Our day-to-day lives are not that far from Black Mirror reality as we might think. Some of us wake up in smart beds that measure sleep quality, adjust the foot temperature and firmness of the mattress. We put the fitbit on that tracks our heartbeat during a morning workout routine on a smart yoga mat packed with sensors. Next, we start talking to virtual assistants ordering basic household supplies as well as planning our next holidays to Hawaii.
Smart devices are more and more common, from smart forks that give you a gentle buzz in case you are eating too quickly to smart pet feeders that sync up with your smartphone letting you feed your dog even if you’re not at home. Soon everything will be connected to the web and the emerging technologies will further influence our everyday life and the way we interact with each other.
The technology revolution is in full gear, no doubts about it, with major tech stocks making up most of the returns among the S&P 500’s.
Let’s have a look at the latest hot trends in the tech world in 2018. First things first, the internet of things.
1. The Internet of Things (IoT)
What exactly is hiding behind this term? The principle is simple, the internet of things is the idea that various physical devices, home appliances or vehicles can start talking to each other while coexisting and interconnecting on the web. IoT basically strives to extend access to the web to everyday electronic objects that are not internet-enabled yet. Just like a smart toothbrush that keeps track of your brushing technique and sends a detailed report to an app stored in your smartphone. The IoT is also about gaining remote control over standard physical devices that are not in your physical reach.
One of the examples of IoT that already exists today is driverless cars. Autonomous vehicles are equipped with bespoke software that can drive the car to the specified destination, stop at traffic lights as well as recognise when emergency services are in the immediate vicinity. Self-driving vehicles are already on the roads and they will make more of an impact on our day to day lives in the years to come. Paris for example launched self-driving shuttles at the beginning of last year and Domino has released a self-driving car that can easily get you your favourite pizza order straight to your doorstep. The internet of things is here to stay.
2. Augmented Reality (AR)
Do you remember an inexplicable craze of Pokemon go a couple of years back? Augmented Reality (AR) has been the growing trend in the IT world for a good couple of years now. Developers will be more focused on building AR applications in 2018 & 2019 as more and more businesses are planning to invest in AR technology to enhance their customers’ experiences and get ahead of the competition. AR will enter the mainstream as it’s quite versatile and will find its place in marketing, entertainment, fashion, art, medicine and education.
You might be familiar with the AR app released by IKEA that lets you see the furniture in 3D before you decide on a particular purchase. Lacoste followed suit releasing an AR app that helps users ‘virtually’ try on shoes and PEPSI Max used AR in a really innovative bus stop ad that you can check out here . If you’re not familiar with the technology, high time you learned more about Augmented Reality as AR applications will definitely play a big part in the future Tech advancements.
3. Blockchain Technology
Blockchain is the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies. It allows a secure distribution of digital information that can’t be copied. As Blockchain becomes more and more in the spotlight in the Tech world and Blockchain developers are in high demand, you might wonder what exactly Blockchain can be used for. Blockchain enables a secure transaction of cryptocurrencies, peer-to-peer payments, smart contracts, records or other digital information. It could find its use in stock trading, marketing, even elections.
Each transaction is connected with previous transactions, creating interconnected blocks of data that can’t be altered in any way. What’s interesting is that Blockchain database isn’t centralised in one specific location. Blocks of data that make up the Blockchain technology can’t be hacked as the exact same information is kept on millions of computers in the network. As cybersecurity threats have been major talking points in recent years, blockchain has a potential to disrupt the industry getting rid of the middleman ensuring transactions are more transparent and secure.
4. Chatbots, Machine Learning & AI
Chatbots, Machine Learning & AI have been in the limelight in the Tech world in recent years too. Google is one of the main drivers of machine learning technology as their main money maker - Google Ads - thrives on machine learning algorithms. Machine Learning is the application of artificial intelligence when the machines are not pre-programmed but rather learn on their own based on different patterns of data that are fed to them.
Machine learning made self-driving cars a reality, helped to build speech recognition software and is widely used in digital marketing, providing the users with custom-made recommendations. It also contributed to the creation of chatbots.Chatbots are AI-enabled computer programs that mimic human-like conversations. Chatbot therapists, chatbot customer service reps or chatbot lawyers, the list keeps growing. They can provide you with shopping recommendations, order your favourite Chinese takeaway or give you advice on how to deal with lower mood swings. Chatbots use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and come with pre-defined answers yet they undergo a rigorous training on how to respond to different inputs to give conversations more natural flow. Their popularity has been quickly growing among all types of various businesses in recent years. It’s been predicted that chatbots will save companies over $8 billion by 2020.
5. Wearable Technology
Wearable Technology use is on the rise too, with various fitbit lookalikes dominating the market, Samsung foldable phone in the making, smart tattoos or bluetooth gloves that connect with your smartphone and let you make and receive calls without the actual phone in your hands.
Wearable technology has the potential to disrupt the fashion and tech industry in the coming years as the next generation of wearables is expected to be entirely self-powered, relying only on body heat.
What does that mean for developers? With wearable technology gaining its momentum, we will go way beyond adapting the screen sizes for tablets, mobiles and desktops only. Programmers will need to make sure that responsive websites and software are adapted to different types of devices, like smart glasses, wearable or implantable smartphones.
The fancy idea of hyper-connected, AI-powered smart devices that are designed to anticipate our needs before we are aware of them in the first place, is not just a pipe dream, the digital revolution has already begun, it’s in the making.
One of the potential risks of the highly-connected digitised world where myriads of electronic devices can be accessed remotely is the cybersecurity threats. Together with technological development, hacking techniques become even more sophisticated and harder to track. Companies will need to spend lots of cash making sure their solutions are not easily hacked and private customer data is secure.
One thing is certain, with the latest technology boom we’re sure to see a massive growth in demand for Tech wizards with advanced coding skills. Don’t let the digital revolution pass you by, start now, today, learn how to program to become a valuable asset in the ever progressing, mesmerising world of technology. The future looks definitely smart and you can be the one responsible for its code.
Ready to take the next step? Fill out our aptitude test to see if you have what it takes to develop high in-demand programming skills.