2016 has been an amazing year for all technology enthusiasts with the pioneering technology trends that were available. With the progressing year, the technology diversified ways in which we could communicate and retrieve the information from the pocket fitting devices. Technologies such as IoT, automation, and cognitive computing moved beyond the conceptual stages in 2016.
As the year takes up, companies throughout the world are developing their business strategies. In order to move forward in the competition, companies are turning towards major investments in technology.
The world’s biggest consumer technology convention, CES is one of the best places to find a handful of key technologies. CES 2017 finished another spectacular year with pioneering technology trends including smart homes to self-driving cars. This year is assumed to bring transformative technology trends for us to explore and invest in.
So here is the comprehensive list of technology trends which might create technology marvels this year:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI, also known as Artificial Intelligence has been studied for decades and now the vision of transforming insentient objects into intelligence is gradually becoming a reality. AI based Innovations are now pondering into the market and becoming part of our daily lives with quick adaptability.
Artificial intelligence assists humans and handles the tasks flawlessly, without interrupting your comfort. Whether to set an alarm, or remind you of something important, or to play your favorite music or to read out general news for you or to find your phone, AI can make the task more convenient and smart. Sit back and relax while you command your device to do things for you.
Remember the last year’s release Amazon Echo Dot, a voice command system, which responds to a wide variety of voice commands to assist you in numerous daily tasks? Dot is an AI-powered 360-degree speaker with far-field voice recognition system.
Apart from the Amazon Echo, Google also released a smart AI Device called Google Home. The built-in Google Assistant integrates with all the google services like Google maps, calendar, Gmail and much more.
Now Deep Learning empowers AI to train machines and achieve increased accuracy in many practical applications. Better movie recommendations, driverless cars and preventing healthcare are few of the top applications under intensive integration of AI.
Last year, artificial intelligence deals surpassed a billion. For early stage startups in emerging technologies, Samsung announced a $150 million fund. Various startups which charged out of 2016, are moving ahead with significant momentum.
Forget GUI, Avaamo is now the new user interface just with conversation. According to the Avaamo, the future belongs to chatbots. Be it sorting your grocery list or booking a ticket, every experience is more conversational with a suite of chatbot tools, Avaamo. The co-founding team of veterans from TIBCO, SAP, Siebel and Apple is funded by investors from Japan, China, and Silicon Valley.
Next in line is Cerebras. Founded by Andrew Feldman, this Los Angeles stealth mode startup just raised $25 million. According to TechCrunch, Cerebras is working on a specialized next-generation chip for deep learning applications.
New York-based Clarifai is another AI based company which excels in visual recognition, solving real-world problems for businesses and developers alike. Built on the most advanced machine learning systems and made easily accessible by a clean API, Clarifai empowers developers all over the world to build a new generation of intelligent applications. While Google and Nvidia are its notable investors, it attracted customers like Buzzfeed and Unilever. Earlier, Clarifai also developed a naughty content moderator, a travel image logger, and a food recognition module.
The next to steal the show is Galaxy.AI. New York-based Galaxy is a disease intelligence platform aimed at healthcare, insurance, and pharma. They aim to build a classic sector- AI. Working on private, regulated healthcare datasets, Galaxy helps doctors see disease patterns more completely in patient data. In addition, it can assist insurance companies to manage costs. Especially for pharma, Galaxy is working on to build an artificial intelligence engine which makes new drug discovery faster.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
2016 has put forward several captivating AR and VR systems into the world, capturing the public attention. Some of them include Microsoft’s stand-alone HoloLens, the PC-powered HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the smartphone-powered Samsung Gear VR, the game console-driven Sony Playstation VR and the overnight famous game Pokemon Go.
Each one of them excels in offering an exciting and gripping glimpse into new opportunities which AR and VR can enable. Over the next several years they promise a significant growth. With the technological advancements, the digital interactions with the real world are expected to experience an evolution.
With the announcement of Windows Holographic platform to other device makers in 2016, the company has been an interesting presence in the world of virtual and augmented reality. Seems like Microsoft might offer some healthy competition to the similar companies including Oculus and HTC, which launched their own VR headsets and platforms in 2016.
Major improvements in the world of AR and VR headsets, with efficient range and best quality of content created for those devices, will be a huge hit. Starting from the reduction in price to improvement in setup and use, to an enhancement in display resolution, the coming up months bound to make the compelling technology even better.
