Back at the start of the decade, watches you could talk to and fingerprint recognition devices were reserved strictly for spy movies. Six years later, Touch ID technology and smart watches are a part of everyday life. So, what can we expect from 2016?
Although we’re all still holding out for the long-awaited hoverboard, there are plenty of exciting digital developments on the horizon. To give you a flavour of the innovations we think are just around the corner, we spoke to our Digital Team to find out their predictions for the year ahead.
Helen Walsh, our Head of Digital Marketing, believes wearable technology is going to make a breakthrough this year.
“It will all be about wearable technology and trying to crack the right solution that increases adoption.”
Aside from watches, there are numerous wearable devices just about to hit the market. Fever Scout, a wearable thermometer which allows you to track your child’s temperature in real time by sending updates to your mobile, is due to become available in the US early this year.
Moving to the more unusual end of the spectrum, PhD student, Nan Zhao has developed a wearable lighting device which changes colour to reflect your mood, movement levels and the weather. The designer describes her device, Halo, as “kind of like an Instagram filter”, letting the user choose the lighting on their face. We’re not entirely convinced that wearing a hoop will catch on, but then again, they said that about the mobile.
Probably one of the most exciting digital advances of the decade, our Digital Programme Manager, Alex Huyton is predicting that this year, holograms might become a part of day-to-day business.
“Technology’s going to have to go even further to make collaboration even easier and I’m thinking more holograms.”
What’s even more exciting, is Alex might actually be right. With Microsoft unveiling its wireless, HoloLens headset last year, the prospect of mainstream use of holograms is at our fingertips. The HoloLens headset takes the 2D digital graphics out of a flat computer screen and brings them to life in 3D before your eyes. It also has an inbuilt camera to track the user’s hands so they can interact with the holographic images. The possibilities for businesses are virtually endless, with vast potential for gamification and digital designers.
Big corporations such as Volvo are already using the technology for design and innovation, so it shouldn’t be long before it’s filtered down to consumer use. NASA have even used the technology to help them work on Mars, allowing them to virtually walk on the planet’s surface and enabling them to learn faster than ever before.
Already a common feature at music festivals and sporting events, our Head of IT for Digital, Colville Wood, predicts drones will start to serve a more practical purpose in 2016.
“In the wider economy, I think drones are going to be part of normal life for services such as delivery, monitoring and reporting.”
There’s no denying that drones have endless functional possibilities. One of the latest advances in drone technology is Lily, the selfie drone that has already received 60,000 pre-orders, worth $34 million.
After you throw Lily into the air, the drone automatically starts filming you while recording in full HD (1080p) at 60 frames per second. The device can also take 12-megapixel photos, has a small tracking device you can carry so there’s no need for a controller and it’s even waterproof. With little competition in the selfie drone market, Lily is set to take off this summer.
Mainstream use of Bitcoin
Our Digital Director, Shilpa Lindley, has tipped the use of Bitcoin to be the big digital breakthrough of 2016.
“I think Bitcoin will become mainstream and regular banks will start to offer Bitcoin Savings accounts.”
Bitcoin, a new type of digital currency, is already starting to be accepted by numerous companies, including the likes of Amazon, Subway and Microsoft. Once you’ve installed a Bitcoin wallet on your digital device, you’ll receive a Bitcoin address. You can then use that address to make transactions which are tracked and verified using a mathematical based algorithm. Watch this video for an interesting perspective on how Bitcoins might fit into the global economy.
Customer Service Robots
Our Data Analytics and SEO Manager, Lee Hoosein, predicts that 2016 might be the year we see some of our customer service roles be done by robots.
“Robots will eventually take over customer service jobs, such as hotel reception and fast-food service. In fact, one has cropped up in a department store in Tokyo!”
Despite customer service robots sounding more science fiction than shopping assistant, the robot takeover could happen sooner than you think, with Toshiba leading the way with life-like robots. The humanoid who was working in the Tokyo department store was repeatedly mistaken for a human. An incredible digital advancement or too close for comfort? Decide for yourself.
The digital outlook for 2016 is certainly promising, and with many of the technologies already tried and tested, it won’t be long before we get our hands on them. So, whether or not you’re eagerly anticipating drone deliveries and robot receptionists, we’d better all start getting ready for them, because it looks like these digital developments are only just around the corner. Caroline Austen, our Head of Digital Experience, predicts floating, time travelling cars. We’re not too sure about that one…
What are your digital predictions for 2016? Share them with us via social media.
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