February 18, 2019

Top 5 Emerging Technology Trends to Watch in the Year Ahead

Aaron Vick

Aaron Vick

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Whether you're in business or just a consumer making your way through the world, you're noticing that technology is changing everything quickly. Emerging technology trends can be exciting but can be costly. If you're not prepared for the changes to come, you could risk your business being left behind or not being able to adapt to the latest trends.

Here are five trends you need to look out for, which could affect just about every industry in the world.


1. Wearables


While wearables have been tossed out there as one of those "emerging" trends that we've seen for years, they're still finding their footing. Whether they take the form of the FitBit around a wrist or some future form of Google Glass, they're going to continue their growth. There are going to be a wider variety of ways to integrate them as we continue to advance.

With the development of the Apple Watch, most of the market for wearables has been made redundant. There is so much capability in that one small device that it's going to be hard for other developers to compete.

However, the product cycle for Apple is slow, which gives many product developers a couple of years to work on new wearable devices. Beyond things that can be worn on the wrist, we might see other types of products, that could be as broad as ID rings, or earrings that double as earbuds.

With Jeff Bezos threatening to make wearable devices to track productivity in warehouses, wearables can have their downside as well.


2. Virtual Assistants


With the number of virtual assistant devices already populating homes around the world, it's hard to imagine them reaching any further. However, with some estimates stating that there could soon be more virtual assistants than actual workers around, the growth is staggering. As more devices are created, we need to find more work for them to do.

If you haven't figured it out yet, there's a movement to start integrating these devices to be more productive for us. Somewhere between the Roomba and the "Alexa" device, there's going to be a place for little R2D2 robots running around our homes.

While it might seem like science fiction, there's significant research being done to create productive devices that can make our lives easier. With smart homes now being equipped with remote controls that function via apps, you'll soon be able to integrate these devices together. Childrens' television habits can be monitored remotely or homes could be unlocked for visitors with just the push of a button.

There's no telling how much this could grow.


3. Augmented Reality

Augmented reality hasn't taken as big of a leap as it did when we saw it change gaming with Pokemon Go. The week that Pokemon Go was released, kids and adults in every city were walking around, looking at live views of places they walked past every day. They were seeing familiar spaces in a completely new way, now with the understanding that technology could intervene.

Where virtual reality tries to drop you via a headset or an avatar in a virtual world, augmented reality relies on the world we all share. It changes the environment around us to add characters, elements, and information.

Augmented reality will find its way into more applications and eventually, advertisers will get ahold of it. With the help of AR, advertisers will be able to micro-target their audience and let them know of deals as they walk by. They'll be able to drop virtual billboards in front of you and capture your attention in real time.

Something like a carnival barker standing outside every one of the businesses you walk by, augmented reality could become quickly crowded by commerce.


4. IoT Everywhere


As stated above, smart home technology is growing at a rapid pace. With it, the number of devices taking advantage of the Internet of Things is also booming. Soon we'll have refrigerators that can tell you when you're out of milk, ovens that tell you when they need to be cleaned, and crockpots you can set with an app.

While this all might seem very space age, the future is now. There are so many devices gathering data to send back to their parent companies that it's not surprising to see strange ad behavior anymore.

That thing where you're talking about how you need more laundry detergent with your partner and you end up with a Tide ad in your email? That's going to be happening a lot more in the integrated world of IoT.

While this can be a little bit fear-inducing at home, at work it could be a great thing. Imagine a printer that can call for services on its own without you having to bang on it. What if the tools of productivity that you used at work could communicate with one another and save you time?

The possibilities are nearly endless.


5. Totally Cashless Transactions


You may be seeing it at your local cafe or pizzeria. It seems like the era of the cash register is gone. In fact, you could break into many of the most popular restaurants at night and you'll find that there might be no cash there at all.

Touting safety and convenience, totally cashless businesses are popping up everywhere. While many are charging that it's discriminatory to people who don't have or can't get a bank account, the speed of the change is immense.

If you're running a business or you spend a lot of time in retail environments, prepare to have to leave your cash at home.


Emerging Technology Trends Can Be Useful


If you're in an industry where you have a lot of hats to wear, emerging technology trends can be a relief. They could take some of the busy work off of your shoulders so that you can focus on doing the tasks that allow you to be competitive in your industry. Balancing accounts and handling administrative work won't always get you there.

If you're looking at trends to help build a startup, check out my guide for why you should focus on your team first.

Comments? You can contact me directly via my AdvisoryCloud profile.

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