Buzzwords, or terms to take note of to remain ahead at work or among peers? Here’s a look at the latest tech trends and app advancements making a splash around the world.
Whether they’re intended to be utilised for work or pleasure, the sky truly is the limit when it comes to this year’s burgeoning new technologies. But before we launch into the latest revolutions in robotic process automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual versus augmented reality – and how these categories are likely to revolutionise life in 2021 and beyond – let’s just note that there are more options in Iowa (or, at least, emerging out of Iowa) if online gaming or sports betting is your tech-related leisure activity of choice.
So let’s add app advances to the list of technological developmental areas above, for the way in which they engage with members on the move – and keep them engaged – with the use of exciting reward programmes and/or loyalty point offerings when they log in to do what they must (logging progress on a work project) or what they love (placing a considered bet on their favourite sports star).
Downloadable from the relevant play store, depending on whether you have an iOS or Android device, your app of choice may operate by means of a wearable device. If so, you may be interested – but not surprised – to note that the number of wearable devices worn globally reached 453 million in 201 and is expected to get to, if not surpass, 929 million over the course of this year. A new trend afoot (move over the 10 000 steps), is to not need an app on your phone linked to the wearable – these will begin to work in an independent fashion. A warning then, to the techies working behind the scenes on such devices, is that customers are increasingly demanding a seamless digital experience – no mess, no fuss. The way wearables are moving remains a space to watch.
Returning to this year’s expected new technologies: even if you have a tech background or consider yourself up there when it comes to an understanding of the world of computer science, there’s likely to be an area that throws you off course and makes you go: “Say WHAT?” You’ll then – likely – be googling frantically to find out how the revolutionary new app or technology works, or is supposed to work, and may even pop into your neighbourhood tech store to try it out.
Trump the transaction
But if you work in tourism or one of the other industries where human beings are required to share their empathy and make others feel comfortable or at home, you’ll know that the ‘bots can certainly not replace everything we do. At the same time, we all require faster and more efficient online financial transactions, for example, and robotic process automation is certainly the bomb for making tasks faster and more efficient, boosting the overall productivity of a fintech company and providing a superior customer experience.
Never gotten your head around the IoT? This, according to news site for IT professionals ZDNet, refers to “the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, all collecting and sharing data, [which are] making the fabric of the world around us smarter and more responsive” as the digital and physical universes are increasingly merged. Needing an example to clarify this? Just think of the fridge that sends you an email to say you’re out of milk, or the ability to switch off lighting and air conditioning at your workplace, remotely from your smartphone, when staff have opted to work from home that week.
But now, IoT is forging ahead, with brands such as Amazon and Google devoting much R&D revenue towards the Echo line of devices and the Google Home Voice Controller, respectively. A feisty move from Google earlier on this year was it’s successful attempt to buy Fitbit, for US$7,25 per share or an overall US$2,1 billion; and its collaboration with home-security camera manufacturer Nest. Indeed, IoT-related advances in retail supply chains, smart homes and savvy medical insurance plans are no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies.
Up the ante
Yet not all areas of tech succeed in becoming hard-and-fast features in our daily lives. Two of those which are hovering on the cusp are virtual reality (which you may have experienced when visiting a museum, or checking out a property you are considering buying, without actually going there physically) and augmented reality (in which you can superimpose images, sounds or text over a real-world environment, such as when playing Pokémon Go or selecting a more professional-looking background for a Zoom meeting than your toy or washing-strewn lounge).
The latter is likely to become more mainstream once Google launches a new AR feature for Google Maps, whereby users are provided with real-time directions from their smartphone cameras – which are likely to be way more appealing than the bossy voice directions we currently need to work with when attempting to visit a new place without getting lost.
The gist of all the above, of course, is that to remain future-proof you need to keep tabs on the latest apps launching and tech trends surfacing in the global arena; it pays to master the important ones as they are likely to become increasing features of our lives in the years to come.