We spoke with University of Central Florida professor Dan Novatnak, who has been working across the technology industry since he was 16 years old, about what he believed will be the biggest trends in the coming year.
1 Instant Access to Products
There have been several apps to tackle the delivery game, but consumer giant Amazon is the big player who might be able to push it to the mainstream.
“Two hours. I made an order for a product, it was delivered to my door, by a human being, within two hours,” Novatnak said about using the Amazon Prime Now service.
Other companies are also shifting to include delivery options to their standard service like Uber, which launched Uber Eats in November of this year.
2. Voice Control
Novatnak says the way we interface with our smart devices will continue to change from screen base to a conversational interface as companies develop more functionality into their personal assistant software.
Google Now, Siri and Cortana all come standard in their respective phones and smart watches, and Microsoft even includes Cortana as a base feature in its Windows 10 operating system. When talking about Amazon’s Alexa, Novatnak yelled, “Shut up. I wasn’t talking to you,” noting it could be hard to talk about these when around them.
3. Virtual Reality
Though many headsets launched in 2016, 2017 could be the year the devices hit a critical mass to make the turn from tech-niche to normal.
The biggest drawback for now is cost, giving them a large barrier to entry, but manufacturing costs for tech always comes down over time.
Microsoft also announced a cheap $300 headset on Windows computers for a 2017 release and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg said they hope to eventually make headsets that look as normal as a pair of glasses at the 2016 F8 Conference. Though that second might be a ways down the road, it represents the company’s commitment to the technology.
4. Smart Homes
This year, Apple announced its Apple HomeKit app, which will allow users to control locks, air conditioning, cameras, shades, garage doors, fans and more from their phone or tablet screen, provided those items are connected with compatible accessories. While away on a business trip, Novatnak was able to turn his home’s lights on and off from miles away.
There have also been a lot of horses in the smart home race so far, he said, but with companies like Apple of Amazon, there are big names to rally behind and push the market forward.
5. Radio Falling Behind
All you need is blue tooth and a data plan, Novatnak said, and you can listen to whatever you want.
There has been a shift from car manufacturers to include a number of ways to connect smart devices to the audio system in new car models, and between thousands of specialized podcasts, streaming services like Spotify and phone data plans getting cheaper, there has never been so many reasons not to tune into the radio.
While 2017 probably won’t be the year radio dies, there could be a sharp drop in people tuning in across the board.