Tech­nol­ogy Trends

2016 will con­trib­ute to­wards big­ger tech­nolo­gies such as AI, driver­less cars, ma­chine learn­ing and much more.

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS - By Nidhi Sin­gal

OVER THE PAST DECADE, the tech­nol­ogy world has grown at an ex­po­nen­tial rate. From HD to full HD to 4k res­o­lu­tion in tele­vi­sions and smart­phones, to wear­able gad­gets and the ad­vent of hy­brids, a lot has hap­pened in the per­sonal tech­nol­ogy space. The fu­ture, on the other hand, holds great prom­ise for tech­nolo­gies such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ma­chine learn­ing. A lot has al­ready been achieved in the tech­nol­ogy space, such as In­ter­net of Things, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI), ma­chine learn­ing and ro­bot­ics, but 2016 prom­ises to show­case what these in­no­va­tions are ca­pa­ble of – it would be a year of evo­lu­tion and not rev­o­lu­tion.

DRIVER­LESS CARS: Dur­ing the last cou­ple of years, a lot of devel­op­ment has hap­pened in the driver­less car space. The year will be no dif­fer­ent as this seg­ment will con­tinue to wit­ness a lot many in­no­va­tions. But will it turn into a re­al­ity and hit the In­dian roads? No, at least not in 2016.

While most of these tech­nolo­gies will wit­ness devel­op­ment and growth, they are still fu­tur­is­tic, so are likely to set­tle down in another four to five years from now. Michael Björn, Head of Re­search, Eric­s­son Con­sumerLab, be­lieves, "Some of these trends may seem fu­tur­is­tic. But con­sumer in­ter­est in new in­ter­ac­tion par­a­digms such as AI and vir­tual re­al­ity (VR), as well as in em­bed­ding the In­ter­net in the walls of homes, or even in our bod­ies, is quite strong. This means we could soon see new con­sumer prod­uct cat­e­gories – and whole in­dus­tries trans­form­ing – to ac­com­mo­date this devel­op­ment."

IN­TER­NET OF THINGS (IOT): It has al­most be­come a house­hold name

fol­low­ing all the talk around con­nect­ing elec­tron­ics, soft­ware and sen­sors through a net­work. This was in 2015. But have we achieved any­thing sub­stan­tial yet? Not re­ally. While things have grad­u­ally started mov­ing to­wards IoT, 2016 will wit­ness some real work. Says Naren­dra Nayak, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Black­Berry In­dia: “In this in­creas­ingly con­nected world, tech­nolo­gies that con­nect to ma­chines and de­vices for seam­less in­ter­ac­tion will gain greater promi­nence than those that con­nect peo­ple to peo­ple. Mo­bil­ity, IoT, cloud and an­a­lyt­ics are chang­ing the way we in­ter­act. In 2016, we ex­pect a wider adop­tion of IoT tech­nolo­gies and smarter de­vices in in­dus­try sce­nar­ios. In the con­nected IoT ecosys­tem, data will be­come the most crit­i­cal as­pect, and we will see busi­nesses adopt­ing a uni­fied com­muni- cation ap­proach where text, chat, video, file shar­ing and screen shar­ing across de­vices will be­come more co­he­sive. Given the huge op­por­tu­nity, IoT may be­gin to shape how we con­duct busi­ness and live our lives in many more ways.”

AR­TI­FI­CIAL IN­TEL­LI­GENCE: Thanks to ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, ma­chines to­day have be­come smarter and gained the abil­ity to re­act like hu­mans. They have come a long way from just analysing and read­ing from a data­base to learn­ing in real time. While ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence is be­ing ac­tively used in many in­dus­tries, such as au­to­mated pro­cesses in man­u­fac­tur­ing

units and ro­bot­ics to health care, fi­nance and self-driv­ing cars, it’s still to re­alise its full po­ten­tial. “Over the last few years, digi­ti­sa­tion has dis­rupted IT in­no­va­tion, re­de­fined busi­ness mod­els, em­pow­ered con­sumers and re­drawn the lines of com­pe­ti­tion across mul­ti­ple in­dus­tries. Whether in an ed­u­ca­tion set­ting that helps stu­dents learn in a style that’s best suited for them, or in the form of early child­hood toys, such as Cogni Toys, think­ing sys­tems will per­me­ate busi­nesses and the prod­ucts and ser­vices they pro­duce,” says Amit Sharma, Vice Pres­i­dent and Gen­eral Man­ager, Oper­a­tions, IBM, adding: “We will see more such im­ple­men­ta­tions around ed­u­ca­tion, health care, re­tail and banking, among oth­ers. And all of this will com­pletely re­de­fine how they build strate­gies to stay ahead in the game and en­gage and in­ter­act with their cus­tomers and em­ploy­ees.” It’s not just the big names, such as IBM, Wipro and In­fosys, which are say­ing this. A re­cent re­port by Mi­crosoft Re­search quotes its Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Chris Bishop as say­ing that “the emer­gence of new sil­i­con ar­chi­tec­tures are tuned to the in­ten­sive work­loads of ma­chine learn­ing.”

