Tech in­no­va­tions to get ex­cited about in 2019

The Star Late Edition - - BR - CY KIM

THE YEAR 2018 was in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing for the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor, which has seen myr­iad ad­vance­ments.

These in­clude the fun­da­men­tals of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) be­ing es­tab­lished, ro­bots help­ing around the house and con­sumer elec­tronic in­no­va­tions such as TVs that are so thin they might be mis­taken for win­dows or paint­ings.

The year 2019 prom­ises to be an­other sig­nif­i­cant one as peo­ple’s at­ti­tudes are chang­ing and tech­nol­ogy be­comes em­bed­ded in our lives. Smart elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ers will en­sure their plans for the fu­ture match evolv­ing con­sumer needs with suit­able tech­nol­ogy.

We take a look at the big­gest in­no­va­tions for 2019 from AI to light­ning-fast in­ter­net speeds and flex­i­ble view­ing sur­faces, and we shed some light on how these evolv­ing tech­nolo­gies will im­pact on how we live and work.

AI has ex­pe­ri­enced a marked in­crease in in­vest­ments and, ac­cord­ing to Forbes, 80 per­cent of en­ter­prises are in­vest­ing in AI while 30 per­cent are plan­ning to ex­pand their AI in­vest­ments in the next three years. It’s es­ti­mated that, dur­ing 2017, ven­ture, cor­po­rate and seed in­vestors put about $3.6 bil­lion (R50.7bn) into AI and into ma­chine learn­ing com­pa­nies.

This in­vest­ment trend has given rise to in­no­va­tion in deep learn­ing prod­ucts that have the po­ten­tial to change the world for the bet­ter.

Yes, AI has been around since the 1950s, but its con­sumer ben­e­fits weren’t vis­i­ble un­til re­cently and 2019 will be the year when AI starts to re­ally take off and be­come a ne­ces­sity, not just in the home, but in ev­ery facet of our lives.

The po­ten­tial of AI is end­less as this tech­nol­ogy goes into ev­ery­thing from small watches to cars and even gi­gan­tic, con­nected smart cities.

AI is also start­ing to find its way into TVs, wash­ing ma­chines, re­frig­er­a­tors, speak­ers, mo­bile phones and even air cons as prod­ucts adapt to hu­man be­hav­iour. Faster in­ter­net speeds en­able quicker re­sponse times for busi­ness tools that we all rely on to get the job done. It will in­crease the ef­fi­ciency of work­ers and pro­vide re­li­able com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools for com­pa­nies that rely on re­mote work­ers.

Given that the so-called gig econ­omy has grown ex­po­nen­tially in re­cent years, the ex­pec­ta­tion is that the evolv­ing work­force will con­tain a higher per­cent­age of em­ploy­ees, or con­trac­tors who do not work in a cen­tral of­fice.

5G has the po­ten­tial to change the world the way the in­ter­net did a few decades ago. The fifth gen­er­a­tion of wire­less tech­nol­ogy will take in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity to a new level as the In­ter­net of Things (IoT) will bring about the po­ten­tial for ev­ery­thing to be con­nected to ev­ery­thing.

How­ever, 5G is not just about faster in­ter­net speeds. It will cre­ate new pos­si­bil­i­ties in nu­mer­ous sec­tors, in­clud­ing medicine, trans­porta­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing.

A smarter world through IoT and AI isn’t pos­si­ble without 5G’s speed and ca­pac­ity as the sys­tem is able to carry large num­bers of con­nec­tions si­mul­ta­ne­ously, and is there­fore cru­cial to the de­vel­op­ment of smart cities, au­tonomous cars and smart homes.

Much like tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions, con­sumer habits and pref­er­ences are chang­ing dras­ti­cally when it comes to home ap­pli­ances and par­tic­u­larly home en­ter­tain­ment.

Most con­sumers be­lieve that ad­vance­ments in home en­ter­tain­ment tech is life-en­rich­ing and that their life is bet­ter with the lat­est tech at their fin­ger­tips as it al­lows them to stay in­doors and en­joy qual­ity time with friends and fam­ily.

The value of home en­ter­tain­ment tech lies in how it al­lows loved ones to share ex­pe­ri­ences, thereby bring­ing them closer to­gether, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing big events such as ma­jor sport­ing events and hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions.

The po­ten­tial of flex­i­ble view­ing sur­faces will not only change home en­ter­tain­ment, but also mar­ket­ing tech­niques in shop­ping malls, city cen­tres and shop fronts.

With the abil­ity to curve around any en­vi­ron­ment, this tech­nol­ogy cre­ates the per­fect plat­form for sig­nage and con­sumer en­gage­ment that stands out from the crowd.

CY Kim is the manag­ing di­rec­tor of LG Elec­tron­ics South Africa.

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