Supertramp < Supercities

Written by Jimmy Mengel
Posted December 10, 2020

In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o'clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness.

Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!

In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunny side up, 16 slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.

"Today is August 4, 2026," said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling, "in the city of Allendale, California." It repeated the date three times for memory's sake. "Today is Mr. Featherstone's birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita's marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills."

Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes...

This glimpse of the future is from Ray Bradbury's excellent short story, "There Will Come Soft Rains." He dreamed of a fully automated home that would not only cook you breakfast and keep your appointments, but also clean your home and even entertain your children.

Though his story was written way back in 1950, his predictions — while controversial at the time — were spot on.

But while Bradbury thought such futuristic luxuries wouldn't happen until 2026, they've arrived far earlier…

Right now, we have smart homes that provide us with the ability to control our thermostats and security systems with our smartphones. What was only imagination in the 1950s is now something we casually take for granted. 

This revolution started in 1974 with the first home automation technology: X10. It allowed domotics — or home automation — to use radio frequencies to signal and control certain devices. Being the early '70s, it allowed for such groundbreaking concepts like having your turntable program the selected tracks you wanted to play. 

For example, if you bought the Supertramp album Crime of the Century (the best record of 1974, with honorable mentions to David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs and Steely Dan’s Pretzel Logic) you could program your record player to play only the songs you wanted to hear: the one-two punch of "Asylum" and "Dreamer."

Obviously that seems quaint now, decades after CDs, iPods, and streaming services. But at the time it was revolutionary. 

We’re about to see a new revolution that will make the jump from programmable LPs look even sillier than it already does. Imagine investing in Apple or Spotify before their technologies changed the world...

One new trend will do the exact same thing, but on a much bigger scale…

The number of connected devices — like the thermostats and security systems in our “smart homes” — is set to swell from 700 million to over 3.2 billion devices by 2023.

The home automation market was worth $5.77 billion only a few years ago, but it's predicted to reach a around $40 billion this year. But that's only part of the story...

The reason this is all possible is the 5G revolution.

5G networks are expected to have over 1.7 billion global subscribers by 2025. The main advantage of the new networks is that they will have greater bandwidth, giving higher download speeds, eventually up to 10 gigabits per second — 100 times more than some current 4G networks.

Imagine driving a Ford Taurus for years and all of a sudden being handed the keys to a Ferrari.

5G will totally change the way people both live and work. Because it is so much faster, it will be able to handle far more connected devices than what is possible with 4G. Those improvements will enable a new wave of tech products.

It will allow for full-scale augmented reality.

Hospitals will be able to provide immediate access to data that can be shared from any location. That would allow doctors to use video and remote robots to provide care for patients in remote locations. It will allow those patients to be treated at home with virtual and augmented reality.

Talk about a futuristic house call...

We’re already starting to starting to see entire “smart cities” that use this technology to improve the lives of their citizens.

5G is the future, and it's best that you start investing in it now. Thanks to brand-new investments from the U.S. government and big tech, there are three companies that are going to lead the way.

You can get a jump on the future right here.


Jimmy Mengel

follow basic @mengeled on Twitter

Jimmy is a managing editor for Outsider Club and the investment director of several personal finance advisories, The Crow's Nest, and The Adventure Capitalist For more on Jimmy, check out his editor's page.

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