2016 Technology Predictions

One of the many special things about working at SMART is having continuous access to some of the most imaginative and brilliant engineers and designers. They’re not just thinking about what’s possible – they’re busy making it happen. So we asked our tech experts, the ones who have their fingers on the pulse of what’s possible, about their 2016 technology predictions.

We’ll Shape Technology Rather Than Let It Shape Us

Warren Barkley, Chief Technology Officer, says that the upcoming year will continue to emphasize “experience over devices.” It’s more than just being device-agnostic, he says, but that’s at the foundation of designing and creating better experiences. This year, notice that everything talks to each other and we can talk to it, regardless of operating system or device. As we look forward, notice too how our lives are shaping technology instead of the other way around.

The Future of Work Is Here and Everywhere

As more and more employees work in remote (or distributed) teams, finding the best people for the job and letting them do their best work is where it’s at in 2016 and beyond. Dozens of companies are already 100 percent virtual, and we’ll see more and more go that route. And let’s not forget about crowd-sourcing. Going hand-in-hand with this trend will be the greater reliance on collaborative technologies to keep people connected.

We’re a workforce on the move, for sure, believes Jim Eanes, Senior Software Test Developer. Forget the non-productive commute, too. Eanes calls 2016 the “Year of the Self-Driving Vehicle.” The first cars and buses on the road will drive themselves, which will allow “car attendants” to perform other activities. In the future, there might even be a “kapp-to-Go” line of products that are easy to transport to remote office locations and use in new driverless cars since occupants will no longer need to be watching the road – making for the most productive commutes – and workspaces – ever.

Technology Enables a Dream Hundreds of Years Old

From project-based learning to gamification, and co-creation to collaboration, students will have access to some of the greatest and most venerable institutions in the world. Thanks to big strides in education technology, Hugh Teegan, Director of Software Architecture, foresees a year in which migration of higher education to the virtual world will become a stampede.

He explains: “Backed by first-class (pun intended) content and augmented by social networks, simple mobile apps will replace the physical presence at some of the most dignified institutions of higher learning.” It will allow universities to “return to their original intent as institutions of learning rather than places of learning.”

A Little Far-Fetched? Or Is It?

Over the years, we’ve read – and been pretty excited – about predictions around Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and wearable technologies. So perhaps this is the year when Oculus Rift or Google Glass will become generally available and 3D printed prosthetics look and behave like the real thing. That’s what Michael Trupiano, Design Engineer, anticipates. He predicts a host of breakthroughs that will happen in the upcoming year like Quantum Dot displays gaining mainstream attention, the Internet of Things growing stealthily but we won’t realize it, and we might just see flying cars.

Outlandish? A little crazy? Well, there used to be a time when no one would have predicted the demise of blurry whiteboard photos – and now look at where we are.

In 2016, we’ll continue to rush forward, making more connections and doing more with the technology we have. We’ll also make way for other technologies and possibilities so that work and learning are even more natural and more accessible from anywhere, anytime. From dreams of self-driving cars to the literal rise of hover crafts, we can only think this is just the beginning of some very magical and beautiful things to come.

Kristel Gibson
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About Kristel Gibson

Kristel Gibson is the social media content manager. She’s been studying and responding to the social trends of the “intertubes” for the last eight years. She lives in Seattle with her family.

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