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2017 in Review: Technology Trends

27/12/2017

2017 was a massive year for innovation, and there were several technology trends that came into focus this year that will shape the industry for years to come. As the year comes to a close, we look at some of the technology trends that have made an impact over the last 12-months.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) research began in the 1950s, and yet it has really only emerged as a game-changing technology trend in the past five years. AI is so exciting because it is a technology that has the potential to dramatically transform everything from business processes to the daily life of consumers. This sentiment was echoed in the UK Government’s recent Autumn Budget, which announced investment in technologies for the future, including £75 million to “secure the UK’s leading position in artificial intelligence”.

AI technology catapulted the smart home into the stratosphere in 2017.  Advances such as the Nest Thermostat and Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant are among the recent smart home technologies which we will now see in the modern-day home. This trend is set to continue with smart gadgets galore as according to a recent study by Intel Corporation, a growing number of consumers, 71%, expect to see at least one smart-home device in every home by 2025.

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition is another example of a technology that has been around for several years but has blossomed in 2017. The most well-known example is probably Apple’s iPhone X, which uses facial recognition technology to unlock the phone – Face ID. Apple’s Face ID is part of a wider shift in how we interact with technology in a post-touch era, when controlling our devices is just a matter of looking, instead of swiping and tapping.

For London commuters of the future, facial recognition could be the ticket and gates could be invisible. A recent article in Wired noted that Cubic Transportation Systems, the US company behind London’s Oyster card technology, is working on new ticketing systems that use facial recognition in a bid to cut down queues. Similarly, there are budding start-ups like Aimbrain that use facial recognition in authentication and security. As facial recognition begins to overtake traditional security measures like passwords and PINs, there is no denying its potential to become over more commonplace in our day-to-day lives.

Augmented Reality

The line between real and virtual is becoming blurry, thanks to the latest augmented reality (AR) tech advances. Beyond virtual reality, AR technology enriches the real world with the digital, layering virtual aspects in the camera view of smartphones, tablets, PCs or connected glasses. The impossible is made possible. For example, you can now have a dancing hotdog in your living room with Snapchat’s clever use of AR.

As Pokémon Go showed us in 2016, well-designed augmented reality games have the potential to be hugely popular. In addition to gaming, AR technology can now be found in a multitude of industries, such as publishing. The launch of both Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore this year sees AR being increasingly influential in mobile technologies and applications.

There’s always something new on the horizon, and if 2018 is anything like 2017 we will be set for some awesome tech and gadgets!

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