Virtual Society: 2015
WiMAX became predominant thanks to Mobile IP, which seamlessly linked all the various standards of recent years. Now, a device made for a home 802.11 network could also roam onto a WiMAX network or a 3G network. This effectively filled the gaps in WiMAX coverage. More mergers took place as Internet providers tried to create complete coverage worldwide through various technologies, with a heavy concentration on WiMAX.
Smart appliances and wired homes became commercially viable and were widely adopted. Air conditioners could be turned on and off remotely. Coffee makers and alarms clocks worked together to make sure the coffee was ready right after the owner awoke. Nanotechnology was also popular and commercially viable. Jewellery joined watches as connected devices. Tiny computers were woven into clothing to monitor the vital signs of older people. In case of an emergency, paramedics and doctors would be instantly alerted. Everyone now had a small, portable biometric scanner of some sort (e.g. iris, face, voice, fingerprint, DNA) and used it for online identification. New uses for nanites emerged daily, repairing injuries inside the human body and even cleaning the home. Researchers were constantly finding new applications for nanotechnology. Ubiquitous computing was now a reality in 2015.
MIT announced it would become the first major university to shut its doors and go entirely online. That year, the university admitted its final class for its bricks-and-mortar programme, numbering only 300 students compared to the over 60,000 enrolled in its online programs. Other universities were expected to follow suit.
As a consequence of the virtual office effect, jobs no longer needed to be concentrated in large cities. People started to move to the countryside for a better quality of life and technology was directly responsible for making this possible. The real estate bubble worldwide burst as demand for hot urban real estate evaporated almost overnight. Many financial institutions suffered to the point of endangering the entire world economy due to loan defaults against urban real estate that were now valued at only a fraction of their original cost.