The Incredible Shrinking Technology
Apr 24, 2014 7:09 AM PT
We are constantly moving. From a morning meeting to a lunch date to an afternoon conference call, we are always on the go and so are our technology devices. They are with us every step of the way, acting as our personal assistants, communicators and life-savers.
As we progress closer to a world where HUVr boards aren't a hoax and technology no longer fits in the palm of your hand but on a node in your brain, one trend is apparent: We are shifting from using static, desktop devices to portable devices in order to accommodate our lightspeed lifestyle.
In the ever-evolving technology landscape, we are beginning to witness the next wave of embedded and portable technology -- a complex focus that might very well send the static device, like the desktop, to its grave. Wearable devices do it all, and they are being adopted at a rapid pace because of the ability of portable to integrate and interact with the human body.
While this fairly new feature becomes more essential in any portable device, there are several others that allow us to see pretty clearly the switch from static to portable technology.
Size Does Matter
Consumers need to be able to take their devices with them whereever they go, which is why the size of the device matters significantly. Tech devices that are miniaturized are all the rage and have been for quite some time. We see devices get smaller and smaller hardware-wise, yet faster and faster software-wise. In keeping with this trend, we see that static devices like the desktop and television don't necessarily fit this mini mold.
Technologists are supplementing bulky hardware for quicker software, utilizing technologies like 6LowPAN (low-powered IP sensors), which enable devices to function a long time off one battery charge, often for several years. This is important, because for embedded devices used in the medical field, 6LowPAN is essential to ensure that patients won't be put at risk because of a dead battery.
As devices continue to get smaller and more powerful, these seemingly insignificant innovations have a substantial impact on the application of tiny technologies in real world, mission-critical scenarios.
Another trend that has consumers moving away from fixed to portable devices includes prediction. After all, the whole instantaneous information thing is becoming kind of passé; immediate information just isn't fast enough anymore.
At our current rate of technical innovation, the speed of information transfer is infinitesimal, meaning there's always room for improvement. Enter predictive technology -- the latest and greatest in portable devices.
Devices today are wired to learn users' habits over time and adjust accordingly. The plethora of smart cars with intuitive GPS is one such example. Consumers desire devices that think for them and make their lives easier. Whether you want to avoid traffic accidents with or learn about changes in the stock market before the rest of the world does, portable devices are no longer living in the present time, but helping us plan and prepare for the future.
We want smaller, faster and more sophisticated thinking portable devices -- and we want them to be transformative. Who needs to talk on the phone when we can throw on a smartwatch or pair of smart glasses to do so?
Technologies on the market today integrate with the items we already use on a daily basis (glasses, watches and rings) in order to enrich the human experience and on-the-go lifestyle. Consumers seek a fluid way to access everything they need to know without friction and the bulkiness of hardware -- which is why static devices aren't necessarily the best fit for today's demanding consumer.
The next logical progression goes one step further beyond rings and glasses, to implanted microchips and processors. It seems like a page out of a sci-fi novel right now, and most consumers aren't quite ready for that level of invasiveness. However, as wearable technologies go from convenient to bulky, and users become thirsty for even tinier tech, what we now consider science fiction will become reality.
Through the adoption of these trends, consumers will be able to get information without having to stray too far from their normal face-to-face communication. With embedded portable devices, opportunities to access information anywhere, anytime are infinite. This technology change is already under way, though consumers can expect the pace of the transition to accelerate considerably over the next five years.
Static devices like desktops simply are not capable of meeting consumers' demands to communicate on a more personal level, fit in our pocket, predict circumstances automatically, or transform into wearable fashion. We also can look forward to new portable tech innovations created for the greater good, to assist individuals with disabilities, aid the elderly, monitor and control bodily functions, and much, much more.
We already are seeing the medical industry making a big transition over to embedded technology. As these devices become more acceptable and less sci-fi to most people, the awkwardness will go away, and it will become more available to the general public. Meanwhile, we will continue to see decreasing need for static devices like desktop and even laptop computers.