Top brands including Qualcomm, Lenovo, Ricoh Theta, Insta360, ODG, Epson, Ericsson, and Intel made major product and company news announcements prior to the CES 2017 show floor opening.
The CES 2017 gives us a clear picture on how rapidly augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are moving into the market.
The best of CES is Osterhout Design Group’s (ODG) R-9 and R-8 smart glasses. Through their ability to darken, these glasses offer mixed reality immersing the user into a different reality, and then with the clear-glass mode, changing it into AR.
21st Century Fox (which led ODG’s $58 million round) is working with LA’s up and coming virtual reality firm OTOY and PTC, to make the AR platform Vuforia, in creating high-definition video content to work on ODG’s devices. As both models are built on Android, a wide variety of apps can be developed. However, ODG has announced a raft of AR entertainment especially created for its specs.
“In terms of AR headsets and technology adoption, CES signified that vendors in this segment are starting to develop consumer-facing hardware and solutions to test the broader appetite for this new technology,” says Piers Harding-Rolls, Director of Games Research at IHS Technology. “AR has had the most success in commercial and professional deployments, but AR headset companies such as Osterhout Design Group (ODG) and Microsoft will be hoping they can attract early adopting consumers to start testing the technology. To this end, we expect consumer AR applications to grow in volume in 2017.”
At CES, HTC unveiled two new accessories and new services which will lay the foundation of the VR ecosystem for years to come. Available from the mid of 2017, the Vive Tracker and Vive Deluxe Audio Strap are all new accessories which enhance the Vive experience.
With entirely new form factors, the Vive Tracker enables motion tracking. Moreover, the Vive Tracker will integrate with any number of future VR accessories via a simple connection. This ensures that the developers and consumers have a single accessory to unlock thousands of new experiences. It is designed with adjustable headphones, allowing you to enjoy even more comfort and convenience.
The Vive Deluxe Audio Strap comes with adjustable headphones. The head strap features including integrated headphones and a new customizable sizing dial for quickly adjusting the fit of the head strap ensures a tighter and more comfortable fit.
uSens too made a big splash at CES 2017. The China-based uSens raised $20 million Series A for their SuperReality approach. uSens is one of the first companies to combine AR and VR. Their headset lets you immerse yourself in a digitally enhanced world.
A UK based VISR VR camera creates branded VR for some of the world’s best brands including Google, Coca-Cola, RBS and Glastonbury festival. They brand cardboard headsets for customers, trainees, and stakeholders. Whether the trainee is at a desk in London, in the office in Lima or relaxing at home in Luxembourg, the employer can create an immersive 360-degree experience.
A startup IMR is at the forefront of wireless Virtual Reality data streaming. Founded by leading aerospace, computer vision, and robotics experts, IMR developed an algorithm and hardware which enables Wireless transmission and streaming of VR video, thereby transforming the VR industry and empowering a completely immersed and untethered experience for multiple players.
Another interesting startup at CES 2017 is Taclim. With built-in tactile devices, Taclim is a set of shoes and gloves for VR to provide haptic feedback to users. Just by wearing the shoes, Taclim generates the sense of stepping on the ground in virtual spaces (desert, grassland, water etc.), with a sense of touch. In order to increase the feeling of immersion, Taclim also works as an input device to control the character and reflect the motion of the player in the virtual world.
Now use your feet not just to run, or ride a bike or drive a car but also to control a game. Specifically designed for Virtual Reality, the 3dRudder is a foot controller which you can use to execute movements which are extremely natural in a 3D environment. All you need is a PC and a comfortable seating which enables users to move effortlessly with a tilt of their feet through classic video games, CAD software, drone flying, machines driving and much more.
SIGGRAPH 2017 is one of the world’s leading annual interdisciplinary educational experience showcasing the latest in computer graphics and interactive techniques. Currently, it is seeking a diverse range of new Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) for its upcoming annual conference which will be held from 30 July – 3 August 2017 in Los Angeles.
INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)
Though the word Internet of Things (IoT) was coined in the late 90s, it’s gaining traction in recent years. Essentially, the idea is to put a computer into everything and make it automated while you sit back and relax. However, this requires a lot of effort, as it needs to work with a myriad of different hardware. The key here is reliability which many companies are working on.
“Hardware in the IoT is difficult,” says Mobeen Khan who is an associate VP for IoT solutions at January’s AT&T Expo. “You are handling the software developers who are used to coding in different environments. However, they are not used to collecting data or interfacing with devices.If you go to the maker community everyone uses Raspberry Pi.”
