When the Internet burst on the scene about 20 years ago, some tech experts vowed the Web would soon infiltrate all aspects of our lives. It took almost two decades, but Jonathan Curtis, vice president and research analyst, Franklin Equity Group, says many of the promises made during the dot-com era are finally being realized. Here, he discusses the advances he believes have helped keep those promises and explores a technology—artificial intelligence—that may change lives in the near future.

We believe many of the unfulfilled dreams of the dot-com era are finally being realized as the convergence of hyper-connected consumers and increasingly sophisticated technology and software has allowed companies to provide services that seemed impossible even 10 years ago. Such changes are creating opportunities within many industries such as transportation, financial services and agriculture which are often not thought of as technologically advanced.

Take, for example, ridesharing companies. The services they provide are only possible with the advances in GPS, cloud and payment technologies that are available today, along with the ability of consumers to utilize the service through their smartphones. Their success is also partly due to its intuitive software, which most people find easy to utilize.

In the financial services area, banks are no longer as reliant on their physical branches, as customers are conducting an ever-increasing amount of their business online—particularly from their smartphones. With the push of a button, customers can deposit checks or transfer funds between accounts. Banking via smartphone has become so prevalent that for most consumers a bank branch is largely unnecessary; most activity can easily be done from home, work or even a commuter train.

These advances have even spread to the farming industry, where growers are using technology to increase their crop yields and better manage their operations. One smartphone application, for example, leverages both GPS technology and proprietary software that uses a piece of land’s elevation, climate and geology to predicts its soil quality, and can interact with ground-based temperature and moisture sensors to determine the best time to plant.