The equestrian world is steeped in tradition and is not accustomed to change and to counter that, the technology industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation. That was how Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, summarized the industry's reverence for innovation on the first day of his employment. So, it's the best of both world's right? Well, guess what? They are converging! Take for example how disruptive Uber is to the transportation industry. Times are a changing and what started as a whisper is now becoming a roar!
I think it is an exciting time to be a human, and a horse for that matter - because technology is giving us advancements and opportunities that are making a significant difference in performance, care and the overall sport.
Let's review some of the significant technological changes in the last decade alone:
2007: The Apple iPhone was first released in 2007. The very first smart phone. Now we can't live without them because they are basically tiny computers in the palm of our hands that can handle taking pictures, ordering food, banking, and, oh yeah, you can even call people on them.
2008: Google’s Self Driving Car project started in 2008. Currently, Google’s self driving cars have clocked over 2 million miles and are being tested on the streets of major cities across the US.
2009: Crowd-sourced Funding: Kickstarter went live on April 28th, 2009 and has completely changed the way that small projects and businesses get off the ground by appealing directly to their intended customer base for initial startup funds.
2010: This was the year that Tablets first came on the scene: The iPad was released in 2010, and now pretty much every computer manufacturer and more makes a tablet PC.
2011: Curiosity, the Mars Rover, launched in November of 2011. So far, he’s hanging out, looking for signs of habitability (if Mars could support life), and singing himself happy birthday every year. OH! And in 2014, he found water under the surface of Mars. That’s a huge deal.
2012: 3-D Printing became a more affordable reality when the Cubify Cube 3D Printer hit the market.
2013: 2013 & 2014 were big years for robotics as great leaps were made in the area of robot agility.
2014: In 2014, Google debuted Google Glass – wearable augmented reality. We know augmented reality as tech or images that combines with, well, reality, and augments it. A great example of this is Pokemon Go. While versions of VR (virtual reality) and Augmented reality have been around since the 80’s, things like Oculus Rift are making them more available to the mass market.
2015: On September 9, 2014, Apple Inc. announced its first smartwatch called Apple Watch that was released in early 2015.
2016: Bring on early A.I. with the Voice-operated assistants which are used to expand their ecosystems - with Apple's Siri and Amazon Alexa becoming household items, in 2016 Amazon added a powerful brand of smart speakers called the Amazon Echo to build a home automation hub.
2017: Advancements in computerized facial recognition to transform everything from policing to the way people interact every day with banks, stores, and transportation services are becoming reality in China and will soon be used worldwide.
This digital world we live in comes with so many opportunities and challenges and one of the reasons I started this blog was to investigate all of the new advancements that will make a big difference in how we live and how it will cascade to every facet of our lives, including riding horses and competing.
Strap on your helmet and get ready for the TECH RIDE!