Robert Scoble on ‘The Age of Context’ at Record-breaking Startup Grind Toronto

Startup Grind Toronto hosted Robert Scoble, one of the world’s best-known tech journalists and co-author of Naked Conversations.

In two years of Startup Grind events in Toronto it was the most-attended to date with over 200 tickets sold and 15 volunteers helping to put it together.

Attendees were curious to learn insights from the progressive thinker that always seems to be ahead of the curve with where things are going after years of studying innovative startups, interviewing thousands of executives from technology companies and talking to academics from prominent universities such as MIT and Stanford. In his first book, he called out the importance of social media long before it happened and predicted that it would change the way corporations would communicate which is true today as social listeners are now part of job descriptions.

Scoble continues his travels around the world, hunting down leading edge technology for Rackspace. He also recently co-wrote another novel, Age of Context, that highlights his views on where things are going with big data, sensors, mobile devices and the future of privacy or lack thereof. He stopped in Toronto to share his latest ideas of where he thinks things are going in this new era.

Before the presentation and fireside chat started, the audience listened to a presentation from 43 North, who is hosting the world’s largest business plan competition. Five million dollars is being given out to startup founders in a democratic way to the best ideas judged by subject matter experts. All you need to apply is an idea. If you are one of the winners, you will be required to go work in Buffalo in an free incubator with mentorship. The company will also be free from corporate tax for 10 years if they stay in Buffalo. Applicants are applying from around the world for this innovative financing competition, check it out here.

Robert Scoble gave us a presentation giving us an overview of the five converging forces that will shape our behaviors and how we will live and communicate through devices, sensors and data. The “Big Data” revolution creates a new operating system for how we will live our lives. The five forces include: Sensors, Wearables, Location, Social and Data.

The impact will mean that products will be highly personalized. Our transportable devices are becoming even more connected and informed about us than the closest people in our lives which will ultimately influence how we communicate with voice and gestures in the future.

Can I trust it? Can I shut it off? The downside to all of this innovation is the lack of privacy, which Scoble personally doesn’t think is an issue if these advances continue to enhance the way we live. Robert and his co-author Shel Israel spent over a year researching the book and studied hundreds of new products. Scoble is known for being curious and connected to people starting companies and invests time in founders and their ideas. He feels that this of exponential shift opens up business opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The Age of Context will help you to have deep insights into your customer but for the consumer that can mean you may be discriminated against based on your behavior. Context is health, there is better living through sensors that can monitor your blood pressure, sugar levels and whether you will have a heart attack in the next 24 hours. Context means the new urbanite can get groceries delivered easily and access to other amenities living in the downtown core. Contextual privacy means that businesses will have to gain trust over the “freaky line.” Google is already there, implementing a lot of these ideologies and is here with anticipatory services, watching your calendar and telling you the weather of where you are travelling. The Google Glass is the new “wing man” helping assist you live your life.

The Age of Context will impact the everyday motions of how we live our lives.