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Tech revolutions that will shape the coming decade, Part II

Some smartwatches already function as remote controls — for TVs, smart-home gadgets, even cars.

A footnote to our posts on the hacking-cyberwar continuum

Predicting the future is inexact, at best, but emerging tech breakthroughs and rising consumer expectations provide critical insight into major changes coming our way. Why so important? –To ignore emerging tech and related social change is to risk falling behind.

One thing is certain: change will accelerate as computational power continues to rise exponentially. Looking into the far future, we’ve recently made science fiction-like breakthroughs in mind-controlled video games and software that can scan the brain to discern what a person is thinking and predict behaviors. The potential applications are exciting and concerning at the same time.

Imagine how the following more immediate four tech innovations will affect your business and daily life:

A LIGHTNING-FAST DATA

Home broadband has lagged far behind current computing and network capacities. Google’s solution, Google Fiber, recently touted by President Obama, offers a technology bringing speeds up to 100 times greater than the current national average–exceeding the lightning fast internet speeds of Korea, Japan and other nations. First tested in Kansas City (2011) and later introduced in Austin, TX, and Provo, Utah, it allows customers to download an HD movie in seconds. Google is now exploring expanding into 34 candidate cities within nine metropolitan areas.  According to Jon Gertner, “One Goldman Sachs analyst recently posited that Google Fiber could reach 7.5 million homes by 2022—placing it (by then) among the top 10 Internet service providers in the U.S.”

SMARTER VEHICLES

Automobile manufacturers, in tandem with major software and tech corporations, are working hard to build fully ‘connected’ vehicles, with built-in systems that communicate effortlessly with our smartphones. Apple’s CarPlay, Android Auto and Ford Sync are among early contenders. Because any distraction while driving is dangerous, we can only hope that such tech innovations will increase, not undermine, safety. Self-driving cars are the ultimate highway safety solution, but we are years away from that being economically or logistically tenable. One small step in that direction is BMW’s parking via smartwatch.

SMARTER WEARABLES

Some smartwatches already function as remote controls — for TVs, smart-home gadgets, even cars. If it generates enough demand, expect this capability to become standard. Also, health-enhancing wearables like Fitbit are going mainstream. More about this and the emerging portable medical device revolution in my next blog.

Digital device AI (personal assistant-type) functionality may soon fulfill the potential originally expected of Siri. Coming this year, Expect Labs will release an app that tracks your phone conversations to give you helpful information before you ask for it.
I’m happy with my Apple 5s fingerprint reader security feature. It won’t be long, however, before a person’s iris will become his or her universal biometric ID, replacing passcodes and access cards. Eye scanning security applications are already in use at some international airports, border crossings and U.S. corporate campuses.

VIRTUAL REALITY

Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus Rift in March of 2014 confirms the expectation of continuing advances in the quality of Virtual Reality software. –Samsung and Google have already demonstrated that smartphones can be transformed into immersive Virtual Reality (VR) environments. The same VR improvements are applicable to cameras with 3D imaging technology (one of OWDT’s services).

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