Many of these technologies are already buzzing, but some of them—due to recent breakthroughs or more players in the game—seem to be reaching a crescendo. Here, we outline what we see as the top technologies to watch and why:
- Internet of Things (IoT): We are seeing IoT have an explosive growth in home technology—everything from your fridge to your thermostat. Not only is the technology being added to these devices, it is having an impact in a meaningful way.One reason for such growth is the number of players and marketplaces that are entering the market. This allows for more widespread adoption of this technology, and the next step will be integrated technology—and that is when IoT will take its next great leap forward.
- Augmented Reality (AR): The lesser-known brother to Virtual Reality (VR), AR is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. It is not all immersive like VR; instead, it lies above or incorporates with the real world (think Pokémon GO!).Instead of kids chasing Pokémon, imagine the business implications. One business, Apple, is imagining in a big way. They have started down an ambitious road to bring AR to everyone—an effort Tim Cook, Apple Inc.’s chief executive, and his team see as the best way for the company to lead the next generation of AR devices.1
- Digital Assistant: The most “famous” digital assistants in the market today are Siri, Amazon Echo, and Cortana. The base idea is to make it easier for us to interact and work with technology. While it is great to have our lights be turned off and on with a simple command, we should consider what this simplification will mean for us in the workplace.The trend of AI assisting or taking over mundane tasks is allowing us to focus on the important work in our careers and our lives. “In fact, AI will become so important to companies that research firm Gartner predicts an increased worldwide spending of $3.5 trillion on IT in 2017.” 2
- Space Exploration: This is pushing the boundaries of space—and our list of tech areas to watch. With such announcements and accomplishments from SpaceX as their plan to send a privately crewed mission beyond the moon in 2018, or their delivery of nearly 5,500lbs of cargo and supplies to the International Space Station, it’s clear that progress is happening in space travel.It’s not just space travel that is the focus, but all the elements that are needed to support those trips. NASA and MIT have announced plans to develop a new generation of space apparel. NASA is also working on growing food under LED lighting in order to make long-duration missions possible. A Canadian company, Thoth Technology, secured a US patent for a space elevator tower designed to lift spacecraft to the upper reaches of Earth’s stratosphere, making space travel easier and more affordable.
- Autonomous Vehicles: If you visit the City of Boston website, they state, “Zero deaths. Zero Injuries. Zero disparities. Zero emissions. Zero Stress. This is Boston’s vision for our transportation future.”3 And they have already begun testing in limited areas. Self-driving cars aren’t just for the future they are for the now, and almost every major automaker is working on their own version. In fact, Ford and GM are leading the way over Silicon Valley start-ups.It goes beyond cars to trucks and making sure these new devices don’t get hacked. The self-driving trend is driving new innovations and challenges.
New industries of growth mean new jobs. These industries will result in an increase in needs for IT expertise, so be sure to watch where these exciting new areas can take your career.