As the new year gets underway, we inevitably turn our attention to the upcoming technologies in this imminent futurescape. 2019 will showcase more innovation than ever, with the newest technology set to make us more efficient, healthier and give us a higher degree of control.
Here are 2019’s most alluring technological advances:
When we talk about tech, smartphones tend to spring to mind, with ostentatious launch conferences often making front page news. But we haven’t seen a true disruption in the look and design of smartphones over the last few years, instead seeing the same trends endure and evolve; screen size has remained consistently large and the profile has broadly remained slimline and sleek.
Following these few years of inertia, this now-quotidian tech is set to be disrupted by a brand-new design format – foldable screens. The flip phones of the nineties and noughties these are not. This is a cutting-edge flexible display, that transforms your smartphone into a tablet and back again, making it the perfect device for moving between multiple purposes.
Patents have been filed in increasing number, but 2019 is scheduled to be the year of a few big releases in the foldable phone arena.
From devices that rarely seem to leave your grasp to those you need not pay the slightest bit of notice, autonomous devices are set to become ubiquitous in 2019. The contentious idea of autonomous vehicle technology – driverless cars on the roads – may still be being tested (albeit in the advanced stages), but some home devices are available to be operational without your input.
This sort of tech is perfect if you’re short on time but exacting on standards. If your vacuum cleaner can get on with cleaning your home, often using infrared technology and/or sensors to ensure it does a thorough job without colliding with any of your belongings, you regain that hour or so to do as you please.
Evolution of the smart home
The technologies within the smart home will evolve by adding to the fulfilment of immediate functions (i.e. those of security or heating control), with more tertiary uses, such as appliance diagnostics and energy conservation.
While this may not feel as handy as the immediacy of turning your heating on, streaming music or remotely setting a home alarm, this is one of those technology trends that could make a quiet but profound impact on your life. A washing machine breakdown could be quickly (if not instantly) rectified with smart diagnostics, to help you identify not only the cause but also the fix, speedily getting your day back on track.
The e-bike revolution
Outside of the home, innovators have their eye on how we’re getting around, as e-bikes and micro vehicles are set to make a rise.
Urban transport has long needed a facelift, and the challenge has always been to stop people from defaulting to the convenience (but ultimate environmental harm) of the car. Good placemaking now includes public transport infrastructure right from the concept stages (for example, Kirkstall Forge has a purpose-built on-site railway station, connecting it to the city of Leeds in just six minutes). An expedient local transport network with good services could do the trick, but not everywhere can backfill the infrastructure to offer this simple solution. Shared bikes or scooters could be the key. Both are equally as convenient as public transport and have a minimal carbon footprint.
Industry indicators are showing increasing confidence in e-bikes, despite having “not been an entirely smooth ride” thus far. For example, Uber purchased San Francisco-based bike-sharing service JUMP for an estimated $200million. It’s fair to say that as investment increases, companies iterate, and technology improves, the concept will become more viable and this latest technology trend will become more widely adopted.
This has been on the horizon for a while now, but hasn’t yet made the anticipated jump into every living room. However, as smart assistants infiltrate both our phones and our homes, consumers will become increasingly used to using voice commands by default. Individual uses may seem gimmicky, but the time savings will add up incrementally, and certain applications – such as cooking – really lend themselves to this hands-free convenience. According to research, 50 per cent of Google searches will be done by voice by 2020, so get ahead of the curve with some voice recognition tech.
As industrial adoption continues at a rate of knots and the technology reaches an accessible pricepoint for consumers (as well as a sufficiently compact design becoming available), we’ll see a broader uptake of this disruptive technology. Imagine a world where you can print off spares or parts for instant repairs on your home appliances and devices. This may be one that continues to slowly permeate the consumer market.
Rate of change
Some of these seemingly small tech trends – from the way you interact with your phone to the way you clean your floor – will continue to support our quest for a more efficient lifestyle. Early adopters, or those staying ahead of the curve, can help to continually shape how these technologies fit into our lives. Given the exponential rate of change in the technology sector, we’ll have our eyes on additional technological trends come spring, so get on board early while you’ve got the chance!