The new year is upon us and for techies and average consumers alike, that means almost 365 days of possible new developments in tech- and cool gadgets. While we don’t have an iCrystalBall (yet), here are some exciting tech trends to watch for in the coming year.
The hyper-personalization of everything: Unless you conduct all of your online affairs in Chrome’s incognito mode while using dual IP re-routers, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and the other big names know what you’re up to- so much so that improved algorithms are becoming incredibly personalized with websites literally feeding you the content (such as news stories and videos) that they think you want to see and suggesting products that you’ll most likely want to buy. Don’t believe me? Run a few quick searches for cordless dust buster and see if you’re not sucked in (pun intended) to endless content and advertisements about home cleaning products.
Image recognition technology: While the latest models of iPhones have facial recognition capabilities, expect more and more technology to follow suit. Even if technology can’t make a positive identification, advertisers are still developing software that will identify a person’s physical features such as age, hair color, gender, and ethnicity in an attempt to live market products to them in retail settings. According to a CB Insights report, a patent filed in August 2016 by L’Oreal describes using some type of visual mechanism, like a smartphone camera or in-store video device, to gather data on the texture and color of a shopper’s skin and hair. From there, the company would use the information to create a blend that best fits a shopper.
More augmented or virtual reality in apps and games: Think Fortnite and 2K19 are fun now? Wait until you play them in augmented or virtual reality. Video game testers are rapidly working to incorporate AR/VR elements into their games using VR devices such as the Oculus as well as full-body sensor suits for a fully immersive video game experience. (Author’s note: I was the beta tester for one of these suits and while it was awesome, I ran into two chairs, a table, and tripped over my own foot in a matter of five minutes, so these might be limited to gaming cafes or specialized locations.)
Smarter homes: As Millennials and Generation Z age and increase their spending power, we can likely expect more full lines of smart home gadgets. While there are many home products such as home security systems, smart TVs, and even smart refrigerators (yes, that’s a thing), experts predict that major technology brands will expand beyond their core products and turn themselves into a lifestyle- much in the same way that Mac’s product lines (such as iPhones, MacBooks, iPads, and iWatches sync up and work together once a user is logged in). Does this mean that when a home security alarm is triggered that the wireless speaker system will play Ariana Grande loud and on repeat to deter potential burglars? We have 357 days to find out.
So what probably won’t make a major splash in 2019? Despite the massive amount of hype surrounding them, autonomous, self-driving cars will likely remain on the fringe of the auto world due to too many accidents. While some tokens and cryptocurrencies may thrive in underdeveloped markets (specifically in Africa), the mainstream crypto boom has been pretty much over since 2017.
While we may not have as many Bitcoin billionaires as years past, we may have more coders as Apple and other tech companies continue to offer numerous free online and in-person coding classes for kids and adults alike, which if Alexander Shartsis of Forbes is to be believed, will be an important part of the blockchain boom of 2019.