In January 2017, Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 was released specially for the designers of industrial machinery and robots, which proves the future for IoT.
Right from the possibilities of voice control to the realities of autonomous vehicles in smart cities, there’s a lot more to except in IoT. Emerging cities are more open to IoT innovation. One such example is WhereIsMyTransport, an open data platform for emerging cities.
As the information on transport services is hard to find, and often incomplete, WhereIsMyTransport connects existing transport data to a single platform which centralizes all operators in one movement network. Updated in real time, the information about services and changes are widely available through the FindMyWay app. This app is one among the many ways the WhereIsMyTransport platform is changing the experience of public transport.
Based on the application, IoT solutions may require remote or global interconnectivity, strong communication, positioning, precision timing, remote monitoring and control, remote sensors, technology for harsh environments, geo-information and much more. Space possessions and technologies, such as satellite communication and navigation, Earth observation, or human spaceflight, can meet some of these demands and empower IoT services.
There’s more to expect from the new broadband-capable satellites. A European Space Agency (ESA) has tossed an opportunity which offers funding and support for the development of new space enabled Internet of things. Be it tracking a wearable device for offenders, or a Bike Citizens app that rewards cyclists according to the distance they peddle, or a project which measures the collapsed buildings in earthquake zones, IoT is rapidly expanding.
ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program mold the research and development investment into successful commercial products. With different levels of commercial maturity, ARTES offers varying degrees of support to projects. Through ARTES, ESA offers the exclusive ability to pool the expertise from all Member States and share their knowledge.
Recently, Plus and SpaceX has launched the first of 70 satellites (adding to the existing fleet of 66 satellites) to create Iridium NEXT broadband by satellite services. Now Aircraft and ships might get 1.4 Megabits per second speeds, which might enable global IoT to track anything almost anywhere on the planet.
A report from MIT (New York), ITF (Lisbon) and the VDV (Stuttgart) have demonstrated that it would be possible to take every citizen to their destination with at least 80% fewer cars thereby increasing the self-driving cars.
Glenn Laxdal. Who is the CTO and Head of Strategy at Ericsson North America, says at CES that 5G would hit the market in 2018, and other claims supported the statement.
“We are not waiting until the final standards are set to establish the foundation for our evolution to 5G. We are executing now,” says John Donovan, who is a Chief Strategy Officer and Group President, Technology and Operations, at AT&T.
London is aiming for its own IoT network. Announced in December 2016, a total of 50 base stations will make up the UK’s largest IoT low-power wide area network (LoRaWAN). This would be the hub for the London’s digital startups to experiment with.
As the human interactions are moving more towards conversational, especially with electronics indulging IoT, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana have a big impact when it comes to steering into a hands-free era.
Machine learning has evolved intuitively over the past two decades. While machine learning continues to be a vital tool in fighting complex hacking schemes, AI will be even more important to fight increasingly complex attacks.
In 2016, three major vendors made big announcements related to this field. While Google released TensorFlow, which is an open source machine-learning platform, Microsoft introduced a cloud-based platform for machine learning. In addition, Amazon revealed three new machine learning services. Mike Kelly, CTO of Blue Medora, says.
According to stats, world’s data doubles nearly every two years, and this rate will grow in future. With this huge amount of data being generated by billions of internet users, we can expect to see most companies using machine learning applications to make the individually tailored experience for their customers.
Businesses are moving onto cloud storage and they are exploring opportunities to develop more business assets. In other words, Machine learning is playing important role in building cloud-based technologies to build data-centric targeted applications.
The field of machine learning is young and rapidly expanding with an invention of new algorithms their implementation in real world problems. One such example is Recommendation System that is based on user’s past behavior with the set of items. By learning this data, Recommendation System can predict user’s interest in an item which is used for targeted advertisement to the user.
Moreover, in 2017 machine learning along with solid fundamentals will probably be a key component of reliable cyber security. According to Nextgov, high-tech cyber-defense will place a new importance on detecting attacks, as opposed to simply preventing them. Nextgov tracks how technology and innovation transform government agencies.
In 2017, machine-learning based solutions and Runbook automation will turn out to be the more mainstream, as companies seek to be smarter and faster in identifying and responding to the threats. One such example is behavioral analytics, which allows companies to put on more data and automation techniques for monitoring and verifying identities, API requests, machine-to-machine interactions, and signal anomalies which could be a security threat.
Though at CES 2017, technologies like VR got most of the fame, Rosh Singh, the Managing Director at Kinetic UK, was more excited about data and machine learning.
