I posted my cool tech for 2017 post yesterday. So far, a great response to the overall tech I think is coming. I did trends this year because there are so many cool products in a couple of the categories that it is hard to pick only one. There are some trends from last year that haven’t really run their course yet as well and I thought I would cover some of those today.
The world of IoT continues to be interesting. How billions of devices will be secured and managed is now a considerable concern. In part because there are no clear standards, which means everyone can and does build their IoT devices separate and self-contained. The reality of security is communication. Systems that communicate need to be secure at the point of origin and also at the point of data collection. That is more overall security than simply securing a computer sitting in your office at work. There you secure the site, both physically and electronically.
Another interesting tech from last year that has not caught on at the level I thought it would is that of 3d pens. They are interesting, in that you can write/draw in plastic and other materials. That makes them incredibly easy to set-up and use. Printing in brass or wood is interesting. I am not as skilled using the 3d pen as I would like, but you can do some pretty cool things freehand, or you can pre-draw the object you want and make it.
Crowdfunding is a process and a concept that is maturing. Today there is much less risk in the overall reality of crowdfunding. There are still projects that fail and disappear, but they are few and far between now. They exist, but nowhere near as many as in the early days. Additionally, there are a number of fun checks and balances that manage the crowd funding reality. There are the pirates who wandered the many crowd funding sites in the early days. Most of them have been revealed and removed. Crowdfunding is a trust exercise though. The important thing to remember is that you are placing your money to back and innovation that does not exist today. That innovation may, or may not become reality. It is important that in backing a project you remember that failure is an option!
Medical scanning devices are increasing and did throughout all of 2016. Some came long before 2016 but the rise of acceptance has increased the overall market. Blood pressure, body temperature and other quick tools to access your current health are increasing. The increased tools available for every minute of the day (iWatch takes your pulse constantly) allows you to have a better idea of the things that stress you, and the things you are relaxed about. Health will continue to expand as both a part and a continuation of IoT, but also of your devices and your medical status.
Television is changing, has changed, and continues to change around us. When I first watched television now more than 40 years ago, we had 4 and on a clear day 5 TV stations. Now there are 100’s, plus you can record TV to watch whenever you want, stream TV to any device you own and you can watch TV on televisions with 4k resolution. Just amazing how much the television has and continues to evolve.
Home entertainment as a whole has changed racially in the past few years. The rise of wireless speaker systems that connect not only to your existing media sources but also to the internet has changed home entertainment. You can see, listen and hear just about anything anywhere in your home. Simply put a speaker into the room and away you go!
Voice control was the big thing launching in 2016 from Google Home, Cortana and Alexa we now have a continued, and growing reality of voice controlled devices. Each of them is good a specific thing, and those specific things continue to expand weekly. Additionally, Google Home and Amazon Echo (Alexa) both have very nice speakers included with them. Amazon’s Echo is the better overall speaker but Google home is pretty good.
I leave Siri out, because frankly of the top four voice control systems it is the lowest in terms of functionality, ability to listen and integration. Sometimes being first is not the best answer.
The last 2016 innovation I would like to talk about is the iPhone 7 plus. In part because of the memory improvements. I now actually have free space on my phone and was able to download my entire audible and movie (iTunes) library. With the new iPhone based storage keys I also have my entire library of MP3 files stored on a memory key. It makes the integration of my phone, car and media even more important. There is nothing finer than listening to an audible book as I sit in DC traffic!