It is arguable that developments in technology over the past few years have come about at a rate far greater than in any comparable era. This is largely down to the rise of digital technology, driven by our continued and ubiquitous use of computers and other such gadgets, and the effect has been profound. It’s not only at work that we have been influenced by technology and gadgets, but in the home. Our lifestyle is very much governed by technology, although you may not realise it.
When we speak of gadgets, we are not talking of frivolous playthings, but of items that can be both fun and practical. For example, one of the must-have gifts last Christmas was the Virtual Reality headset. In conjunction with your smartphone, a VR headset allows you to view things remotely, and it’s not just great fun, but also hugely educational. It’s a prime example of combining more than one device plus using up to date software to provide something the market wants.
Trends in Gadgets
Let’s face it: gadgets sell. You probably bought your first mobile phone a couple of decades back because it was new, fresh and clever. Now, everybody has one, and they are very powerful tools that are difficult to live without. But there are other gadgets that have changed our lifestyle. Take that once popular pastime – smoking. Now frowned upon – and indeed banned in many public places – smoking tobacco is rapidly being overtaken in favour by vaping. E-cigarettes are the new tobacco – safe and trendy – and they are a great example of a gadget having an effect on our lifestyle trends.
While not a computerised gadget, the e-cigarette is one that many people find to be essential. Back to computers, and it’s easy to overlook just how much influence software has on our lives. In business, software is essential for the smooth day to day operation, and productivity software is rapidly becoming a must – especially for smaller, growing businesses. The fact that productivity software and apps are part of a multi-billion dollar market is proof enough that this is one area of business software that is not going to fade away, and we expect further growth in this area in the coming years.
The Rise of AI Machines
Once the domain of futuristic Hollywood Sci-Movies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is said by many to be the next big trend in terms of technology development. It’s important not to think of AI as all-encompassing devices that do everything themselves, but as autonomous machines that can perform a task with little or no human intervention. In business, this means that you will find many more automated processes in factories and other areas of industry, but it is in the real world, the one we frequent in our general daily lives, that the impact of AI is set to be most noticeable. B2B machine learning is having profound effects on the way text is comprehended. Soon, machines may be as proficient at writing as middle-grade students. Google is already able to analyze and “grade” the quality of semantic structures on webpages.
The most talked-about autonomous machines are already in use in some places: the word on the street is that driverless cars will become the norm in future years – and perhaps not as far into the future as you might believe – and there are trials underway in some places. Indeed, a successful system used at Heathrow Airport, London, in which autonomous driverless vehicles take passengers across the airport is to be trialled on the UK’s roads. The vehicles will take a journey from Oxford to London, using the same roads as driven cars, without the intervention of a human controller at any time.
For some, the prospect of driverless cars sharing the roads with conventional vehicles is a worrying one, but for others, it is simply a natural progression in which AI technology and software is integrated into what is in effect a large, yet practical, gadget. The car as we know it, say industry commentators, may just have met its match.
Integration of Technology
Fifty years ago, we couldn’t have imagined the sheer impact that computer technology would have on our personal and professional lives. The rapid development of very powerful computer systems and software took many by surprise, and in some cases still has the ability to do so. The trends in technology, gadgets and software today cannot be taken as those that will be to the fore – not even in as little as a year’s time – as development is so rapid that new trends, gadgets and machines come out all the time. It’s fair to say, however, that AI will dominate the headlines, as we see more of our lives becoming automated, and often without even noticing.