In 1965 Intel co-founder Gordon Moore articulated what has become widely known as “Moore’s Law”: that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double about every two years. Consider that this has held true for some 50 years now, and you don’t need to be a computer scientist to get the pace of the modern digital revolution.
And as technology keeps on colliding with reality, our lives and businesses will change forever.
Digital assistants will manage our schedules, autonomous cars will take us to our next meeting and a new generation of wearables will keep us fit, healthy and constantly connected.
Here are just some of the technologies to keep an eye on in the year ahead:
We’ve all heard of virtual reality and augmented reality, but mixed reality is set to be even bigger. This form of reality is set to be highly integrated, with technology overlaying our daily activities seamlessly to create a personalised, digitally enhanced experience to enable smarter, faster business. This integration will enable deeper integration and harvesting of data than ever before.
Virtual reality and augmented reality will make their way into bricks-and-mortar stores, enabling personal shopping experiences like never before. Go to a shop, get your body scanned and have a complete, customised wardrobe created for you. The real world will take on a new meaning, with stores as brand embassies designed to create new experiences for customers outside the limits of their internet browsers.
The road to autonomy
In 2017, autonomous vehicles – cars that can drive themselves without human intervention – are predicted to progress in leaps and bounds. Look for software updates from Tesla, and new products from Mercedes and others, to introduce this technology over the next few months. Driving will be safer and more convenient, and new businesses, such as co-owned vehicle ride sharing, will emerge.
Watches and other fitness trackers will mean big business, especially with added features such as the ability to take blood pressure and measure glucose levels. Beyond smart watches, the next step change is in smart devices and wearables such as contact lenses, skin patches and glasses.
Distributed Ledger Technology (known as DLT or blockchain) will make some banking processes radically more efficient, and create a new type of competitor for core banking services. This secure, transparent technology built on open-source principles, and it’s set to transform almost every aspect of a business’s finances – from invoices that pay themselves to share certificates that automatically send dividends if profits reach a certain level.
Technologies such as Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa are like having a butler who can anticipate your needs and desires. From pre-emptively booking an Uber to take you to your next meeting to ordering more coffee pods when the machine is empty and organising a restaurant and inviting guests to a birthday party, the promise is endless.
Everyday devices that can communicate between each other and users will transform day-to-day life. Think consumer goods that automatically call a technician if they’re in need of service through to office buildings so green they manage their own energy use and waste disposal, sending power credits back to the grid and using smart solar to heat (and cool) the structure.