MA­CHINE LEARN­ING: Although a sub-cat­e­gory of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, there will be sig­nif­i­cant ad­vance­ments in ma­chine learn­ing as well. It has al­ready made steady progress in the per­sonal tech­nol­ogy space with Ap­ple’s Siri, Google’s Google Now and Mi­crosoft’s Cor­tana, mak­ing them a part of our daily lives. While it con­tin­ues to grow, a sig­nif­i­cant amount of work will be done in the en­ter­prise space, too. Says Akhilesh Tuteja, Part­ner and Head, IT Ad­vi­sory Ser­vices, KPMG In­dia: “In my view, it will be a defin­ing year where peo­ple will move from ex­per­i­men­tal tech­nol­ogy to proof-of-con­cept. It will hap­pen first in per­sonal tech­nol­ogy and then in en­ter­prise, be­cause in en­ter­prise tech­nol­ogy you can­not be 90 per cent right.” The key driv­ers for ma­chine learn­ing are com­put­ers that have the abil­ity to process a lot of in­for­ma­tion and data on the cloud in real time. “The rea­son why ma­chine learn­ing wasn’t a big thing in 2014/15 when de­vel­op­ments were hap­pen­ing was be­cause ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence re­quires a huge amount of pro­cess­ing ca­pa­bil­ity that can­not be bun­dled on the phone. What you need is pro­cess­ing on the cloud in real time. So, if you asked a ques­tion and the re­ply came af­ter a few min­utes, it wouldn’t help. The gap shrunk in 2015 and, this year, we will have smarter de­vices to shrink it fur­ther,” adds Tuteja. Nat­u­ral lan­guage pro­cess­ing or un­der­stand­ing of nat­u­ral lan­guage will also be­come big in the com­ing year.

VIR­TUAL RE­AL­ITY (VR): There has been a lot of buzz around vir­tual re­al­ity since the time Ocu­lus Rift made its de­but, fol­lowed by Google’s Card­board. Though the big­gest names in the tech­nol­ogy space – Google, Face­book, Sony, Sam­sung, HTC, etc. – are fo­cus­ing on mak­ing it big, VR has only been linked with gam­ing and en­ter­tain­ment. But this tech­nol­ogy can be put to some prac­ti­cal use, in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tion, health care, sports, re­tail and tourism. This is what 2016 prom­ises to de­liver. VR head­sets, such as Ocu­lus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony Mor­pheus, Sam­sung Gear VR and Mi­crosoft Hololens, along with the host of other brands, also dom­i­nated the floor at the world’s big­gest tech­nol­ogy show – the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show at Las Ve­gas.

SMART HOMES: Var­i­ous tech­nolo­gies put to­gether are push­ing the world to­wards smart homes. The IoT, evo­lu­tion of high­speed net­works and ma­chine learn­ing are con­tribut­ing to­wards devel­op­ment of smart homes, which in­clude smart prod­ucts, smart sys­tems and apps. While Huawei has an­nounced its HiLink open source plat­form for smart homes, Bosch has cre­ated a sub­sidiary that will of­fer prod­ucts and ser­vices for con­nected homes cov­er­ing se­cu­rity and heat­ing. Google-ac­quired Nest, too, is work­ing ac­tively in this space. The Ras­berry Pi model B+, for in­stance, runs seven em­bed­ded LEDs, a cou­ple of sen­sors to mea­sure hu­mid­ity, baro­met­ric pres­sure and tem­per­a­ture, and a step­per mo­tor that re­motely opens and closes doors. With con­nec­tiv­ity go­ing main­stream and com­pact chipsets get­ting af­ford­able, a plenty of smart home so­lu­tions will come up in 2016.

BOTS: Af­ter rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, ro­bots are ac­tively be­com­ing a part of the ser­vices in­dus­try, too. Last year we saw Toshiba’s Aiko Chichira ven­tur­ing into de­part­men­tal stores to in­ter­act with cus­tomers, Ja­pan’s Hen-na Ho­tel com­pletely op­er­ated by ro­bots, and the Pep­per hu­manoid in­ter­act­ing with cus­tomers in stores. This New Year will see far-ad­vanced bots, which will have ma­chine learn­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties that al­low smart learn­ing over the cod­i­fied jobs they do cur­rently. Re­cently, Aus­tralia got its first fire-fight­ing ro­bot. There are talks about ro­bots pa­trolling the streets.

DRIVER­LESS CARS: While most tech­nolo­gies in the space will wit­ness devel­op­ment and growth,

they are still fu­tur­is­tic

COGNI TOY: Cog­niToys are in­ter­net-con­nected smart toys whose ex­peri

ence keeps im­prov­ing.

AP­PLE’S SIRI: Nat­u­ral lan­guage pro­cess­ing will be­come big in the

com­ing year

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