Globally technology is not just constantly evolving and maturing but has started to accelerate rapidly. Chandragupta Amritkar tries to compile some of the most interesting Trends and Technologies for 2016.
With mobile phones, internet, WhatsApp, cloud in constant usage we may wonder how we ever functioned without them. These seem old technologies as technology change is accelerating with thousands of ideas, apps and innovations coming to the forefront every month. Today everyone is connected to everyone, everywhere, literally all the time.
Newer technologies – some unhe
ard by many, potential of some yet to be fully tapped are rapidly making headway in our day-to-day lives. Many prominent research groups (Gartner, Juniper Research), companies (Ericson) have highlighted the top technology trends for 2016. How these technologies can impact our lives and business are endless. Some of the top trends and innovations set to change the industry are virtual reality, sports wearable’s, drones, IoT, robots, smart homes, tracking, underlying tech, augmented reality, 3D printing etc. A brief look into the technologies driving the $223.2 billion consumer technology industry.
VR might seem inextricably linked to gaming, but the technology actually has many practical applications including education, healthcare, sports, retail and entertainment. Tech innovations plus lower costs are expected to see virtual reality more common. Virtual reality (immersive multimedia) and augmented reality (a layering of computer-generated sensory input onto real-world views) have seen major investments and advances in the past year. Facebook purchased Oculus Rift (high-resolution immersive VR goggles) for US$2.1 Billion; Samsung, Sony and Google have all made major investments in VR in this past year; GoPro has made a made a turn-key 360° camera array that will work with Google Jump VR software. Consumers want virtual technology for everyday activities such as watching sports and making video calls.
Augmented reality (AR) blends virtual content into the real world to create an immersive user experience and is being implemented by retail, business, enterprise, and auto companies. Microsoft’s Hololens is an advanced augmented reality system with gesture controls – a see-through holographic computer enabling high-definition holograms to come to life in your world, integrating with your physical places, spaces, and things. With so many major technology companies making deep investments in this space, VR and AR will continue to improve in quality, will get less expensive and much more prevalent in the next few years.
Wearable’s have been a constant topic of conversation in 201with a mixed response – Will it click or not? Will it be a profitable venture or not? Will the big giants eat up the smaller players? Will somebody spend on just a show-off device? etc. Wearable’s got a good boost in mid 2015 thanks to the actual arrival of the Apple Watch, but the hype surrounding wearable’s is s5 till going on.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) predicts wearable technology will be the top trend in fitness in 2016. Wearable’s (including smart watches, smart bracelets, smart name badges, and wearable beacons) are expected to see an increasing trend in 2016.
Wearable technology apart from fitness will see it being incorporated as a monitoring and tracking device into clothing and fashion accessories. Airlines such as American, Easy Jet, British Airways, Avios, and Emirates have Apple Watch apps for departure/arrival/gate change notifications and mobile boarding passes. Hotels such as Starwood, Accor, InterContinental have apps for mobile check-in, arrival and departure information. Starwood allows guests to use the Apple Watch as a key to enter rooms.
Often called D2D or ‘proximity services’, device-to-device communications are revolutionary. Today unfortunately cell phones that can’t communicate directly with one another but D2D is designed to take the strain from cellular networks by making it technically possible to send an email, a photo or a video to your friend nearby and data will via Bluetooth Low Energy or Wi-Fi Direct, and not via a cellular tower. Probably in the long run we may do away with cell towers. A relief to many health conscious people.
Technology in retail space
Retail market is plays a major part for us Indians. In 2016 we will see mobile POS solutions which are much more efficient for retailers and for consumers they create a better overall experience. Also advancements in cloud computing mean mobile POS systems cost only a fraction of what traditional cash registers cost. We will see a lot more digital technology in physical stores. Also social media experiences will begin to merge with in-store shopping experiences.
3D Printing and food printers
3D printing has been embraced by hobbyists and makers and is a boon for innovation, enabling start-ups to produce prototypes cheaply and efficiently. Advances in 3D printing have already enabled 3D printing to use a wide range of materials, including advanced nickel alloys, carbon fibre, glass, conductive ink, electronics, pharmaceuticals and biological materials. Most practical applications for 3D printers that will see growth are industrial, aerospace, medical, automotive, energy, military and restaurants. On the consumer side, half of Smartphone users surveyed by Ericsson ConsumerLab in October 2015 said they’d want a 3-D printer to print household objects like spoons, toys and spare parts for appliances. About 44 percent said they’d even want to print their own food or nutritional supplements. HP’s anticipated entry into the business in the second half of 2016 is expected to help rapid growth. But serious legal issues will be 3-D printed guns and 3-D printed vital organs which can be misused.
Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN)
Centralised-RAN or Cloud-RAN is a technology from the China Mobile Research Institute where the cloud and the cellular network merge. The Cloud Radio Access Network (C-RAN) is a new architecture that streamlines cellular networks. An easy way for mobile operators to grow both capacity and the speed of wireless networks is by making each cell in a cell phone network virtual. The cell towers and infrastructure may remain, but by using C-RAN some components are centralised in the cloud, and shared between cells. C-RAN depends on wired links for faster data transfer.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is growing by leaps and bounds as we rapidly approach the day when connectivity is considered standard. IoT platforms constitute the work IT does behind the scenes from an architectural and a technology standpoint to make the IoT a reality.
A robot that greets you in a range of surprising places, from store aisles and hotel hallways to your own living room will see a growth in 2016. According to Softbank when Pepper (a social, humanoid robot and can sense human emotions) was released in Japan this June, the first 1,000 robots sold out instantly. The company plans to sell 1,000 per month at $1,600.
While Drones present intriguing and exciting possibilities, their role is still evolving. with consumer drone revenue expected to exceed $2 billion in 2016, many manufacturers are looking on the brighter side. Consumer drones will come from Samsung and Sony, but don’t be surprised if an Apple iDrone comes in picture.
Innovation is pushing the connected home in a multitude of directions, resulting in a mind-boggling array of “smart” systems, products, and apps.
High-speed wireless data transfer is what WiGig – also known as 802.11ad – is all about. Created by Intel but now under the umbrella of the Wi-Fi Alliance, WiGig is perfectly suited to a future where all Smartphone users are filming in Full HD video or 4K. WiGig will push files, photos and music 10 times faster than a regular wireless network using Wi-Fi, and can ramp up as fast as 7Gbps. WiGig is all tied up with the D2D movement.
Crowd funding for start-ups
As per Juniper Research many tech start-ups will get substantial crowd funding (where people invest small sums in projects mostly across the net). In 2013, the crowd funding industry raised over $5.1 billion worldwide. Crowd funding is being explored as a potential funding mechanism for creative work and for funding start-up companies. A variety of crowd funding platforms have emerged to allow ordinary web users to support specific philanthropic projects without the need for large amounts of money.