Whether you’re a die hard techie in search of the latest devices or a more laid-back observing consumer, you can’t help but look forward to the tech trends that will inevitably impact your business and consumers.
As a marketer, my perspective often focuses on how businesses can use new technologies to better connect with audiences. If you feel the same way, here’s a look at ten technologies to watch in the coming months.
1. Deep learning
Deep learning (DL), a branch of AI, is already on the cusp of the revolution. Deep learning “software attempts to mimic the activity in layers of neurons in the neocortex, the wrinkly 80 percent of the brain where thinking occurs. The software learns, in a very real sense, to recognize patterns in digital representations of sounds, images, and other data,” according to MIT Technology Review.
As a result, remarkable advances have been made in voice and image recognition. “Last June, a Google deep-learning system that had been shown 10 million images from YouTube videos proved almost twice as good as any previous image recognition effort at identifying objects such as cats. Google also used the technology to cut the error rate on speech recognition in its latest Android mobile software.”
Consider the popularity of drones, like the DJI Mavic Air. Deep learning-based computer vision techniques like object detection and depth prediction give drones the ability to autonomously follow you. Applications such as image, video, and audio recognition have already been deployed in a range of verticals that may directly or indirectly impact your industry.
2. Digital currency
Surely you’ve heard of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, a form of electronic cash. Despite Bitcoin’s massive crash in 2018’s bear market, “the adoption of cryptocurrencies keeps on increasing steadily to new heights,” according to Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance research. The underlying ideologies and fundamentals for these types of assets still have strong roots.
Ethereum, and newcomers Litecoin, Dash, and Ripple have become widely-accepted and traded currencies. They will continue to become a more broadly adopted means of trading. Digital currency is still in play as Calgary is reportedly the first city in Canada to launch its own coin, while UAE, Saudi Arabia plans to launch digital currency for cross-border transactions to be used by banks.
Blockchain-backed currency will undoubtedly continue to enable other technologies and drive efficiencies in finance, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, and much more.
For the uninitiated, blockchain allows many people to create entries into a record of information, and a community of users can control how the record of information is amended and updated. No one person controls the information. Thus, blockchain is so useful because, “it represents an innovation in information registration and distribution that eliminates the need for a trusted party to facilitate digital relationships.”
Perhaps blockchain’s most popular application is noticed in Bitcoin which has been important in its adoption on a broader scale. Expect an increase in companies delivering blockchain products and widely accepted use when it comes to the IoT … connected devices that–by 2020–will reach over 26 billion according to Gartner.
A growing number of businesses will feel the impact of blockchain through applications such as smart contracts–digital self-executing contracts powered by if-this-then-that (IFTTT) code. “In real life, an intermediary ensures that all parties follow through on terms. The blockchain not only waives the need for third parties, but also ensures that all ledger participants know the contract details and that contractual terms implement automatically once conditions are met.”
4. Industrial IoT
Empowered by deep learning (DL), industrial IoT (IIoT) continues in adoption. Consumers are familiar with IoT in terms of smart appliances, but IIoT connects industrial machines and devices in industries such as oil and gas, power utilities and healthcare.
Companies will continue to acquire and develop IIoT software, while we can expect new startups to emerge with intelligent manufacturing solutions. For example, software that can identify potential breakdowns before they impact production. Ultimately, IIoT will bring about new ways to service customers and create new revenue models in the process as companies across industries seek to drive efficiency and productivity gains.
Even though robotics research has been conducted for many decades, robotics adoption has not hit mainstream success. However, the past few years have seen increased market availability of consumer robots, as well as urban ground-based military and industrial robots.
Continued robotics research will trigger extensive adoption in healthcare (e.g., caregiving, surgical procedures, etc.). Combined with deep learning, robotics will make continued advancements.
6. Assisted transportation
The self-driving car is here (however, not yet available to the public). Meanwhile, automated assistance has experienced growth such as active park assist, in-car video, lane departure warning systems and more. Expect vehicle assistance technology to increase as machine and deep learning are further deployed in the automotive industry.
7. Assisted reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)
Apps like Blippar are turning U.S. streets into car showrooms through the power of AR. The app allows consumers to instantly recognize any vehicle make and model and unlock AR content from the vehicle using computer vision to recognize new and old cars in a magazine, on the streets or in a video. This is just one example of the growing use of assisted reality.
Meanwhile, the virtual reality market is pacing to reach $33 Billion by 2022. However not all categories are performing well. For instance, virtual reality video gaming has experienced slow adoption. “With high equipment costs and limited content, however, VR has remained a somewhat niche concept – adopted by gaming enthusiasts and (arguably) shunned by mainstream audiences.”
We can however expect VR to pay off from real use cases in the medical, education and enterprise sectors. Gaming and entertainment remain big opportunities, but the tech is still clunky and quite far from where it needs to be.
8. 3D Accelerators
3D Accelerators are installed in computers and function as individual computers to help process images faster. Accelerators have evolved and proven useful to boost hardware performance, energy efficiency and decrease costs. There are numerous of existing technologies (FPGAs and ASICs) and new ones (memristor-based DPE) with the potential to accelerate applications like CPU accelerators for machine learning, image recognition, etc.
9. Cybersecurity and AI
Cybersecurity is essential to everyday life and business, yet it is becoming harder to manage. Exploits have become tremendously sophisticated. Pure automation no longer suffices. This is why AI is required to develop data analytics and automated scripts. Humans actions are still anticipated to be a necessary requirement as it pertains to ethics. Technologies will emerge that exploit both AI and DL techniques to boost the performance of cybersecurity applications.
10. Frictionless business
Technology-based partnerships are the strategic ambition of every business, and every company’s technology infrastructure must evolve. As partnerships grow, the scale of connections means “reimagining the way the business transacts with others, and blockchain is a major key to creating, scaling, and managing those relationships.”
Meanwhile, the idea of “frictionless” commerce (a method of using data from devices, apps and websites to integrate buying as simply and seamlessly as possible into the everyday activities and natural environments of consumers) is on the rise. It now extends to mobile devices while frictionless payments (apps, mobile wallets, contactless cards, etc.) are in full force.
Technology is embedded in everything we do, improving the ways we live, work, and experience the world. There are existing technologies that have already experienced broad adoption (not mentioned above) including data science, cloudification, smart cities, sustainability and IoT/edge computing–to name a few. Overall, these trends are transforming society and creating the foundation for future growth.
Kush Patel is the Chief Technical Officer and Managing Director of Echo Innovate IT – a software development company. He is responsible for the overall operations of the company and has played a major role in making Echo innovate IT the top notch IT services provider and transforming it into a globally trusted web and app development company.