Technology Trends Happening Now

Friday, August 17, 2012

Advances in technology over the past several years have been staggering in both number and popularity, and they are not about to stop anytime soon. Touching on everything that’s going on in the world of high-tech would take volumes; here are just a few of the hottest trends sweeping Canada and much of the world today:

Google Glasses - Google Glasses are Internet-connected “reality glasses” designed to help users access, and in some cases store, information about their surroundings.  A camera, speaker, microphone, tiny screen, wireless communication and multiple sensors are built in to capture pictures and video, map routes and perform a variety of additional functions.  Still in their prototype phase, these “wearable computers” will become available to select software developers in 2013 at $1,500 a pair.  They are months, possibly years, from being marketed to the public.

Apps Galore - Keeping up with all of the apps available for smart phones is a full-time job and then some.  IT World Canada says these apps will continue to evolve quickly as touch, gesture and voice search change the way apps work.  Expect more than 70 billion mobile-app downloads from app stores annually beginning in 2014. Latest to hit the market include apps that use facial recognition to unlock smartphones, an app from the Toronto Police and Crime Stoppers that enables users to anonymously report crimes (including sharing photos and videos of the act) and an app called Fragile Earth, which shows before-and-after photos of places in the world being affected by climate change.

Cloud Computing - Canadian firms are lagging behind in the global shift toward cloud computing, the technology that enables users to access applications and storage through the Internet rather than a local server.  The benefits of using cloud computing can include cost savings, higher productivity and enhanced customer service, yet a study by IDC Canada revealed that 71% of Canadian companies refuse to make the shift, either because they are unfamiliar with the technology or they fear security risks. Still, the worldwide trend is expected to continue gaining momentum as more private/public cloud apps are developed and security and governance measures are strengthened.

Media Tablets - As bring-your-own-technology gains momentum, so do tablets. IT World Canada says that tablet usage is growing quickly, with shipments expected to climb to about 50% of laptop shipments by 2015. In fact, tablet us age in Canada is 3.5 times higher than last spring, with 21% of respondents to a survey conducted by CBC/Radio-Canada's Media Technology Monitor in March/April 2012 stating they own a tablet. Of those, 62% use the Apple iPad and 20% Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook.

Mobile TV Watching - The same survey revealed a strong upward trend in online video and mobile TV viewing, with fully 71% of respondents reporting they had watched an online video within the past month, about 20% reporting having watched a full-length television episode online and 19% a feature film. About 19% said their TV is connected to the Internet – that’s more than twice the number of respondents who reported a TV-Internet connection one year prior.  Five percent of respondents said they watch TV on their tablets (about 21% of all tablet users), and another 5% on their smartphones.

Blu-ray Players - In spite of the increase in watching streaming videos, TV shows and feature films, an increasing number of Canadian homes – 34% – now have Blu-ray players, says the CBC/Radio-Canada's Media Technology Monitor study. That’s a 20% increase over the previous six months. 3D technology isn’t quite as hot: In fact, only 4% of survey respondents said they own a 3D compatible TV set.

 

Sources: Canada.com (Postmedia Network Inc.), The Canadian Press, IT World Canada, Mashable, USA Today, The Vancouver Sun, The Washington Post