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Tech revolutions that will shape the coming decade

Cybervandalism/Cyberattacks, in one form or another, are now integral with public acts of terror.

A footnote to our posts on the hacking-cyberwar continuum

With the deluge of news about the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris last week, less media attention has been given ISIS’ intrusion into cyberattack on U.S. Centcom’s Twitter account January 12 than normally would be the case. That event underscores a corollary to my analysis in OWDT’s most recent blog posts: that cybervandalism/cyberattacks, in one form or another, are now integral with public acts of terror.

Positive tech innovations we can look forward to in the near future

Tech breakthroughs inevitably bring new, often impossible-to-predict vulnerabilities. That said, the ‘fun,’ even life-enriching side of tech was there for the world to see at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. New products ranged from the frivolous (a new pants smart belt that automatically grows larger after a meal) to the practical (XYZPrinting’s 3D food printer that turns food ingredients into completed deserts/meals within minutes as well as  a new flash battery that can charge a smartphone in one minute).

Revolutionary changes predicted for the next 10 years


Tech Revolutions 1

You probably already know about The Internet of Things (IoT), described in previous blogs. The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector is a clear example of the benefits of IoT. It includes a conventional alarm, combined with a potentially life-saving human voice message, letting you know the exact location of a fire or carbon monoxide buildup.

Such smart devices are already populating the homes of tech savvy folks who can afford them, allowing them to take control of all their appliances/home devices from a smartphone or tablet. As digital platforms improve and become more affordable, they will become increasingly standard –e.g., as with Apple’s soon-to-launch HomeKit, and Google’s Nest.

Look for 2015 to be a breakthrough year in IoT.


Tech Revolutions 2

Most all TV retailers now have 4K TVs in their showrooms with full capacity 4K video transmission (four times of resolution of full HD video). You’ll find low, mid and high-range choices, with prices on the low end finally comparable with 1080p HD. Be very careful, however, to make sure that the specs on any 4K TV you purchase are fully upgradable to accommodate the new  Netflix and other modality 4K transmission options being introduced beginning this month. Unfortunately, some low-end 4K TVs sold in recent months are already outmoded with no ‘fix’ possible.

More cameras and smartphones offer 4K recording capacity, and, within the next few years small device 4K screens will be introduced. 4K computer monitors are already available (for about $500) and integrate beautifully with already standard ultra-wide aspect ratios for a much-improved picture. In fact, for now they’re a more practical choice than a 4K TV because most computer operating systems already have screen output capabilities greater than 1080p.

The percentage of 4K models produced will increase throughout 2015. Also, expect 1080p Plasma TVs to move towards extinction, despite having some screen contrast advantages over LCD/LED. This is because the latter have proven more cost competitive and claim greater longevity.


I’ll discuss ever-smarter wearables, the explosion of medical digital devices, digital innovations for automobile drivers, virtual reality gaming breakthroughs and other exciting developments on the horizon.

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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