Tech Trends proclaims 10 predictions


Technology entrepreneur Keith Brophy delivers his vision at the Tech Trends event at The B.O.B. Photo by Mike Nichols

If the business community doesn’t prepare for future technologies, it’s going to get “Bieber-ed” just like Garth Brooks did.

That’s the warning Keith Brophy, CEO of Grand Rapids-based technology firm Ideomed, offered the audience at the 13th annual Tech Trends event yesterday, hosted by aimWest at The B.O.B. in Grand Rapids.

Brophy, who's been a popular speaker at the event over the years, used Brooks, one of the world’s bestselling country singers, as an example of an artist who's famously shunned using newer technology like iTunes, YouTube, Twitter and other digital media to promote his music.

But while Brooks was expressing his disinterest in new media, the career of a young Canadian pop star named Justin Bieber was skyrocketing, thanks to his embrace of such technologies. Now, Bieber’s celebrity influence far outshadows that of Brooks.

In short, Brooks got passed by, because he put his head in the sand when it came to new technology, Brophy said. 

When it comes to predicting future technology trends, Brophy said users should realize that Moore’s Law is becoming a reality, which means technology is becoming far more interactive as computer chips are practically sprinkled over all parts of society.

“Moore’s Law states that processing power — chip capability — basically will double in power every 18 months, year after year, decade after decade,” Brophy said. “When you think about doubling again and again, that makes for phenomenal exponential improvements.”

As usual, Brophy also presented his top 10 technology predictions.

1. Digital eyewear spreads

“Google Glass slowly gains acceptance in specialty scenarios, but what they’re really doing is paving the way for the acceptance of smart contacts. This, in turn, spreads wide adoption of implanted display lenses. Within 10 years, 5 percent of the country uses digital glasses or lenses.”

2. Haptic touch increases in digital devices

“Haptic touch has arrived. The devices are going to become mainstream. It’ll take a while yet, but the ‘ka-pow’ factor is there. The clues show this is falling into place. What it means to interact with a device will shift. . . . Interactive objects that we touch in the field, even though they don’t exist in front of us, will become commonplace. In 10 years, 30 percent of us will interact with haptic touch devices every day.”

3. Use of business-related drones will increase, as will the regulations for them

“Businesses are going to continue to push the boundaries, adding pressure to the FAA on its multi-year test initiative. Nano drones, tiny drones, are unstoppable. Chaos and noise sparks attention of presidential candidates. A national local drone registry in the cloud is the obvious approach that will emerge to coordinate safety analytics, give light traffic control regionally and even black box-type augmentation. In 10 years, not one of us will go about our day without seeing a drone or multiple drones going about their business.”

4. Brain-optimization lifestyles become more common

“Many forms of software-driven brain training emerge, emphasizing everything from high focus to memory retention. Multi-brain training designs start to become built in and standard in entertainment, education and software appliances. In 10 years, the majority of us are engaging in some form of software-guided brain exercises daily. They might even be so subtle that they’re built into our experiences, we might not even realize them — take on the role of fitness in our society.”

5. Secret web businesses will flourish as everyone begins using deep web more

“Shadowy corners of the deep, dark web are going to evolve into increasingly credible and secure substances. They’ll largely be non-domestic (so the data is not scooped) . . . and they’ll be related to services offered by major businesses entities for these deeper, credible webs. In the next 10 years, 20 percent of the domestic Internet users will have some interaction with the more tightly segmented web. Interactions on the ‘normal web’ will simply be accepted by everybody as inherently not secure and always surreptitiously tracked, whether by governments or companies or hackers.”

6. Global social media emerges, displacing current social media platforms

“Today’s dominant social media outlets are supplanted over the next 10 years by new specialized sites that are not the leaders today, as well as giant sites across the globe that extend their reach to us. Sites start to compete very aggressively for allegiances.”

7. Bitcoins spark digital currency boom

“The use of global digital currency will become commonplace, with 25 percent of us using it in some way or another in 10 years. This also accelerates governmental-backed digital currencies into existence.”

8. Wearable personal-safety monitors become practical

“Security monitors are hidden, laden with sensors and use cloud technology to surround us with protection and a deterrent of evidence. Eventually, security drones become part of the solution as well. In 10 years, 20 percent of us will wear some form of a wearable-safety device on occasion.”

9. Data gathering will be done with more wearable devices

“Quantified self, this collection of everything . . . finally becomes clearer for individuals, measuring their lives with a growing variety of wearable devices. Watch for location sensors in walls, data supplements, wearable data and our advisors in the cloud will interpret it all for us based on our specialized needs. This approach is definitely not for everybody . . . but there’s a whole generation . . . that’s interested in technologies of this kind of feedback. It provides clear physical and emotional health benefits for those who do embrace it. In 10 years, 15 percent of the population makes use of such systems.”

10. Connected implanted chips are more common

“We’ve reached the age of implanted health monitoring. A secure cloud gives a connection point, and it’s going to become increasingly attractive for the exploding demographic in our nation of baby-booming seniors who want to have quality of life as they age, and also because these solutions are becoming so much more sophisticated and less intrusive. In 10 years, 12 percent of seniors will have implanted devices of various types. And this will become the new norm. Ten years after that, 75 percent will have implanted devices.”

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