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Top Technology Trends 2016: Predictions Revisited

Friday 16 December 2016

Each year we bring you a selection of our predictions for the following year, however this year, we thought we’d be different and look back at the technology predictions we made last year and see which were accurate which and have fallen short.

Prediction 1 – Internet of Things is becoming more practical

It’s fair to say that this prediction was something of a given with the birth and growth of major consumer technology wearables such as the FitBit, Apple Watch and other new entrants to the market in recent years.

Following on the same track, a report by Markets and Markets estimates that the overall market for wearable technology is expected to hit $31.27 billion by 2020, growing at an annual average rate of 17.8% between 2015 and 2020.

While just a segment of the IoT market, wearable technologies are a huge driver to the growth and success of the overall market. This huge growth forecast illustrates the significant increase in the investment we have seen this year and will continue to see over the coming years for IoT devices.

Prediction 2 – Big data gets bigger (Information of Everything)

The previous prediction and this one are very much interlinked. The more successful and prominent Internet of Things becomes, the more devices there are and the more numerous and varied their applications become.

All of this contributes to the continuing increase of the amount of data in the world and in particular will continue to drive high volume, high velocity and highly variable data – big data.

It’s safe to say that this prediction is just getting started this year and will continue on for the next five years.

Prediction 3 – Virtual Assistants – from Clippy to Cortana

Indeed, the development of the virtual assistant is available for all to see. We started off with Clippy, the animated paper clip character in Microsoft Office that had a largely negative response from Office users.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, even though they had the right idea, the technology available at the time or simply, their execution was off. Nowadays, we are spoilt for choice. We already have virtual assistants on our smartphones and other similar devices in the forms of Siri, Cortana and Google Now. The functionality that all of these possess has been upgraded through subsequent updates this year.

Google Now has been phased out and replaced by its evolved form, Google Assistant. Unlike its predecessor, this new virtual assistant is capable of two-way conversations and has been integrated with Google’s latest technology releases; their new home assistant, Google Home and their new standalone smartphone, Google Pixel.

The former is intended to compete with Amazon’s Amazon Echo smart home virtual assistant which has also just been released in the UK this year.

There’s plenty of action and developments in this market and I believe that this prediction has rung true with the promise of further developments and updates in this space in the years to come!

Prediction 4 – The Device Mesh

The device mesh is something that has been occurring naturally over the last few years. It describes a world where all of our devices are able to connect and share information with one another, aka the Internet of Things.

I believe this year, with the further additions of “smart” devices filtering onto the market, has not only led to creating a wider “device mesh” but also improved vendors’ understanding of how to continue developing their products so that the device mesh continues to become more seamlessly integrated.

Prediction 5 – Advanced Machine Learning

It’s fair to say that advanced machine learning hasn’t quite become mainstream in a consumer market as of yet. However, that is not to say it has been found out to be just some redundant buzzword, not at all. I think most already realise the wide range of applications that advanced machine learning technologies can provide.

In fact, big data technologies have certainly benefited from these advanced machine learning concepts with many vendors adapting their technologies to include some sort of predictive modelling component.

We ourselves have taken advantage of machine learning technologies this year in our latest product development within CXAIR – predictive modelling. This includes the capability to build neural networks which ‘predict’ the likelihood of certain outcomes based on historical data.

Prediction 6 – 3D printing

While arguably already a massive trend in 2015, I felt this had to be included because of the advancements made, especially within the medical field. Not only can we now 3D print limbs, but blood vessels as well as Chinese scientists have successfully implanted these within monkeys, marking an important step to 3D print and successfully implant organs into humans.

Prediction 7 – Adaptive Security Architecture

On the day of writing this article, technology giant Yahoo has been the victim of a data breach by a group of hackers. It seems clear that the bigger and better we are able to capture and store data, the more we have to lose. And, it appears as though even the technology giants aren’t invulnerable to being hacked with some high profile attacks taking place over recent years, including Apple, Google and Sony Pictures to name a few.

I think it could be argued there is still a long way to go here until the future technologies of the world are “hack-proof”, if that is even possible. Cybersecurity that is responsive to identify security threats and respond accordingly will be essential as our technology infrastructure becomes larger and more sophisticated.

Prediction 8 – Ambient User Experience

User experience has definitely been a key focus across a range of industries for a number of years now, but with the advancements made in virtual reality and with it becoming a far more mainstream technology, it seems as though user experience is about to hit a new level.

Further innovations in this area include advancements made by UK based technology company Ultrahaptics who have developed a technology using ultrasound to create invisible buttons, dials and tangible interfaces that respond when touched. It is believed the technology has huge implications for virtual reality, household appliances and the automotive industry.

Prediction 9 – Commercial Drone Use

I might have been a bit lucky with this one, it turns out that the Amazon Prime Air service I briefly mentioned last year has successfully completed its first customer delivery on 7th December 2016 – just last week!

Don’t get too excited though, this is just a trial of the service, open to a very limited number of customers, just 2 of them in fact, who perhaps by coincidence happen to own massive gardens and live in close proximity to the depot centre…

While it is obviously a great breakthrough for the team at Amazon, it will still be a while yet until commercial drones really take off the ground (see what I did there?).

 

And that wraps up our 2016 Technology Predictions revisited! I hope you have enjoyed the article. If you want to get up to date on and get plotting for next year, then take a look at our obviously 100% accurate technology predictions for 2017!

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