal delivery. Start-ups like DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats are capitalizing on our need to get things quickly, especially meals. This industry is innovating rapidly as more retailers are adapting to increasing consumer expectations for convenience.
8. Online Shopping
It’s incredible to think that a decade ago we were reluctant to enter our credit card information and make a purchase over the internet. According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center in 2008, 51 percent of Americans did not purchase a product online, ever. Today, nearly eight out of ten of us have bought a product or service over the web. Additionally, 19 percent of all U.S. retail e-commerce sales occurred over a mobile phone. Turns out shopping in our pajamas is a great idea.
9. Smart Home Technology
Beyond alarms, home security systems in 2008 resembled fortresses and were expensive to install and maintain. Today, there are many smart, internet-connected devices and appliances that provide security, convenience and safety, at a nominal cost. Examples include Nest Thermostat and Smoke Detector, Ring Doorbell, Arlo Surveillance Cameras, Simplisafe monitoring, programmed smart locks on doors. As a result of these technologies, our homes are more energy efficient, safer and better protected against break-ins.
10. Home Shopping
Back in the day, home shopping was a cumbersome process that involved finding a house online or visiting the home, finding out the agent’s information, contacting the agent, setting up a home visit and then walking through the property of interest. It makes us tired just thinking of it! The availability of detailed home listings and even new 3D home tours make it easy for people to shop for their dream home from anywhere, and they can even instantly schedule a site visit right from a listing. Going one step further, OfferPad provides “Instant Access” for its homes in Phoenix, that allows prospective home owners the option of touring a home they love at their discretion, whenever they want to see it and on their own terms (with or without an agent).
It’s hard to imagine how we ever survived having to shop for our own groceries, or watch DVDs (or gasp, VHS), or pay for and wait for a package to arrive. The advancements in last ten years have fundamentally impacted nearly every aspect of our daily lives, and this rapid change doesn’t show any sign of slowing, and we are excited to be a part of the next wave of innovation.