“We all just want to show the right message to the right person at the right time and data is the way we do that,” says Singh. “What is exciting is AI and machine learning are where we can finally start to advance that data set.”
According to Deloitte’s “Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions” report, over 300 million smartphones (which is more than 20 percent of units sold in 2017), will feature machine learning capabilities in the coming months.
The report emphasizes that machine learning will not only be restricted to smartphones, but also these capabilities are likely to be featured in tens of millions of drones, tablets, cars, virtual or augmented reality devices, medical tools, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and much more.
Considering the interest and development which is going on in the field of machine learning, it is likely to be one of the most transformative technologies in coming days.
Starting from big launches, to handsets which failed, to surprise launches, to big announcements from all the players in the space, the year 2016 has a huge impact on the mobile market. Among the various devices, few of the notable devices include Samsung Galaxy S7, Note 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Google’s Pixel phones.
In 2017, the smartphones might be thinner, faster, and perhaps a bit more intelligent than you would like. With the spread of Virtual Reality, they will also have better graphics, higher resolution screens, and more storage. In addition, deep learning might improve the user experience.
With new modem technologies, LTE speeds might have a boost. At present, smartphones like the Galaxy S7 and Apple’s iPhone 7 can download data over at a maximum speed of 600Mbps (Megabytes per second), and upload data at 150Mbps (Megabytes per second). Now, download speeds could reach close to 1Gbps with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X16 modem. However, achieving that speed also depends on the network capabilities of a carrier.
Deep-learning techniques in smartphones could also support to make smartphones friendlier. While smartphones already recognize images and speech recognition via online services, deep-learning enhancements could bring those capabilities offline.
In addition, the dual cameras would come with expanded functionality. Thereby these cameras can do more than single cameras could ever do.
According to IDC, the key behind the efficient smartphone sales in 2017 will not be specs and hardware. However, the main force would be the reduction in the price of handsets. For example, handsets like the OnePlus 3T, and other China-based players like Oppo and Xiaomi.
After the disastrous case of the Galaxy Note 7, 2017 will be a very crucial for Samsung. Though Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were one of the best devices of 2016, the Galaxy Note 7 was a big hit on the Samsung market. However, this year would be more interesting with the expectations set on Samsung’s next flagship, Galaxy S8.
In 2017, Nokia will return as an Android-powered phone. Though the details surrounding this handset is vague, it is expected that Nokia will release two handsets, a mid-range phone, and a flagship release. While the latter interests everyone, reports suggest Nokia will focus on offering excellent imaging, unique design, plenty of power and great battery life.
“Nokia Android phone 2017 could be displayed at the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Spain in late February. In fact, HMD Global company is rumored to be behind the Nokia Android smartphones. All this point towards a launch and fans are tremendously excited,” reports IBT.
Recently, Nokia surprised everyone by bringing back the legendary Nokia 3310, 17 years after its first launch.
Though iPhone really hasn’t really changed their design language since the launch of iPhone 6 back in 2014, with iPhone 6s (came out in 2015) Apple introduced a new kind of technology called 3D Touch which detects the amount of pressure you put on the display and executes the pressure accordingly. Later came the more advanced iPhone 7 and iPhone 7S.
Word on the street expects that the iPhone 8 with big design changes, the removal of the Home key, new display tech and BIG improvements in the imaging department.
With three model releases in 2017 (the iPhone 8, the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone 8 Pro), rumors suggest a grand redesign. Whether this design language is introduced on all three models remains to be seen. Moreover, Apple also removed the headphone jack on this year’s iPhone 7 which might be the same case with 2017’s iPhone.
OnePlus has been gradually making a space for itself in the mobile market with solid, reliable and especially inexpensive flagship-grade smartphones. With each new iteration, OnePlus steps further, either by adding new features or by increased performance.
Available just over £300, the OnePlus 3, is one of the best Android phones of 2016. With OnePlus 4 (OnePlus might skip the number), one can expect a focus on display technology, imaging, and software.
From an unpronounceable mid-range-totting Chinese phone, Huawei has gradually gained its traction over the past two years. With its extensive range of Android phones within budget, Huawei achieved stellar flagships like the Huawei Mate 9 and Huawei P9. Now, its turn for the next big release, Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus, which are officially announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month.
Google took a big step into the field of mobile phones with the Pixel and Pixel XL, was a huge burst in late-2016. Though its cost is high, the features are incredible. In 2017, we might expect from Google the best design features, with same overall performance, imaging quality, and battery performance.
