Future is much closer than it appears to be

Last week I was researching future technologies, designs and interfaces. I wondered what we had imagined 5 years back to be the future tech of today How close are we? Similarly what we think today about 5 years from now about technology and how true it’s going to be based on past trends and experiences. There are always outliers but the majority of the tech innovation cycle fits in a bell curve.

You may be surprised that future may come much faster than it appears to be. This always reminds me of those rear view mirrors which says “Objects appear closer than they seem!” However in this case it’s other way around.

“Future will be much closer & faster than it appears to be”

Top 10 predictions of the future in 2012 & their status as of today in 2017

Let’s take a look at top 10 predictions which were done by market leaders back in 2012 for next 5 years.

  1. Global and sharing economy — Freedom and flexibility are the watchwords here. Today companies like Airbnb, Ola, Uber etc are proving it right and researching & rising fast to next level as well.
  2. Cloud & related services becomes easy to access — Moving from hype to adoption, cloud conversations now centre on implementing, managing and securing solutions. Today definitely here to stay, and especially for startups, the cloud is the way to start lot of services. It provides a major boost in terms of uptime and less headaches to manage hardware and related support.
  3. E-commerce via social and mobile platforms — Following the arc of user behaviour, social and mobile commerce will expand to make up 20 percent to 30 percent of your overall e-commerce transactions. Today, everyone is trying to enable payments via mobile. Be it banks, the public sector or e-commerce. I rarely see myself going to any counter for bill payments anymore.
  4. More focus on UX — UI will be assumed to be good or of less importance. It would be everything about your user experience. Your top priority would be to keep user engaged. You’ll be measured on how well employees and customers engage with your solutions. Today it’s quite important to make interfaces which are not only aesthetically good (assumed) but also keep users engaged to it. It’s all about giving users a new level of experience. Every business is working to perfection to provide their customers a unique custom experience. Know ahead what user wants.
  5. Data will be new Oil — With digitization, data will be available everywhere. Data management must be pervasive and protective. Today indeed we are talking about data lakes. Data management is a big area which makes data security more important than ever. Every other big organization is seeking data scientists for useful analytics and patterns.
  6. Voice control — Siri and its ilk define a new era in which we talk, and our devices understand — often on the first attempt. Other device makers will likely follow suit. Today Apple is providing a seamless user experience through Apple watch or Siri. Apple TV is voice controlled. Business started building voice enabled interfaces which required less touch or tap experiences. Amazon’s Alexa is taking it all to the next level.
  7. Spatial gestures — Other input methods are gaining traction too: Microsoft’s Kinect, for instance, has given rise to interfaces that use spatial gestures. Just like in “Minority Report,” your devices can be controlled simply by waving your hands in the air. Well today there hasn’t been much spatial gesture based tech growth in daily life. I could only associate them with gaming or entertainment consoles like Kinect or Wii. Yet to see the next level in consumer-tech industry.
  8. Flexible & touch screens — Nokia and Samsung have both hinted they may release phones with bendable displays in 2012. When it comes to user experience, touch screens are better than classic buttons. Certainly there is a steep rise in touch based smart phones with Samsung and Apple leading the pack. However flexible screens are yet to hit the market at scale.
  9. Autonomous Vehicles—With google doing rounds of driverless cars, there is certainly an interesting future ahead. Now Tesla motor CEO, Elon Musk, is definitely taking it to next level with autonomous electric cars for the masses. Also introduced Hyperloop as a faster means of future transport.
  10. Smartphones Grow Share Dramatically to dominate the total cellphone market — With an ever increasing population, demands and urgency to connect everyone with everything to make concept of sharing economy more realistic, this is inevitable. You need a medium to connect & as of today nothing better than a smartphone. Though there will innovations and tech revolution & disruptions in this industry as well.

Top predictions for 2021 (future) as of today in 2016–17

  1. Smart screens or mirrors — This is one thing on top of my list which seems quite a new experience and engaging for users. It directly comes from those futuristic movies.
future smart screen/mirrors.

2. Drone delivery — With early trials by Amazon prime, it won’t be too late until drone delivery will be the most chosen option.

Amazone PrimaeAir drone delivery

3. Autonomous vehicles & flying cars — Tesla has already started mass production for autonomous cars after seeing a steep rise in demand. Uber will definitely be eyeing those cars! Also there is increasing number of prototypes of flying cars.

Flying cars

4. More use of renewable energy resources — Ever increasing demands on non-renewable resources has definitely led us to look towards cheaper and renewables forms of energy like Solar, wind , nuclear, bio-waste etc. Out of this bunch solar power definitely has promising future to be adopted widely at consumer level. Tesla motor’s CEO, Elon musk, has already introduced Solar wall & solar tiles to make more feasible than ever.

Concept solar roof (tesla)

5. Voice enabled interfaces — I couldn’t imagine using buttons any more in future product designs. We are talking about future where aesthetic beautiful will be assumed by default. We are talking about seamless user experience. Continuous improvements in voice tech has now enabled it to be used on a larger scale. Amazon’s Alexa is a perfect example of it. More tech products like Alexa will be integrated into our daily life very soon.

Amazon’s Alexa

6. Design for experience (Virtual reality) — The concept of design for experience has been truly replicated by VR tech. Success of your product will be dependent on how long & repetitively you could engage users and not just aesthetic beauty of it. VR is also going to change shape of retail industry. As per Gartner, 100 MN consumers will shop using VR by 2020.

7. Healthcare industry revolutionized by AI and Robots—As per Gartner’s report, approx 40% of people will be using fitness trackers. These wearables provide a wealth of data to be analyzed either in real-time or in retrospect with the potential for doctors and other healthcare professionals to have access to both contextual and historical information, if the patient agrees to share it. With AI enabled bots, they will also be ready to perform complex surgical operations (may be under supervision).

Fitness trackers

8. IoT will put more demand on data centres and storage — IoT has enormous potential for data generation across the roughly 21 billion endpoints expected to be in use in 2020. Of the roughly 900 exabytes worth of data centre hard-disk drive (HDD) and solid-state drive (SSD) capacity forecast to ship in 2020 (as per Gartner). This indicates that IoT can scale and deliver important data-driven business value and insight, while remaining manageable from a storage infrastructure standpoint.

9. Less screens for touch or tap interactions — New audio-centric technologies, such as Google Home and Amazon’s Echo, are making access to dialogue-based information ubiquitous and spawning new platforms based on “voice-first” interactions. By eliminating the need to use one’s hands and eyes for browsing, vocal interactions extend the utility of web sessions to contexts such as driving, cooking, walking, social-networking, exercising and operating machinery (by Gartner).

Google home

10. Importance of CIO in business — With technology changing faster than ever, there is a continuous demand for an up to date, visionary, innovative & most importantly predictive CIO’s to keep businesses running in line with current market trends and also changing fast to adapt to newer market demands. It’s going to be interesting as well as tougher job.

Well, I am quite exited about futuristic technologies and amazed to see evolution of product designs and interfaces to adapt to new era of consumers and their demands.

Looking forward to an AI driven smart future!