Millennials are now the single largest age group in America, and their habits, needs, and preferences are driving technological development at an incredible pace. This is the generation that grew up with the Internet being a part of everyday life, and embraced with open arms the introduction of the smartphone in the last decade. This familiarity and comfort with technology means that Millennials are quick to adopt and adapt to newer, enhanced technologies. It’s these technologies that are set to play a major role in modern America.

Self-driving Cars

The self-driving car is not quite here yet. Companies like Tesla and Mercedes-Benz offer driver assistance software, which can aid with attention assist and lane keeping assist, among other things. However, the promise of the fully autonomous, robotic car is still a bit over the horizon. Companies like Uber, Google, Tesla, Volvo, and other major automakers are actively working to make this vision a reality. While self-driving cars aren’t quite here yet, but they soon will be.

Millennials are the most enthusiastic about this new form of transportation. Perhaps this is because of the technology’s potential to revolutionize personal mobility. Millennials have already embraced ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to a greater degree than other age groups. The leap between hiring a car driven by a stranger and a car that drives itself isn’t that big, so long as you trust the underlying technology. And again, Millennials are a product of the digital age, so why wouldn’t they?

How Millennials Are Fueling Enhanced Technologies

Mobile Work Environments

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) philosophy is rather simple, and it’s revolutionizing the workforce. Individuals work with (and from) their own tablets, smartphones, and laptops, which in turn enables them to work from anywhere. Companies don’t have to furnish hardware to their employees, and employees gain freedom and independence. The BYOD phenomenon has resulted in a work culture that is becoming increasingly fluid. Already, nearly 3 out of 4 companies have BYOD policies in place. As Millennials start to move up the work force, the mobile work environment may just become the new gold standard.

Home Automation

Millennials love the concept of the automated home. In fact, nearly one-quarter of Millennials have incorporated some degree of automation into their house or apartment. This may take the form of a smart thermostat, like the Nest, or a smart home hub, like Google Home. It’s easy to see why Millennials would embrace this technology. The automated home can not only transform the way that you interact with your devices and your house, it can transform the way that you live your life. Ultimately, home automation seeks to make your life easier and more convenient.

One thing to consider before embarking down this route, however, is home automation security. It’s crucial that you protect your loved ones and your valuables at all times, whether you’re home or not. Security leaders offer solutions for home automation that provide everything from burglary and fire monitoring to remote management and control. You can arm your security system, turn off a light, control your thermostat and other appliances all from a mobile device. As the connected home gains traction, it’s quite possible that such home solutions could become the norm in new houses and apartments.

Sharing Economy

Companies like Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB allow individuals to monetize their time, energy, and property. And they owe their success to Millennials’ widespread adoption of the sharing economy. The basic concept of the sharing economy is simple: I have something that you need, so why not rent it out to you? Perhaps that thing is a ride to the airport. Or perhaps it’s a room to sleep in for a weekend. With services like Uber and AirBnB, people can do just these things.

The older generation may scoff at the idea of sleeping in someone’s room while on vacation, as opposed to in an upscale hotel, but Millennials are different. Sharing economy companies are capitalizing on this difference in mentality to the tune of billions of dollars. Suffice to say, the sharing economy likely isn’t going anywhere, particularly if self-driving cars become a reality. Combine self-driving cars with a sharing economy business model, and it may even overturn the entire concept of car ownership.

Thank You, Millennials!

And we don’t mean that facetiously! Much of the technological progress over the past decade can be attributed to Millennials and their enthusiasm for all things digital. This enthusiasm of technology and embracing of the “new” has fueled the development of enhanced technologies like self-driving cars, home automation, and the Internet of Things. Now that these technologies have been born, it’s time to nurture them so that they can reach their full potential. When they do, the world is going to once more be transformed.