Top Tech Movements Set to Erupt This Year

Big tech trends impacting professional and personal use.

First Published: 15 March 2019

Tech is enhancing user experience at a faster rate now than ever before.

Technology is always evolving, a fact that makes it both incredibly exciting to be involved in but also challenging to keep up with. Business owners and consumers can maximise their productivity, spend their money mindfully, and protect their data with tech innovations coming this year.

Check out what the experts expect to see rolling out and the ways you can use them to your advantage.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT): a vague label, arguably because it covers such a massive system and finding a comprehensive term is nearly impossible. The IoT is a system of interrelated devices, machines, people, objects, and even animals; all of which have their own unique identifier (UID). This setup allows the transfer of data over a network without any human-to-computer or human-to-human interaction.

A UID in this definition can refer to nearly anything. For instance, a network connected to a vehicle that alerts the driver when there are low tire pressure or engine issues. Or, livestock animals with biochip transponders that allow farmers to keep track of the herd. Even a heart monitor implant for constant monitoring to ensure it’s working at maximum efficiency.

Predictions for IoT devices are high with a market cap. exceeding $11 trillion (£8.4 billion) by 2025, according to McKinsey.

Web-enabled smart devices on the IoT collect and act on data. For example, there’s a smart yoga mat that uses pressure sensing technology to offer advice and help you perfect your poses. Tracking devices connect directly to items to monitor their location.

The Internet of Things has quite a few applications in today’s world; it streamlines health tracking, farming, television and entertainment, smart homes, appliances, and wearable technology.

Predictions are continually being made and smashed for IoT. According to IDC, investment is set to top $1trillion (£760billion) by 2020. By 2019 close, over 1.3bn. connected devices are forecast by networkworld.com. Security is a top priority for IoT developers since the vast network size means that devices can potentially be exploited by hackers if not properly secured.

Major corporations in the online and tech world are expected to play a significant role in 2019 IoT development as well, according to DataArt. As a result of this growth, a significant shortage of workers with IoT experience and knowledge is expected. This shortage will likely create opportunities for those willing to develop their skill sets and build careers in this expanding sector.

Ethical Internet movement

One of the most important changes coming in 2019 is a push toward a more ethical online space. Consider all the ways that big technology companies have been using consumer data for years without any real oversight or push-back. Now, consumers are fighting for more transparent and ethical use of their data and private information. Companies currently use consumers’ information to manipulate behaviour, which doesn’t sit well with the end-user, according to fastcompany.com. People in many industries are aiming to balance the use of technology with ethical considerations.

Large corporations came under fire for profiting from selling on big data for trends analysis and marketing purposes. Ethical Internet aims to stem this practice and other similar ones.

As the movement grows, it will potentially have significant effects on consumers. Users will potentially get the freedom to decide where and how they spend their attention, putting more power into their hands. Companies will have to consider the ethical implications of their software and platforms to work towards a more transparent business model that their client-base is willing to engage with.

This movement has the profound ability to make the Internet more accessible and equitable. Several movements aim to support equality in Internet access and usage while eliminating discrimination in these same areas.

Smart cameras

Smart cameras: they’re rolling out and for good reason. People want to be safe, and what’s easier than being able to monitor your home and belongings from a remote location?

For example, Nest smart cameras designed for indoor and outdoor use have substantially grown in popularity. Their small design, similar to others available on the market, makes them easy to hide and makes them less likely to be targeted by burglars, and they offer streaming technology that lets you track what’s going on in and around your home from your phone. Many even let you speak to someone over the device with a built-in microphone. Other devices monitor your car or start recording when they sense motion, making it easier to get evidence from accidents and hold responsible parties liable.

Smart cameras with real-time viewing have proven themselves as valuable security assets to ward off potential intruders and thieves, according to nest.com.

These devices are predicted to dramatically rise in popularity in the near future. They are leading to completely cashier-less consumer experiences (such as Amazon Go), facial recognition security at ATMs, and at-home medical diagnosis. Smart camera technology is changing how consumers and businesses interact on a daily basis and, more broadly, with the surrounding environment as with enhanced security measures.

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Blockchain scalability

Blockchain continues to be a topic of hype with high hopes and great expectations — and it isn’t going anywhere soon. In 2017 and 2018, several cryptocurrency blockchain networks reached their maximum capacity as demand increased. Some networks hit their limits, leading companies to develop new solutions for these issues.

Scalability is a challenge, arguably due to traditional, centralised attitudes and practices. Solutions such as the Lightning Network aim to address this with enhanced speed and ease of use.

One solution is the Lightning Network. It directly addresses the issue of scalability. Bitcoin has historically only been able to process up to seven transactions per second, putting it far behind Visa, which sits at about 24,000 transactions per second. The Lightning Network is built on the premise that it isn’t actually necessary to record every single transaction in a chain. Instead, the Lightning Network operates on top of a blockchain network and allows users to set up payment channels between themselves and another user. When the channel is closed, the funds are balanced and disbursed, and the final balance is recorded on the blockchain. Transactions are much faster with significantly lower fees. As a result, the Lightning Network presents a potential solution to cryptocurrency scalability challenges.

Micro-payments and less frequent balance settling are features that may also be applied to blockchains across various industries and companies, making the technology more accessible to users and faster at processing transactions.

Furthermore, user interfaces (UIs) are expected to become more user-friendly in coming months. As blockchain becomes mainstream, there is a greater need to make the technology appealing to a wider audience to aid mass-adoption.

Ahead of the curve

This year is set to be an exciting year for tech developments, bringing enhancements and new features that will benefit consumers, developers, and business owners. Doing your research and being ahead of the curve is certainly beneficial, as is an open mind, especially when innovation comes along that makes life easier, more productive, and — more importantly — gives you a competitive edge.

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