Whether or not you were tech-savvy enough to attend the January 2018 Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to get a glimpse of tech trends and gadgets for the coming year, there is no question, technology is rampant. While there are literally hundreds of impending technological advancements ready to infiltrate the market, like a fashion show, there is a select number the business world will find advantageous. By now, you have “googled” the trending buzzwords like AI, AR, VR, MR, and IoT only to find yourself drilling down into Internet infinity to find answers. These acronyms are surfacing as trends for 2018, but really what are they? How have they evolved for today’s uses?
What Are This Year’s IT Trends and Uses
Most of the IT trends for 2018 are not exactly new. It is how technology evolves and changes as well as their application that makes them new. The way we use our devices and computers today is far removed from the way we used them five years ago, and the same will be true five years out.
What is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?
Think of artificial intelligence as knowhow that is offered by machines (computers and devices) versus people. Today, companies use AI to help carry out the tasks people find difficult or time-consuming. True AI is based on a system that is able to learn on its own including the ability to improve on previous findings for continued knowledge and enhancements. Similar to artificial intelligence programs and often mistaken for AI, machine learning is that part of AI in which we rely on machines to learn for us. Predictions are made for precise forecasting based on relevant computer programming.
Today’s Uses for AI and Machine Learning. While there are too many to list, a number of variations, and some controversy over what encompasses true AI and Machine Learning, some modern examples include:
- Personal assistants like Siri and Alexa
- Transactional selling platforms such as Amazon
- Computer-generated consumer behavior patterns discovered by machine learning algorithms and used by streaming sites, travel companies, suppliers, and more
- Suggestive consumer Internet advertising
- Self-driving automobile features
- Artificial intelligence robotics
What is VR / AR / MR? If you are caught up in the VR / AR / MR debate, it may help to figure out what each form of reality means. Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation of real-life or realistic experience. It is sometimes called immersive multimedia in which a user interacts in an imaginary or real world. Augmented Reality (AR) is similar to VR but in fact, the computer augments the environment using added sound, graphics, and video, etc. Mixed Reality (MR) is generally known as a hybrid of VR and HR.
Today’s Uses for VR / AR / MR. Of these, virtual reality is the most common and most-used today, but there are advances in progress that will affect most industries and ultimately individuals. Some current virtual reality apps and augmented reality or hybrid examples include:
- Head-mounted displays (HMDs) used for viewing in gaming, etc.
- Cameras in which 360° video rotation is simple
- 360-degree video used for real-life scenes with bi-directional viewing and playback (some say 360° video is not true VR)
- Suggestive marketing in simulated environments
- Holographic computing for developers
- Industry applications that offer image overlays
- Augmented reality glasses used by designers, gamers, and hologram enthusiasts
What is IoT? The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connectivity between the Internet and the physical devices it is capable of supporting for the collection and sharing of data. In other words, it is a network of smart devices in which sensors are established to respond. Literally, almost any object that can be connected and controlled using the Internet qualifies as an IoT device.
Today’s Uses for IoT. With a growing number of devices and sensors, there are too many to list. Some current popular examples of IoT devices include:
- A thermostat, lightbulb, or appliance that can be programmed and controlled online (especially remotely)
- Tracking inventory and supplies
- Driverless automobiles/trucks
- Aeronautics industry using sensors to collect and transmit data
- Industrial automation for gathering analytical data and information
- A Fitbit or other smartwatch that observes and collects data
- A smart TV streaming your favorite programming that tracks your preferences
Gartner and other research companies predict well over 20 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020. As IoT solutions become increasingly popular, virtual assistants like Siri, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomeKit will be key components for users. Increased data from IoT technology may present some challenges. Just as data is getting easier to collect and will change the way companies do business, the means to process and store this data is a serious consideration.
While companies embrace new IT trends, particularly IoT technology and the capabilities it offers, data storage should be on the minds of IT leaders. Cloud technology is one of the best options if organizations want to be prepared for the advantages of advancing technologies. Prepare your company for the future. Migrate to a cloud-based solution and rely on safe, secure, and accurate data of any scale. RackCo offers cloud solutions to serve companies of nearly any scale in most industries.