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TOP 5 TECH PREDICTIONS FOR 2016

2015 has gone by in an absolute whirlwind of innovation and development from the tech world. Nearly every conceivable industry has enjoyed some shake-up from new technologies,from personal gadgets to the corporate world. After taking it all in, Ensil has narrowed down our top five tech predictions for what we might see in the upcoming 2016 year.

VIRTUAL REALITY AND AUGMENTED REALITY

Virtual reality in 2015 became an accessible, relatable technology in both consumer and industrial sectors. Immersive VR worlds have been opened for personal entertainment, education, and media consumption. As well, augmented reality is showing its potential with its computer vision, haptic sensors and object recognition for high-level training purposes – doctors are able to rehearse complicated surgical scenarios, and soldiers are able to view scaled-down live action AR maneuvers and operations from a distance. While we predict medical and military AR and VR usage will be kept under strict lock-and-key, we believe it won’t be long until advertisers find a way to monetize VR environments that are meant for casual enjoyment. As consoles and devices become more affordable and usage becomes more widespread, 2016 will see a flush of new tech companies offering VR platforms for users. Following the “freemium” models of many software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, VR startups may be able to offer their services free to users and gain their revenue from selling VR ad space.

PERSONAL DRONES

The battle over drones will not slow in 2016, especially as their camera equipment becomes lighter and their flight times are extended. Privacy concerns will clash with personal property concerns as we certainly have not have seen the end of the purposeful destruction of drones. Airspace regulations and private property laws will need to be looked at, evaluated, and re-presented in very plain language for drone owners and those concerned about their personal property and privacy rights. Perhaps we will even see things become over-simplified, and have drone fliers restricted to large lots of private property or designated drone areas. Hand in hand with changes of this nature are changes in insurance policies, and specialty insurance for drones.

SENSORS, THE INTERNET OF THINGS, AND BIG DATA

Technology is everywhere. Your phones, cars, hospitals, schools and more are all becoming increasingly more high-tech, which means there are sensors in technology and devices everywhere. These sensors do more than activate and control the tech they serve – they monitor, collect, and report streams upon streams of data. This data is helping everyone, from the individual to large organizations, adapt behaviour and prioritize decision-making. For instance, agricultural technology is giving farmers more real-time control over their crop health while wearables offer consumers insight into their heart rates, step counts, and sleep cycles. We predict that this kind of real-time management is going to continue to expand into more complex systems, and offer major efficiency boosts to municipal city management (like traffic control, waste management) and industrial manufacturing (better prediction of demand and better control over production runs).

STEM EDUCATION AND CODING

Coding and engineering skills are quickly becoming core competencies for many job positions. This year, we’ve seen a major spotlight shift onto code literacy, and with so many DIY tech projects and how-to guides out there, children are being introduced to the mechanics behind technology earlier and earlier. With industry heavyweights like Tim Cook (Apple) showing support for coding education initiatives, we believe 2016 will see much more widespread support for code-curriculum to be mandatory, even for young children. A push of this kind will also stimulate the startup world to show us their best educational tools and software, creating a variety of ways for children (and adults!) to learn.

3D PRINTING

This list would not be complete without mentioning 3D printing. This industry has gone through some of the biggest changes in the shortest amount of time we’ve ever seen. A particularly interesting sub-genre of 3D printing has been the advancement of printed metal components that are already being used in manufacturing machinery and aerospace applications. As these parts are developed and tested, we expect to see new universal standards set in place for 3D printed components and more and more facilities with on-site metal printers.

Multi-material printing

We predict that multi-material and colour 3D printing will become more sophisticated with smoother transitions. While we may see a surge in “clunkier” machines as this is refined, the overall quality of the finished product will show advancement before the hardware can be scaled to meet it.

Thank you for reading our blog this year. Keep reading into 2016 as Ensil continues to blog about electronics, tech, and engineering. Subscribe here to receive our newsletter & blog.

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