The Transformation Age: Surviving a Technology Revolution

A look into the opportunities and challenges of the digital era that companies and entrepreneurs face every day.


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An economy in which the office is a thing of the past… a sensor system that tracks and identifies goods in transit… a camera that records every life experience in minute detail. If these sound like dreams of a distant future, think again.

This program examines the boundless opportunities and staggering challenges of the digital era, presenting concise case studies of 21st-century companies, entrepreneurs, and advances. Google’s business applications, Kodak’s digital ventures, Microsoft’s Sensecam, Hewlett-Packard’s high-def teleconferencing interface, Linden Labs’ Second Life universe, and Craigslist’s immensely popular classified ads are among the developments and strategies in the spotlight.

Video Segments

1. Transformation of Office Functions Before the introduction of information technology, offices consisted of people who physically helped the physical functions of the office. Soon, technology not only came to the aid of office workers, but also started replacing them.

2. Cell Phone: Mobile Office A model/entrepreneur uses her cell phone as a mobile office. Contact software helps her maintain a large database. She receives and sends e-mail, and she credits her connectivity for her success.

3. Offices Obsolete: Computer Interface A Seattle consulting firm that employs hundreds of people gave up its office and turned its service into software--the company now "lives inside its computers." They serve their clients through web-based applications accessible from anywhere.

4. Video Phones and Video Conferencing The first demonstration of a video phone was at the 1964 World's Fair. Several more attempts followed in the 1970s and 1990s. Experiments with di-lithium crystals in the HP Halo multi-point system make virtual face-to-face meetings possible.

5. Business Collaboration Through Google Google has seen the future of information technology and have begun production of software programs only available online--and accessible from anywhere. This makes business collaboration possible from anywhere in the world.

6. Inventory Tracking with Technology America's small retail industry is in trouble. Antiquated inventory tracking reduces profit in convenience stores. Bill Scott's IT software helps store owners track every item as it is sold.

7. Radio Frequency Identification Radio frequency identification (RFID) has almost unlimited possibilities. It is used in asset management, retail stores, people management, and more. RFID is more efficient than bar coding because it is hands-free data capture

8. Technology: Virtuality Retail merchants look at the possibilities of people shopping and buying in a virtual world. Among the largest of virtual worlds is "Second Life." Virtual worlds are the new communication medium. Today 1 billion people interact in a computer environment.

9. Kodak Company's Digital Ventures In the late 20th-century, technological advances changed photography. Kodak produced the first digital camera in 1975--it weighed 8.5 lbs.

10. Kodak: Behind the Digital Wave Even though Kodak had invented digital photography technology, they did not pursue it because it would detract from their lucrative film business. Consumers, however, demanded digital technology.

11. Craigslist: The Means to Advertise Everything The newspaper industry resisted digital technology to its detriment. Jim Buckmaster's Craigslist has 8 billion page views per month and operates in over 450 cities worldwide. Is Craigslist "stealing" lucrative classified ads from newspapers?

12. Technology and Electric Paper Instead of Newspapers The newspaper industry is becoming more unprofitable in the high-tech world of "electric paper" and "electronic ink."

13. Technology and Finance Industry: Automated Trading Technology makes world markets more efficient. The secret to the success of technology and money is the algorithm principle that makes automated trading possible. File trading software allows Internet users to exchange any digital products for free.

14. Digitization Transforms Medicine The Mayo Clinic was the first to create cross-referenced, dossier-type files on patients. The burden of paperwork moved them towards electronic file keeping. It takes over inventory control, patient medications, lab results, and more.

15. Microsoft's Sensecam Microsoft's SenseCam is a wearable digital camera designed to take photographs passively, without user intervention, while it is being worn.

16. Digitization of Memories Microsoft's MyLifeBits is a digital system for storing all of one’s digital media, including documents, images, sounds, and videos. It is a supplement to human memory. The technology revolution is transforming nearly everything.


Grade: 9-12

The Transformation Age: Surviving a Technology Revolution (DVD)
© 2008
Time: 98 Minutes

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