Webbmedia Group recently released their 2015 trend report for disruptive technologies that will affect us in the coming year. I sometimes wish we could take a year off from new trends, but at the same time I am excited about some technologies that are taking shape and their potential impact on our lives. In this blog post I will cover just a few technology trends that I believe will soon go mainstream.
Smart Virtual Personal Assistants
Predictive technology will continue to make its way into our lives. Google, Apple, Yahoo, and other tech companies have or will be integrating predictive technologies into their products. This technology uses natural language input and processing and attempts to anticipate our next thought or move. As an example, Emu, which was acquired by Google last year, monitors text conversations and will suggest nearby movie theaters and movies based on your geolocation and recent movie views, all based on your text conversation. Another application of predictive technology is Amazon Echo, which is a new, voice-activated, cloud-connected wireless speaker that acts as a personal assistant. Alexa is the voice behind Echo; you can ask her questions, tell her to play music, have her set alarms or appointment reminders, and more. Think Siri for the home. Echo is currently available for purchase by invitation only, but will most likely be widely sold in 2015.
With ongoing privacy concerns, look for new applications and devices that seek to protect users from hackers and government prying. Expect an increase in ultra-private phones and watch for new methods of authentication, such as private key technology, which was previously used primarily in corporate networks.
Applications like Snapchat have become popular mainly due to their ephemeral nature. Your post or message is guaranteed to disappear after a period of time. Look for the same technology to appear in other sites, such as Facebook. We will soon have the ability to predetermine a lifespan for files and posts.
Heads Up Displays
Things may be quiet on the Glass front right now, but companies such as Innovega are refining their iOptik technology into sleek glasses and even into contact lenses. Cyborgs cannot be far behind. Also look for more heads up displays in automobiles that show speed or other driving parameters.
With advanced beacon sensing, proximity sensing will become more ubiquitous. This technology allows a business or individual to broadcast messages to you when you are within range. This is a good thing when trying to find your ride after the big NFL game, but may be intrusive when walking through a large metropolitan area and being bombarded by advertisements. It will be interesting to observe the tradeoff people make between privacy, as mentioned above, and convenience.
There are exciting new technologies coming on the market, many of which will help make life better. Some will become intrusive, however. As I watch the evolution of technology solutions, I am always interested in that intersection. Will we be mindful enough to preserve our privacy while enjoying the convenience of predictive or assistive technology? Let me know your thoughts, and let me know what you are looking forward to next year.
Kelly Brown is an IT professional, adjunct faculty for the University of Oregon, and academic director of the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.