Technology Trends

Key tech trends include wearable computing, contextual apps, big data and maturation of social networks.


Futurologist Robert Scoble has predicted four major tech trends – wearable computing (see my previous posts here), contextual apps, Big Data (see previous posts here), and social network maturation.


future (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)


While these trends will surely change commerce practice in the coming years, the nexus of these trends will be immensely disruptive. Think convergence – contextual apps on wearable computers that provide services based on real-time analysis of social and location data, delivered via omnipresent wireless internet access.


Wearable computing: Think Google Glasses or Motorola Solutions’ new HC1 headset computer that you attach to your head and operate with voice commands

The “open world”: Android’s relative openness has encouraged “contextual apps” to emerge from the woodwork. “Apple doesn’t let them [developers] talk to the WiFi radio or bluetooth radio,” said Scoble.

Weird databases and the rise of “big data”: “We are seeing weird databases spring up like mushrooms,” said Scoble. These include NoSQL, Firebase, and MongoDB.

The maturation of social networks: The leading social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are accumulating a massive store of user-generated data. What will they do with it?



Google’s Project Glass

Google has posted a video about Project Glass – a concept technology that enables a heads-up display through a pair of wearable glasses. Termed Google Glasses by some, this product will enable users to access Google’s growing basket of services through a combination of voice and gesture commands.  This product, which is rumored to hit the market by the end of the year (plausibly in a less finessed form?) and is being tested in the wild, will provide augmented reality displays by pulling data from Google Search, Maps, and Plus, and also have calendar, contact book, music player, and video conferencing capabilities. Images of the glasses show a rather minimalistic design, thus it is possible that the glasses will connect to a base station (an Android phone perhaps?) via bluetooth for memory storage, GPS, phone and internet access capabilities.

Microsoft’s demonstrates wearable system with multi-touch capability

Remember SixthSense, the

wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information

which was introduced to an awestruck audience at TED 2009? Microsoft Research has recently demonstrated Wearable Multitouch Interaction, a

depth-sensing and projection system that enables interactive multitouch applications on everyday surfaces.

Built on similar lines using a Kinect sensor and pico projector, this device enables any surface to become a multi-touch, gesture-sensitive input device, while also having potential augmentation capabilities. The device does not require any calibration or guidance markers, such as finger covers, to be worn by the user. The system builds upon earlier showcased technologies, such as OmniTouch. While the system is currently hooked up to a computer, it portends wearable computers of tomorrow.

See the original SixthSense video below:

Read more at Microsoft Research’s shoulder mounted system makes anything a multitouch display — Engadget and see the original video and description here.

The next step towards wearable + mobile computers

A wearable, multitouch, mobile interaction system, christened ‘OmniTouch’ has been developed by researchers from Microsoft and a Ph.D. student from CMU. This system allows the user to interact with a screen projected onto any and multiple surfaces.

Read more herehere and here.