The past few years have seen an abundance of technological innovation impacting Generation Z to great-grandparents alike. In a world where babies learn to use an iPad before turning the page of a book, packages are delivered via drone, and travelers to Japan can opt to stay in a robot-staffed hotel1, one may wonder what’s next. Here are five technologies to get excited about.
This is the concept that everyday objects will be connected to the Internet and thus will be controlled both remotely and programmatically. Think light bulbs, toasters, air conditioners, and other home electronics. While this is already happening with products like Nest thermostats and the Amazon Echo voice command device, by 2020, it is predicted that 25 billion connected “things” will be in use2. Big businesses will need to prepare for this transition by adopting a big data strategy to sort through all the information, and will need to be staffed with skilled data scientists capable of generating solutions.
2. Battery Advancements
The advent of futuristic batteries has arrived, and the world has innovators like Tesla Motors to thank. The sleekly designed Tesla Powerwall home battery charges via solar panel-generated electricity, provides backup in the event of a power outage, saves homeowners money, and promotes sustainability3. Be on the lookout for phone-charging batteries that leverage quantum entanglement4, holographic microbatteries5, and even lithium batteries enhanced by nanoparticles to boost power and keep your phone running for a week or more on a single charge6.
3. Beacon Technology
Low-energy Bluetooth devices known as beacons have the potential to change the way people shop and travel. Already popping up at major retailers and museums, beacons connect integrated apps with portable electronic devices such as smartphones or tablets. Not only will shoppers get a more integrated store experience, retailers have the potential to significantly increase revenue as beacons are expected to directly influence $44.1 billion worth of US retail sales by 20167.
4. New Ways of Authentication
Passwords are oftentimes too weak and easy to forget. Fingerprints, while unique, are yesterday’s news. Moving into the future there will be other means of biometric authentication including voiceprints and eye movements that, combined, could override the need for passwords altogether8.
5. 4D Printing
With so many groundbreaking 3D print advances, the next leap will be 4D printing, which will enable objects to change over time. From a home appliance that can adapt to moisture or heat, to clothing or shoes that change based on environmental factors, the possibilities are endless9.
The most exciting news of all, though, is that many of these technologies are here already, but with these advancements come the need for tech-savvy workforce personnel who understand the data science, big data, technology management, and human resources management needed to manage projects and hire and manage an effective global workforce.