Driven by Millennials These 6 Tech Trends Have Changed Our World

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( — February 28, 2016) — In one way or another, every generation since the birth of the 20th century has played its part in driving technology. The Greatest Generation drove American industry during the height of World War II, baby boomers and Generation X created the first computers and built an economy of consumer electronics, and now millennials — those born between the early 1980s and 2000s — are driving an era of personal and immersive technology the world has never seen.

Those are two words that describe millennials well: personal and immersive. They don’t just read the news and watch TV; they create and customize content to suit their needs. The same goes for technology, and these six trends changing our lives are thanks to America’s young adults driving it all.

Person-to-Person (P2P) Services

In 2016, you can travel across town without calling a cab, stay in a room without paying a hotel and even travel by air without booking an airline. In fact, P2P services are so seamless that you don’t need to make one phone call to make any of it happen — smartphone apps and a few thumb taps are all it takes.

Companies like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft are cutting out the middle men by contracting anyone with a home or car to rent space for travelers or give rides around town for a fraction of the price compared to hotels and taxi cabs. And while some cry out for the drivers on the verge of job loss, millennials have only one response: We found a better way.

Streaming Services (Cord Cutting)

Millennials are the first generation to reject the status quo in television — sitting on the couch, flipping channels and sitting through commercials with no other choice in sight. And as services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now grow in popularity, more people (millennials and otherwise) are canceling cable and customizing groups of services to deliver the content they want, not the content that networks give them.

And the cable and satellite companies? Well, they’re catching onto this new trend quickly. You might be familiar with the Hopper, Dish’s high-tech DVR device, but now the HopperGo is the millennial machine for the 21st century. It uses expanded storage and streaming capabilities to send TV shows and movies to any screen or device, anywhere in the world. It’s just one example of how cable and satellite companies are adapting to cord cutting today.

Quick & Anonymous Social Media

While Facebook thrives globally, it’s actually dying with young users. Millennials are leaving Facebook faster than Moses and his people fled Egypt. Millennials complain that profiles contain too much incriminating information to potential employers, the cluttered newsfeed is overwhelming and it even causes social anxiety.

But where Facebook is dying, Twitter, Instagram and particularly Snapchat are thriving. So what do these three networks have in common that Facebook doesn’t? They’re quick, short and sometimes even anonymous. A Facebook profile is in your own name, it even requires such, and that means everything you post is attached to your reputation. But anyone can make a Twitter or Instagram handle under an alias, and many users do exactly that. Snapchat took it a step further by deleting posts no more than 24 hours after posting — ensuring (almost) nothing you share follows you to a job interview.

Cloud-Based Business Computing

Bloated IT teams and buzzing server towers are an outdated requirement to run a business, and leaving them in the 2000s is what makes creating startups easy and affordable for millennial entrepreneurs. Cloud storage is a game changer in the enterprise world — what once cost thousands to store on local servers requiring wasteful energy costs and extra maintenance is now done for pennies on the dollar in the cloud. In fact, according to RightScale, 82 percent of businesses were using a hybrid cloud strategy in 2015, an 8 percent increase from the previous year.

Sustainability & Ethics

Climate change and the environment is an important topic for millennials, and this generation may be the last hope to solve the growing crisis. More than any generation before them, millennials care deeply about corporate sustainability and have no problem holding companies accountable when they threaten the environment. Even a company as beloved as Apple isn’t exempt from scrutiny, which constantly improves its sustainability policies at the demands of consumers.

Mobile Payments

Since you don’t need a cab to travel or a hotel room to sleep, why use a wallet to pay? Millennials have changed the way we pay each other and the way we pay retailers. Apps like Square have revolutionized how merchants accept payments, Venmo makes sharing payment for pizza and beer a cinch, and digital wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay have changed the way we buy goods and services at retailers across the country.

The millennial generation has introduced a period of rapid, far-reaching change in America and across the globe. Driven by technology, political savvy and a fierce independence, they are a powerful societal force. It will be fascinating to watch where things go from here.