In addition, Google is moving towards increasing both the accuracy and functionality of its digital assistant.
With great UX, brilliant camera, decent battery, the LG G5 was one among the better phones of 2016.
Moreover, announced at last month’s Mobile World Congres, LG G6 is the first phone with an 18:9 (or 2:1) aspect ratio while most of the phones have a 16:9 aspect ratio.
With an increase in the number of smartphone users, the development of mobile apps in 2017 will be at a greater scale. While the Apple App store claims close to 2 million of these apps and Google Play store has over 2.2 million Apps, this number might increase in the future.
Apps play a critical role in assisting users to gain the essential information. According to the statistics, 52 percent of the time individuals spend on digital media is on mobile apps. This clearly indicates that companies are generating a lot of revenue from the usage of mobile apps.
Gartner’s prediction indicates that in 2017, over 268 billion mobile downloads will generate an income of $77 billion.
The Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will transform the way we interact with software systems and with each other. Thereby these trends might put forth incredible outcomes in 2017 and the years to come. With the booming IoT sector in 2017, most industries including automobile, smart homes, education, security, and health are experimenting with IoT and have had positive results. The IoT would essentially contribute to mobile success.
Moreover, in 2017, the mobile apps will pay more attention to the user’s point of view along with inbuilt security features for both iPhone and Android applications. In addition to GPS, a further evolution of LBS provide users with real-time information in 2017. Some of the key areas including tourism and travel, navigation, security features, retail offers, location-specific payment portals, and indoor mapping and much more, may use LBS.
With a rising popularity and usage of famous chatbots including Allo, Alexa, Cortana, and Siri, most of the mobile app developers are moving towards Chatbots. In 2017, chatbots might resemble human beings in the pattern of speech recognition and personalities, leading to smoother interactions.
While the major brands including Subway, Dominos, Starbucks, and much more taste the success with consumer-facing mobile apps, the small businesses will follow the footsteps. In 2017, it is expected that more than 50 percent of small businesses will be looking to create a mobile app.
An interesting evolution in app sharing and discovery is Android Instant Apps. This enables Android apps to run instantly, without needing an installation. Instant Apps lets you experience apps including fast and beautiful user interfaces, high performance, and great capabilities, just with a tap.
At present, more and more developers are starting to integrate AI into their apps, which could be groundbreaking for the educational industry. Based on how they learn, Apps can teach kids to learn which could assist them in gaining good test scores. Similarly, the eCommerce apps assist in what you like to shop.
Intelligent apps such as VPAs perform some of the functions of a human assistant thus making everyday tasks easier. One such example is prioritizing emails for its users and highlighting the most important content and interactions. Other intelligent apps including virtual customer assistants (VCAs) are more focused on tasks in areas such as sales and customer service. These intelligent apps have the capability to transform the nature of work and structure of the workplace.
However, Intelligent Apps are not just limited to new digital assistants. Right from security tooling to enterprise applications such as marketing or ERP, every existing software system is set to be infused with Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled capabilities.
One such example is MyFirmsApp. Specially designed for accountancy firms, this app lets the firm establish an affordable branded presence in the mobile world on the devices of their clients and staff. To make communication easier, this App provides a suite of compliant and approved tax tools, calculators, mileage and income trackers, receipt management, finance news, calendars and push notifications.
During the course of 2017, MyFirmsApp will be expanding the functionality of its’ unique and compliant personalized mobile App service. This further strengthens the relationship between the accountant and client.
The current developments in wearable technology are largely product-oriented with business apps. Wearables started with fitness trackers, smartwatches as a mainstream. At the moment, it has expanded into wearable devices which can measure, monitor, report on our health and support our lives from the fabric of our clothes or even a patch onto our skin.
There is an immense amount of that can improve your health. Most of these devices monitor your heart rate, breathing, calorie intake, and your exercises in order to get the maximum out of your workout. With the market demand continuously rising, smart wearables have brought some of the biggest companies in the game.
Though wearable technology is quite expensive, some sectors still contribute to it for its best usage. One such example is healthcare sector which is highly influenced by wearable technology. In this sector, the surgeons might use Google Glass while operating a patient.
The Wearables Marketplace at CES 2017, featured everything from high-tech fashion and smart jewelry to wearables which track your mood, activity and even your pets, along with newest augmented reality devices. While there were dozens of products on display, some items stood out in the crowd.
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