This past Saturday, October 3rd, was National Techies Day. Launched in 1999 by Techies.com and co-founded by CNET Networks, Techies Day is a day that was created to encourage students to learn more about a career in technology and recognize the contributions that tech professionals make to education.
Since the majority of the Temperature@lert staff is part of this revered (and, we’ll be the first to admit, often joked about) group, we thought we’d highlight the emerging technologies and trends that get our hardware humming to celebrate.
3D printing has advanced leaps and bounds since its inception in 1983. Going well beyond simple tchotchkes and gadgets, the advancements in this technology allow companies to print pretty much anything you can conceive; from organs to pharmaceuticals to food and candy.
Fellow Boston-based startup Formlabs is taking 3D printing one step further and making it personal…personal desktop, that is. Late last month, Formlabs’ unveiled their desktop stereolithography printer: a 3D-printing machine that uses lasers to make objects out of resin; it’s as easy to purchase as a new laptop and not much larger than a printer you might find next to your computer today. Revolutionary? Not necessarily. Evolutionary? Absolutely.
I think we can all appreciate the scene in HBO’s Silicon Valley where Jared accepts a ride in one of Peter Gregory’s driverless cars and ends up stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere. Unsure of the pop culture reference? Feel free to re-familiarize yourself here.
And while it’s a totally laughable situation, the technology is real and moving forward quickly. Google, Apple, and all major car manufacturers are actively working towards making self-driving cars a large-scale reality. Whether or not consumers buy into the concept is yet to be seen, although a recent study from the Boston Consulting Group showed 44 percent of surveyed U.S. consumer would consider buying a fully autonomous vehicle, while 55 percent would consider buying a partially self-driving car.
It seems like you can’t open a webpage without seeing an article, targeted ad, or even a personal post from a friend that promotes connected technology in some way, shape or form. Made most popular with consumers by wearables like FitBit and home appliances like Sonos and Nest, connected technology is any product that connects to the Internet and is able to identify itself to other devices. The term is most often identified with RFID technology as the method of communication, but also includes sensor-based technologies, wireless technologies, or QR codes.
We at Temperature@lert love connected technology because, at our core, that’s who we are. Our system lets users react in real time to changes in ambient temperature that could negatively impact them; everything from life-saving vaccines and food products, to hardware inside data centers and vacation homes. Connected technology provides a level of accountability that previously was unavailable.
For those unfamiliar, augmented reality is “a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.” (Mashable) Unlike virtual reality, which replaces the real world with a simulated environment, augmented reality modifies one’s perception of reality.
Most commonly used by marketers, augmented reality is a new technique that helps advertisers make products come alive and “talk” to consumers. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many applications where AR can come to life in a more meaningful way.
Imagine a classroom where a teacher is able to show students a 3D rendering of the human body for a hands-on anatomy lesson. Or an architect meeting with a family to show them a visual of their new home that literally jumps off the page. How much easier would shopping be if you had a 3D rendering of your body to see how an article of clothing would fit without needing to try it on? Or a kitchen appliance that shows you exactly how to blend ingredients to make the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies?
Artificial Intelligence first became a mainstream concept among corporations and Fortune 500 companies in the 1990’s with the help of Michael Hammer’s infamous 1990 Harvard Business Review article, “Don’t Automate, Obliterate.” Corporations large and small placed a huge focus on the automation of mundane tasks, like invoicing, kicking off the initial trend towards an AI-inspired workplace.
While there have been some advancements since the initial onslaught of AI-based technologies and programs, we’re about to experience a new boom; one that takes AI truly mainstream. It was announced just yesterday that IBM is creating the new Cognitive Business Solutions Group, which will focus on taking advantage of IBM’s Watson AI software. And on Monday, Apple confirmed it has acquired Perceptio, a photo software application that uses AI to classify photos on smartphones.
Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) there’s more data than ever at our fingertips. The volume of data from gadgets, wearables, smartphones, and other devices is growing every day and it’s becoming increasingly more important to treat that data carefully and for the right purposes.
Big Data remains an important enabler for this trend but the focus needs to shift to thinking about big questions and big answers first and Big Data second — the value is in the answers, not the data itself. Customizing a consumer’s experience based on relevant analytics will become a necessity to remain relevant.