constantly read a variety of Web sites and subscribe to various organisations
to try and stay in touch with where the technological world is heading and I
see new products every day. Some of them I shake my head at wonder how they
received financial backers – and they end up selling millions. Others I think
are going to be huge hits – and I never hear about them again. What seems to be
common amongst many of the products is that they are solving problems that we
didn’t know existed – but once solved we wonder how we ever did without them.

remember trips to Sydney when I was a kid. Mum and Dad would pull out a
Gregory’s (only a few years old) and Mum would sit in the passenger seat and
direct while Dad would navigate through the traffic. It seemed to work and we
got to where we were going. Now of course we have Mum’s voice replaced with a
customisable accented male/female that never gets angry and never gives lip
all-knowing all-seeing voice of satellite navigation from our car or device or
phone. An absolutely wonderful solution – but we didn’t know we had a problem
before the first devices were available.

we didn’t know we needed access to our e-mail at all hours of the day from a
device we carry in our hand – in fact at one stage we didn’t know we needed
e-mail. When e-mail started we still thought facsimile machines were pretty
cool – which replaced snail-mail which, at the time, seemed quite adequate.

we look at the products we use today, it is hard to remember a time before we
had those products and our lives have hopefully changed for the better as a
result. There are some people who tell me they don’t like change – yet they use
a mobile; a TV remote; a keyless entry car; a microwave; and the list goes on.
“Change is the only constant in life” is a well-used quote. It is not
originally from one of the visionary tech geniuses of our modern day but in
fact a quote from Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher who lived around 500 B.C.

I do look at some of the products that are appearing today, I see incredible
variety. The path to market for these products is relatively simple in our
modern connected world so it actually creates more innovation and smaller
organisations, who are often more agile, are able to dream up ideas.

products coming (or possibly even available now), consider some of these items.
Wireless earphones as small as hearing aids that are waterproof and have hours of
listening time; transparent glass Bluetooth keyboards to use with PCs or
tablets; Augmented and Virtual Reality headsets; drones with robotic arms to
carry out a variety of tasks remotely (not sure if they can carry a beer from
the fridge to the lounge room but no doubt someone is working on that); we have
all heard of self-driving cars but of greater importance will be the
self-driving shopping trolleys that are currently under development; facial
recognition to determine if students are paying attention; the next revision of
connected homes; medical testing from your smartphone and so many more ideas.
To top it off, many of the gadgets you see advertised will not just be bought
online and then shipped to you but you may just buy the design online and the
‘blueprint’ will be sent to the 3D printer in your house to create the device
you just ordered.

world of technology is exciting and constantly changing – but really that is
just the world. Keep an eye out for some of these products and try and predict
the ones that will be big hits and the ones that we will never see again. It is
very difficult to make meaningful and specific tech predictions a year in
advance. Imagine what we might see in the next five or ten!

Mathew Dickerson

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