Are you across these new trends and terms in technology?  

When it comes to all things digital, there is always something new on the horizon.

Now that you finally feel like you understand last year’s popular tech terms of ‘the cloud’, ‘wearables’ and ‘virtual reality’, here are some up-and-comers to familiarise yourself with in 2017.

Smart hub

Last year was all about the Internet of Things. This referred to everyday devices that connect to the internet in order to be operated remotely and to communicate with their owners.

Security cameras, air conditioners and even window blinds can all now be found with internet connectivity.

Taking this a step further is a smart home, where you can operate all your appliances as well as your entertainment system from the one ‘hub’. This includes controlling the temperature, switching on the lights and even vacuuming your floors.

Systems like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are transforming regular homes into smart ones in the US by connecting with entertainment systems, thermostats and more.

As this technology becomes more rapidly adopted around the world, more and more Australians will also be able to control their homes using either a smartphone or voice-activated device.

Automation

It might sound like something that’s been around a while, but automation is just getting started.

Speaking of smart homes, automation will add to the convenience of a connected abode. Using automation, appliances will be smart enough to switch themselves on or off depending on temperature, available light or other factors.

In business and manufacturing, automation is a hot term. At a customer service level, automation technology will allow businesses to segment customers into groups, making the messages they receive more personal.

Manufacturers will be using automated software and even robots to transform supply chains, improve flexibility and free workers from having to perform repetitive tasks.  

Machine Learning and IPAs

How do you improve automation? Through machine learning.

If you own a smartphone, it may have already surprised you by asking for clarification on how to pronounce something. This is an example of an Intelligent Personal Assistant that relies on machine learning.

The abilities of your IPA are expected to be on the rise in 2017 as digital developers create sophisticated algorithms that allow computers to self-educate.

The self-driving cars that are vying to take over on the roads rely on machine learning to become safer and more familiar with their surroundings.

The technology is already allowing the portals you shop with to become smarter and make more appropriate recommendations based on your past purchases.

In the near future, facial and image recognition based on machine learning could apply everywhere from your online photo account to the airport and possibly even at the supermarket checkout.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality and its cousin Virtual Reality have been on the radar for a little while now.

The difference between the two is that with VR you are completely immersed, while AR integrates with what’s actually around you and overlays images on top.

Last year, AR had its debut into the mainstream through the smartphone app Pokémon Go, which superimposed animated ‘pocket monsters’ into the real world and encouraged users to catch them.

2017 is set to be a big year for AR and business, as large and small companies experiment with ways to improve their customer service and engagement.

In different countries, the technology is being applied for everything from sampling makeup palettes to allowing you to superimpose new furniture into your home.

At a customer service level, a plumber could remotely guide you to repair a minor leak under your sink or an operator could show you how to construct the flat pack furniture you decided would look just right in your living room. 

OLED

LED TV is fast becoming totally five minutes ago…

So that you’re up to speed, OLED stands for Organic Light-Emitting Diode. The ‘organic’ part is the carbon film inside the viewing panel.

In easy to repeat terms, OLED is the latest technology for making the white on your TV screen whiter and the black appear blacker. You’re getting a sharper image than with an LED TV as well as deeper colours.

OLED TVs aren’t brand new to the market, but the level of affordability is improving, allowing this technology to edge towards the mainstream.

Quantum computing

Are you ready for the future? Digital experts in labs all over the world are hard at work developing the next level of computing.

To explain quantum computing in a nutshell is not easy, especially as most examples of the technology are experimental at this stage. This breakdown from a Mathematics Professor at the University of Latvia is one of the clearest:

“A conventional computer processes information by encoding it into 0s and 1s. If we have a sequence of thirty 0s and 1s, it has about one billion of possible values. However, a classical computer can only be in one of these one billion states at the same time.

"A quantum computer can be in a quantum combination of all of those states, called superposition. This allows it to perform one billion or more copies of a computation at the same time.”

If the theories behind quantum computing are able to be proven, the result will be computers that are faster and smarter… in a big way.

Some quantum computers are already in testing, however it will likely be a number of years before this technology hits the mainstream.

If it does, we could be experiencing benefits including far more accurate weather forecasting, more rapid testing of new drugs and medical treatments, superior online security and even better traffic advice from the IPA within your smartphone.

The bad news… so far there’s no need to include ‘hoverboard’, a la Back to the Future II on our tech terms list. Well… there’s always next year!

Check out how the internet of things is set to explode, almost tripling the number of devices in the average Aussie household by 2020.

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