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Where Will Technology Be in 2027?
Last week I picked up the grandkids after school, and to my surprise, I saw 35 fourth graders all walk out to the car line with each one carrying their very own HP Chromebook. When we got home, our fourth grader couldn't unpack it quickly enough!
He turned it on, it was all set up, and he starts showing me everything it can do. I mentioned to him that we needed to teach him how to type on it, so he could type as fast as his Mom, Dad, Mimi, and Papa. He looked at me and said, "I don't need to learn how to type. I just say what I want to learn more about, and it takes me there." Speech-to-text at its finest!
This got me thinking about what the future holds for these fourth grade schoolchildren. After all, this year does mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and all the wonders that these smartphones brought into our lives. When Apple rolled out its first wireless smartphone, we found ourselves with 21 devices incorporated into a single device that can be carried around in our pockets: not just a phone, but a camera, GPS, email, music player, etc.
Things have changed massively in the 10 years since the iPhone's inception; so what's in store for the next 10 years? These are the six items that fascinate me and are starting to become a reality already.
1. An electric car that recharges itself while in park -- How cool would it be that you wouldn't have to drive around looking for an electric charging station, or the worry, that on a long trip your battery will die? So far there are 39,000 electric charging stations in the U.S., compared to 168,000 gas stations. A company in California called Charge Point is already researching this Car in Park idea.
I'm sure this same company will come up with a long-lasting battery for the cellphone so people won't be sitting on floors tethered to electrical outlets at conferences and airports.
2. Blockchain technology -- Blockchain is used to connect all networks, with no need for a central governing company. Think of everyone connected to an Uber-like experience, but not having to go through one company; all would be connected to the same digital decentralized model. Software on a decentralized blockchain will connect the rider with their driver. Moving forward, we might use blockchain technology for paying to store files, or getting paid to contribute hard disk space rather than paying one company do this for us.
Another example is Bitcoin. I was at Enterprise Connect five years ago, and ran into a previous client of mine, who was telling me about one of his employees using Bitcoin. I had never heard of Bitcoin before this, so now roll up 5 years and this technology of a decentralized blockchain has reach a market cap of 1 billion and as of 6 months ago, was processing more than 40,000 transactions a day – all without the need for a central company. It is now legal for Bitcoin companies to operate in the state of New York by obtaining a Bit License.
3. Robotics -- I'm a member of Women in Hi Tech, which promotes and mentors young women to pursue careers in robotics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Professionals in the robotics field come and speak to these young students about how robotics technology impacts society, both now and in the future. Even though National Robotics Week was formed 9 years ago, we are continuing to find new ways of utilizing the technology and getting attuned to all it can provide for us. Will we eventually have a robot taking care of the elderly in their homes?
4. AI -- Think of all the future uses of artificial intelligence. Today we use AI in automated online assistants in call centers, detecting the intention in an angry caller's voice and taking immediate action to resolve the customer issue. It is also being used for things like computer-aided interpretation of medical images..
5. Smart Homes -- When new homes are purchased, house keys will definitely become a thing of the past -- grandkids will ask, "What's a house key?" The technology is out there today that let people use apps on smartphones to unlock their homes. Video is also being increasingly used for home surveillance. Our son just installed cameras in his outside lights. You guessed it, he just unscrewed the old light bulbs surrounding his house and replaced with lightbulbs that have a small camera installed in them. They automatically alert him and show him who is walking around via video immediately -- and I must say, the quality is unbelievable.
6. Temperature Control -- How about your own temperature control in your office space at work (that is if we even have office space or will be all remote workers by then). There is a company in Italy going through a renovation to provide employees with their own "thermal bubble." Thanks to advances in architecture with the application of sensors, employees can set their own personal temperature in their cubical or work space via an app. This setting follows them around, if 2 people are up and about talking in the hallway, the computer just averages out the temperature between them. Smartphone apps also let employees order a 10-minute blast of hot or cold air. Employees will click on either "cool my space" or "warm my space" functions on the app. This then connects to the buildings ventilation system.
These are just some of the technology innovations that are reshaping our world. I can't wait to see all the new inventions and reinventions that will be a reality in just 10 short years, when our 4th grader is 20. Oh my, the places we will go!
Barb Grothe is Sr. Consultant with The BAZ Group, an information technology consulting firm based in Toledo, OH and Member of Society of Communications and Technology Consultants International. You may reach her at [email protected].
"SCTC Perspectives" is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.