The drone and robotic economy is here to stay.
It is no longer a question of if drones and robots will be available to individuals but when they will be. "The Jetsons’ integrated home and those types of products are becoming a reality now," says Kapur.
Autonomous drones and programmable robots will come in all shapes and sizes for many varied purposes over the next five to 10 years. For example, AirDog, a personal drone, tracks via a wireless network an adventurer’s movements while snowboarding, rock climbing, etc. and snaps photographs along the way. Another product, the 360fly works similar to a GoPro, except that this action camera takes all the 360-degree pictures desired. Advances are also being made in artificial intelligence and assistants like the Segway Personal Robot that may someday surpass the live versions.
There’s a lot of promise in virtual reality.
Although virtual reality has a lot of potential, the technology is not quite there yet. Kapur believes it is at the developmental stage 3D TV and imaging was at five years ago, but that it will continue to improve every 15 to 18 months.
"I worry if virtual reality won’t take off in the home, much like 3D didn’t, but I can see applications for it in the medical and the business-to-business fields."
Imagine how useful it will be for, say, a surgeon in Berlin to virtually attend and consult on an operation in Los Angeles. Virtual reality gaming is another trend many companies are banking on; however, it still makes users dizzy and nauseated, which may deter potential gamers. Considering how much Facebook invested in Oculus for its Rift headset, many techies believe that after a few more years of experimentation and technological advances, virtual reality will indeed become a mainstay in the future.
The television is disappearing on the wall soon.
That sci-fi Star Trek dream of rolling up a screen or having it magically disappear is getting a little closer to reality. LG created the 4K OLED TV, just a few millimeters thick, almost like wallpaper, with performance capabilities as good as anything else on the market today.
"Imagine having wallpaper that you can program from your phone to wake you up with the sounds of Malibu beach," says Kapur. "It’s just amazing what the OLED technology is going to do for the future and how that’s going to change people’s lives and the types of experiences they can have."
Wearable technology is getting more purposeful.
The wearable space is beginning to craft gear that is not only easier to use but also essential for healthier living. Wearable technology is going beyond the smart watches and fitness trackers like Fitbit and appearing on everything from clothing to yoga mats.
The emerging wearable fitness and health technology is particularly noteworthy because it promises to change how we exercise and communicate, and “is designed to keep people healthier,” says Kapur.
Digitsole, for example, has basically embedded technology that charges wirelessly directly into the shoe so you can measure your footsteps and shock absorption and heat up your feet all at the same time.
Sensors are at the core of future innovations.
CES predicts the market for sensor technology will reach $6.5 billion in 2018 but it is no longer relegated to the wrist. Many of the future innovations rely on sensors to provide faster, easier solutions to everyday problems.
DietSensor, for example, launched a pocket-sized sensor, SCiO, that can scan the food on a plate and send the nutrition and calorie data directly to the corresponding app, eliminating the need to manually input information. Expect the sensor economy to grow on the consumer as well as the business-to-business side.
The new car that could all by itself.
The way people get around will continue to change with the development of connected vehicles and autonomous cars. It is likely that in the next seven to 10 years the need for a driver’s license will not exist.
Imagine the next generation sending emails or texting or making calls while an autonomous car safely takes them to work, scary today but real in the coming years. The advances in the pedestrian detect and collision avoidance technologies are particularly worth watching.
"It will cut down on the volume of traffic accidents, which in turn will cause car insurance rates and the number of emergency room visits to drop," says Kapur. "And as a result, productivity and efficiency will rise."
Data prediction is the next big business.
"The business to go into is the big data, business intelligence, predictive analytics business," says Kapur. "All of that information from connected devices, like the thermostats and the wearable technology to the cars and sensors is all going up into the cloud."
With the accumulation of data, companies will need to begin to interpret the data to improve quality and to predict what’s going to happen next. August, a vendor of smart locks with video cameras, door usage data as well as video analytics that can be used, for example, to predict when solicitors are most likely to visit.
"There’s an old saying in business, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it," says Kapur. "Now there are tools out there so you can measure it."
The emergence of even more precise data will most likely impact the organizational structure of businesses as well, causing IT and marketing departments to merge in an effort to provide more exceptional customer experience and efficient businesses.
As new technological innovations continue to transform society, companies will need to become educated on how to begin to translate the steady stream of data feedback into creating products and services that better suit the lives of their customers.