25 Tech Trends in Practice

Most of the trends described in this book are about data.

March 1, 2021

I recently read the book book by Bernard Marr which provides a very high level overview of some of the latest technology trends. One thing that immediately struck me is that most of the trends are about getting the most value from various kinds of data, directly or indirectly.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning refers to the ability of machines to learn and act intelligently – meaning they can make decisions, carry out tasks, and even predict future outcomes based on what they learn from data.

Computer Vision

Computer vision, also referred to as machine vision, is where machines (including computers, software, and algorithms) can “see” and interpret the world around them – with facial recognition (which uses computer vision to identify people) being a prime example. Vast numbers of curated images (unstructured data) are used for training the algorithms.

Natural Language Processing

Natural language processing (or NLP for short) refers to the technology that allows computers to understand human language by using vast amount of text as training data.

Voice Interfaces and Chatbots

Voice interfaces and chatbots are computer programs that allow humans to converse and interact with computers through either spoken commands or written text. This requires training the machines using a lot of audio data.

Big Data and Augmented Analytics

“Big data” refers to the exponential explosion in the amount of data being generated in this increasingly digital age, while “augmented analytics” refers to the ability to automatically work with and generate insights from data.

Mass Personalization and Micro-Moments

Mass personalization is about offering products and services at scale, but each uniquely tailored to our needs; micro-moments are the opportunities to respond to customer needs at an exact time when they need them. Mass personalization is usually based on recommendation algorithms that rely on leveraging huge amounts of transaction data and product metadata.

Cloud and Edge Computing

Cloud computing means storing and processing data on other people’s computers (e.g. data centers) via a network (e.g. the internet), which gives companies the ability to store massive amounts of data and process it in nearly real time. Edge computing refers to the processing of data on devices such as smart phones (which are getting more powerful and therefore no longer need to outsource processing to the cloud).

Digital Platforms

A digital platform is a mechanism or network that facilitates valuable connections and exchanges between people – and these exchanges may include communicating and sharing information, selling products, or offering services.

Cybersecurity and Cyber Resilience

Cybersecurity is a company’s ability to avoid the increasing threat from cyber crime, such as cyber attacks or data theft; cyber resilience is a company’s ability to mitigate damage and carry on once systems or data have been compromised. Cyber security is increasingly reliant on Big Data and AI.

5G and Faster, Smarter Networks

5G is the fifth generation of cellular network technology, which together with other network innovations will give us much faster and more stable wireless networking, as well as the ability to connect more and more devices and enable richer, more varied streams of data.

Internet of Things and the Rise of Smart Devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the increasing number of everyday devices and objects that are connected to the internet and are capable of gathering and transmitting data.

Digital Twins

A digital twin is a digital copy of an actual physical product, process, or ecosystem that can be used to run virtual simulations, using data to update and change the digital copy to reflect any changes in the real world.

Autonomous Vehicles

An autonomous vehicle – be it a car, truck, ship, or other vehicle – is one that can sense what’s going on around it and operate without human involvement. An autonomous vehicle processes huge amounts of video, audio, LIDAR data and other kinds of telemetry data in real time.

Drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are aircraft that are piloted either remotely or autonomously.

From Wearables to Augmented Humans

This trend harnesses artificial intelligence AI, the Internet of Things, Big Data, and robotics to create wearable devices and technology that help to improve the physical – and potentially mental – performance of humans, and help us lead healthier, better lives.

Intelligent Spaces and Smart Places

Intelligent spaces and smart places are physical spaces – such as homes, office buildings, or even cities – that have been kitted out with technology to create an intelligent, connected environment. The foundation for intelligent spaces is IoT and Big Data.

Robots and Cobots

Today’s robots can be defined as intelligent machines that can understand and respond to their environment and perform routine or complex tasks autonomously.

Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers

A blockchain or distributed ledger is, in very simplistic terms, a kind of highly secure database – a way of storing information, in other words.

Digitally Extended Realities

Extended reality (XR for short) – which encompasses virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality – refers to the use of technology to create more immersive digital experiences.

Machine Co-Creativity and Augmented Design

Machine co-creativity and augmented design refers to the ability of machines to be creative, specifically to enhance the work of humans in creative and design processes.

Genomics and Gene Editing

Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of biology that focuses on the understanding and manipulation of DNA and genomes of living organisms. Gene editing is a group of technologies that enables genetic engineering in order to change the DNA and genetic structure of living organisms.

Quantum Computing

The cheap smart phones we carry in our pockets today are thousands of times more powerful than the computers used to put humans on the moon just half a century ago, while the arrival of quantum computing will make today’s state-of-the-art look Stone-Aged.

Robotic Process Automation

Robotic process automation (RPA) is technology that can automate business processes that are rules based, structured, and repetitive.

3D and 4D Printing and Additive Manufacturing

3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) means creating a 3D object from a digital file by building it layer by layer; 4D printing is based on the same process but with a twist – namely, a built-in ability for the printed object to transform itself.

Nanotechnology and Materials Science

Nanotechnology essentially means controlling matter on a tiny scale, at the atomic and molecular level, while materials science is the study of materials – characteristics, properties, uses, and so on – to understand how various factors influence a material’s structure.

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