Picture yourself in 2028, exiting your self-driving car in the garage, and unlocking the front door with the touch of your fingertip. You are greeted by an automatically lit up Christmas tree and the perfectly cooked dinner, prepared just in time for your arrival. There’s a stack of presents by the fireplace, and the entertainment system is playing your favorite Christmas songs. Sounds lovely? Well, that's not all.
Amazon is the new Santa. Online shopping has changed the whole gift-giving scene, and even though the buzzing crowds are flocking to the malls in the pre-Christmas shopping frenzy, fewer people are making last minute purchases each year as they switch to eCommerce. Wishlists, online stores, personalized recommendations, and holiday deals simplify how we find and order what our loved ones desire.
What can be better and more convenient than that? Perhaps, receiving a surprise gift for yourself? Maybe your friends think they know what you want, and you think you know what they want, but frankly, Amazon just knows better now. So, don’t be surprised when you receive the most personalized and hoped for gift of all, dropped in your chimney by a drone, no less. Amazon has been testing drone delivery since 2013 and now the company is waiting for local regulatory approval to start delivering to your door in thirty minutes. The eCommerce giant will probably not get you a puppy or the booked vacation for the whole family (though, who knows?) but it’s fair to predict that Amazon will use all the information we willingly share to make the perfect choice.
Watching fireworks from New York to Tokyo. Last year, 1 million people visited Times Square in New York to see the Ball Drop live and share the excitement of celebrating New Year’s Eve in the crowd. Even if you’re not there in person, chances are, you will be watching the performance on TV and counting down with those who are there. But how about a much more immersive experience without leaving the comfort of your living room, freezing outside for hours, and wondering if you'll find a bathroom to use? On the 31st of December, tune into Netflix and goggle up to watch the event live. Start celebrating in the morning and watch the fireworks above the Sydney Opera House as Australians greet the future. Or be amazed by the impressive sight of a holographic dragon in the Hong Kong skies. Or go even further and use augmented reality to turn your backyard into a Copacabana Beach as you watch Brazilians throwing flowers into the ocean. While the technology still has a lot to figure out for seamless VR and AR experience, we can hope for complete immersion by the end of the next decade.
Catching up with reindeer on Hyperloop. Just as it will become far easier to bring distant locales closer, you will also be able to visit different destinations faster and with less effort. Even if the exact terms to commercially operated Hyperloop trains are unknown, the predictions promise to make at least three of the routes available by 2021, and not only for the US, but also Europe, India, and Mexico. Then, you can personally deliver your gifts to friends and family across the country, hug your grandma, play with nieces, and still be home by dinner just in time to unwrap your personalized Amazon gift. And it will be much easier to explain to kids how Santa manages to deliver all the gifts in one night.
Celebrating at Richard Branson’s zero gravity party. If you’re bored with the mundane preparations and want to spice up your holiday, buy yourself a Christmas in Space tour voucher to celebrate on board Virgin Galactic’s space station. If you trust the company’s confidence to get tourists to space in 2018, you may want to book your flight now. Processed eggnog and crumble-free gingerbread cookies will probably be a small price to pay for making a spacewalk with a view of Earth all lit up. And while alcohol is prohibited on the International Space Station, civilian space parties will probably include a selection of liquors, which you'll have to sip through a straw.
Your very own Christmas elf. The connected home will never be as useful as during the holiday season. Your personal AI assistant will set up the fireplace and adjust the heating, do the grocery shopping for you, and even cook meals from your personal Christmas menu. The fully functional robot kitchen, promised to launch for consumers in 2018, will prepare your dishes to perfection without you constantly checking the oven in preparatory stress. Ask your assistant to pick out the choicest Christmas playlist or movie to watch, according to everyone’s Netflix and Spotify preferences, create a festive atmosphere with color-changing lights, and take care of cleaning up after the party’s over. While Nest thermostats, Phillips’ smart lights, and Google Home are available on today's market, it might still take a few years to create a fully connected and universally adopted home environment.
Despite all these transformations over the years, the holidays haven’t yet lost their appeal to kids and adults the world over. We can easily picture the traditional, heart-warming Christmas tree (though maybe, a holographic one) on Mars and the stockings filled with some weird and unimaginable technology kids of the future will be obsessed with. How about you? How do you want to celebrate in the years to come? Tell us in the comments below and in the meantime, watch our infographic highlighting the main tech predictions of the Christmas season.