The future is an attitude of hope and optimism
Thanks to a wealth of digital, design, and sustainability disruptions, our future has never looked brighter or more promising
When it comes to our homes, tech will become seamlessly integrated with our interiors. Think virtual reality gaming, smart appliances that predict when you want a cup of tea, lighting that aligns itself with your mood. Photographs: Getty Images
From fashion to food, design and travel to technology, the possibilities for growth, expansion, and a better life are endless. With the next 20 years expected to be some of the most progressive our planet has ever seen we examine a selection of exciting changes we can all look forward to experiencing together.
The future is impactful – in a good way. The fastest growing and best-loved companies in the world today have giving-back to people and the planet at their core. The future of the companies we invest our hard-earned spend with will need to have green goals and a social conscience to win big. Take Audi, as a company. Committed to seeing the changes and challenges the world and our mobility is facing as opportunities to create and evolve, Audi is transforming itself from a car manufacturer to a provider of carbon-neutral premium mobility. It's production plants in both Brussels and in Hungary are already carbon-neutral and all Audi sites will become carbon-neutral on balance by 2025. In addition, Audi is investing heavily in EV technology, emphasising its passion and prioritisation in the future of electric mobility.
Technology has never been more important to us. During this year’s lockdown, wifi connections, online tools, and high-tech hardware became vital lifelines for work, education, social connection, and entertainment. In response to our digitised day-to-day routines, industries, companies, and services are going to adapt rapidly. Brand new movies will be available to watch in HD from home while they hit cinemas, so you can choose to venture out or enjoy from your own living space; streaming concerts and events will become major at-home occasions and, with the dawn of 5G, being online will become faster, easier to navigate and more immersive and fun than ever before. When it comes to our homes, tech will become seamlessly integrated with our interiors. Think virtual reality gaming, smart appliances that predict when you want a cup of tea, lighting that aligns itself with your mood, and home assistants that organise your most important appointments for you, all at the touch of a button.
While our reliance on tech is set to grow in the coming years, simultaneously, real-world experiences will hold even more value and importance. Take driving for example; now the process and ritual of exploring, being on the open road, and enjoying the great outdoors is higher on our list of priorities than ever before as an antidote to our prescribed screen time. Concept cars like the Audi AI:ME give us a preview of how visionary interior design could turn self-driving vehicles into new living spaces, and reveal how the mobility of tomorrow is already taking shape today. Driving, thanks to advancements like these, will help us to fully immerse ourselves in a luxury, hands-off, experience.
With air travel becoming more expensive and less necessary, the future of travel lies somewhat in car and rail – but not as we know it. Super high-speed train travel is set to become a global mainstay, allowing us to commute with ease and visit far-flung places without sacrificing the planet. As for motor developments, vehicles like the new Audi Q4 e-tron give us an insight into just what’s possible with electric vehicle design; a high powered battery with a range of over 450 kilometres, driving power that allows acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds and a brighter, more versatile, but with even lower energy consumption vehicle that sets the bar when it comes to engineering and design capabilities.
During the pandemic, several major high street brands refused to pay their factory workers for products that had already been made. The backlash against these decisions was widespread and the trickle-down effect has meant that consumers are asking more questions about the ethics of their clothing. Over the coming years, our favorite fashion brands will become a lot more transparent, with many predicting that our clothing labels will include information on how and where pieces were made, along with an insight into what impact they’ve had environmentally.
A host of new eco-friendly, high-tech fabrics are set to replace our everyday items. Collagen protein and mushroom protein are just two of the new materials being used to create high-performing leathers. They are produced in a lab, grown to the exact measurements of the bag or shoe or accessory required, all without any livestock or animals required in their making. With water supplies needing to be conserved, we’ll be turning away from thirsty materials like cotton and looking instead to bamboo, hemp, and Lyocell, a natural, manmade material made from wood cellulose or pulp. Using recycled and reimagined materials will be key too, and will be seen across a multitude of industries, not just fashion. Audi is already leading the way. The new Audi A3’s textiles include up to 89 per cent recycled PET bottles, which are transformed into yarn and used for insulating materials and absorbers, the side panel trims of the luggage compartment, the loading floor and the mats, seating systems, seatbelts, carpets and more.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers have had to switch-up their shopping habits this year. Buying online and shopping hyper-locally are both trends set to continue. More small and locally maintained businesses and suppliers are set to thrive, and more of our products and items will come from our localities. As for online shopping, we’ll be enjoying faster deliveries and a wealth of new options when it comes to the shops we can choose from. Already, so many retailers have had to build online shops to serve customers in 2020, and that trend is only going to grow.
Grow your own
As for the food we eat itself, Covid-19 sparked a baking habit that has had a lasting impact. Consumers are taking more interest in setting aside time to grow and prepare food themselves, and have a renewed sense of interest and passion for what goes into their diets. Our veggies and daily essentials will be coming more from our own back gardens and ovens than ever before.
The way we eat is changing – and fast. Takeaways and high-end cuisine enjoyed at home have become the go-to in 2020, allowing us the dining out experience from our own dining tables. Expect to see more restaurants provide cook-your-own options of their best dishes alongside food deliveries that come via drone for ultimate speed and freshness.
The Covid 19 pandemic has helped emphasise the importance of our human connection and real-world experiences. That appreciation is only going to grow, with the trend toward quality design, high-performing products, and special experiences becoming our collective priority. Innovative design will be valued above all else. Feats of engineering like the automated self-driving Audi AI:ME are being imagined to allow the user the freedom to decide at any time if they want to drive themselves or would rather leave it to the car, so that they can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
Seeing the world with different eyes is what drives us. And with so many exciting developments and breakthroughs to look forward to, our attitude to the future can, thankfully, be an optimistic and hopeful one.
The future is an attitude. To discover the future of mobility, visit progress.audi/progress