Ness Digital Engineering recently sponsored a very interesting event in Santa Clara, California called “Top 10 Tech Trends” hosted by Churchill Club. The venue, in its 19th year, featured tech savvy executives who were eager to understand the futuristic technologies that will shape our world. Top Venture Capitalists (VC) from the Silicon Valley made their predictions, while the audience participated by voting on each topic.
This year we had VC stalwarts from firms such as DFJ, KPCB, Canvas, Benchmark and GGV Capital discuss their predictions and how 10 specific tech trends are disrupting several Industries.
The Education industry has been disrupted by Coursera, Udacity and Khan Academy in terms of the distribution of content. In the future, IQ driven educational content will have mass production and digital netizens will not need to be in the classroom to understand the concepts (be it Physics or Math etc.). However- Emotional Quotient (EQ) is still complex and it will require human to human interaction. I agree and think we will see further disruption in this area. Technologies like Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR) will accelerate changes.
Three of the VC panelists brought up interesting discussions on solving the depletion of microbiomes in our body and how DNA sequencing can help humans fight any kind of epidemic. We as software professionals never give thought to some of these issues. For example: there is an effort across technologists to understand how can we make growing of food more affordable in all-weather seasons and significantly increase the outreach to every human on the planet so that no one goes hungry at any point of time! While we have scientists trying to solve these issues, it has seen significant acceleration because compute is now less cost prohibitive and scientists are able to crunch numbers at a much more affordable cost to carry our deeper research in these areas.
Steve Jurvetson, businessman and venture capitalist, brought up two very interesting views on intelligence in the edges/nodes and the next generation speech User Interface (UI). Let me first summarize intelligence in the edge devices. In the next five years, we will have more than 20 billion devices contributing to the generation of data. But what if some of these edge devices not only generate data for further analysis but they actually become intelligent by themselves to better handle the data? Sounds ambitious, isn’t it? In my opinion, this will be a reality in the next few years. Companies like GE, Cisco, Juniper and other appliance manufacturers are already harnessing innovation in the software/hardware to solve this interesting problem. Think if the tiny chip embedded in the fridge could alert your phone on how you fare on food consumption and when to order your next set of inventory? Similarly speech UI will see significant explosion in the next few years. Alexa and Google Home have already seen 200-500% growth in sales in the last couple of years. Children roughly aged 5-10 years will be the next generation consumers of such technologies and they are already hooked on these technologies. Over a period of time, these devices will get more conversational and will completely change the way we interact with our devices. Introducing these technologies will work wonders for older generation. It is a difficult problem to solve but in the next 10 years I see explosive growth in this area.
Finally, Hans Tung, GGV capital, spoke about problems which retailers are facing in terms of solving the utilization of their real estate. An increasing number of them are shutting down their stores as product discovery is not providing the same experience as online shopping. Retail pundits are scratching to solve issues for the best utilization of their assets (real estate in this case). To ensure consumers spend more time at stores, product discovery needs to be made easy and in-store experiences need to be similar to online. Technologies like AR/VR may address some of these issues, yet there is a lot which needs to be accomplished. We should not forget that in the next 10 years we will have another generation consuming technologies who are digital ‘netizens’. Even different than the millennials.
There were a few other ambitious ideas floating around – blockchain like disruption in finance, and the way government will change their policies. I think these thoughts are truly worth a look but we will see how these areas unfold and impact each one of us in the near future.
In conclusion, I will say we are truly at an inflection point where technology is becoming a norm in our lives. Technology is shaping our psychology, our behavior and how we interact in a society. Areas like Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, Internet-of-Things, Edge Computing etc. will become mainstream in the next 10 years. We will also see more innovation at the hardware level (we already are seeing the resurrection of FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) and GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) as the norm for intense computation). At some point each of these will see convergence of some sort.
It is a fascinating time. As a friend of mine summarizes, “25 years from now, humans will be pet to machines!” Do you agree?
At Ness, we are excited to help some of these technology companies through their radical evolution and our product engineering rigor helps some of these innovators market their products faster.
Below is the link to the YouTube video on the event hosted by Churchill Club: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31BbJYxd4MQ
Please do post your comments. I would love to hear different perspectives.