13.8. Emerging Technology Trends
In addition to AI; a number of other emerging technologies are forecast to have an impact on how businesses operate and communicate. The following are some trends that are driving these new and innovative technologies.
The last section explored VR technologies, which include devices that can be worn to simulate virtual environments. Technology that can be worn or ‘wearables‘ have been around for a long time, with applications such as hearing aids and, later, bluetooth earpieces. Product lines have expanded to include the Smartwatch, body cameras, sports watch, and various fitness monitors and other wellness devices. Energy harvesting and haptic devices are examples of future developments in wearable technology. Energy harvesting allows body heat to be converted to solar power, and haptic devices allow one to control virtual objects. Wearable haptic devices will be integrated into clothing to help with directions, or to assist individuals navigate the virtual world 
As discussed in chapter 3, the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to devices that have been embedded into a variety of objects including appliances, lamps, vehicles, lightbulbs, toys, thermostats, jet engines, etc. and then connecting them via Wi-Fi, BlueTooth, or LTE to the internet. Think of IoT as devices that you wouldn’t normally consider being connected to the internet, and the connection is independent of human intervention. This interconnectedness or uploading of data is virtually automatic. So a PC is not an IoT, but a fitness band could be. Interconnected devices are becoming ubiquitous, meaning they are everywhere. Today there are IoTs for monitoring traffic, air quality, soil moisture, bridge conditions, consumer electronics, autonomous vehicles, and the list seemingly never stops.
Principally three factors have come together to give us IoT: inexpensive processors, wireless connectivity, and a new standard for addresses on the internet known as IPv6. Processors have become both smaller and cheaper in recent years, leading to their being embedded in more devices. Consider technological advancements in your vehicles. Your car can now collect data about how fast you drive, where you go, radio stations you listen to, and your driving performance such as acceleration and braking. Insurance companies are offering discounts for the right to monitor your driving behavior. On the positive side, imagine the benefit of being informed instantly of anticipated traffic delays each time you adjust your route to work in the morning. Benefits from IoTs are virtually everywhere. Here is a quick list.
|Optimization of Processes||IoTs in manufacturing monitor a variety of conditions that impact production including temperature, humidity, barometric pressure – all factors which require adjustment in application of manufacturing formulas.|
|Component Monitoring.||IoTs are added to components in the manufacturing process, then monitored to see how each component is performing.|
|Home Security Systems.||IoTs make the challenge of monitoring activity inside and outside your home are now easier.|
|Smart Thermostats.||Remote control of home thermostats through the use of IoTs allows the homeowner to be more efficient in consumption of utilities.|
|Residential Lighting||IoTs provide remote control of lighting.|
While there are many benefits to these constantly connected devices privacy and security of personal data and information should also be considered.
As more people use smartphones and wearables, it will be simpler than ever to share data with each other for mutual benefit. Some of this sharing can be done passively, such as reporting your location in order to update traffic statistics. Other data can be reported actively, such as adding your rating of a restaurant to a review site. The smartphone app Waze is a community-based tool that keeps track of the route you are traveling and how fast you are making your way to your destination. In return for providing your data, you can benefit from the data being sent from all of the other users of the app. Waze directs you around traffic and accidents based upon real-time reports from other users.
Quantum computing, a technology that applies quantum mechanics to build novel supercomputers, high performance computers used to solve large scale computational tasks. Quantum computers can operate at speeds that are exponentially faster than common computers and can make calculations based on the probability of an object’s state before it is measured. Google demonstrated that their quantum computers can solve a problem that no classical computer could ever solve. For the third year in a row, IBM managed to double its quantum computing power. Additionally, several web service providers, including Amazon, announced plans for cloud-based quantum computing services. Quantum computers can make drug development, power storage, manufacturing, and agriculture better, faster, and more sustainable. They may also unravel cybersecurity infrastructure around the world making them a potential threat to national security. The field of quantum computing is still in its infancy, and the question of scale remains unsolved.
- Perkoic, M. (2022, September 29). How Smart Wearables Are Shaping Our Future. Forbes.https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/09/29/how-smart-wearables-are-shaping-our-future/?sh=53a8fdde6b24 ↵