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Future Trends

  • What should we make of the fact that robots are now ‘self aware’?

    Three small and very innocent looking robots (called “Nao Bots”) were recently tasked with solving a slightly altered version of philosopher Luciano Floridi’s induction puzzle, “The King’s Wisemen”. The test set out to prove that robots could simulate self awareness by using the logical power of deduction… and one of them managed to solve it. The test took place at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and was conducted by Prof. Selmer Bringsjord, the Head of the Cognitive Science Department. It went as follows: The three robots were each given a hypothetical “pill” (a soft tap on the head). Two...

  • Meet SAM, the futuristic Lego-style tech building the next generation of thinkers

    Lego has been a part of childhoods since ever, the most simplistically designed blocks fitting together to form megastructures, movies and finding them in the dark when you have no shoes on. Good times. But using the principles behind these multicoloured building blocks, a London-based design consultancy hopes to build the next generation of thinkers. SAM Labs the independent startup behind the Internet of Thing's toolkits, has been working with Map a creative consultancy with a strategy-led approach to industrial design, packaging design and user experience design. Map joined forces with SAM Lab's software team to further develop the UI and build in a user-friendly to...

  • How technology is changing the way we do business travel

    Where is business travel going over the next few years? What about the next decade? What kind of innovative technologies and practices will become commonplace? According to Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the five following trends will shape the future of business travel: customization, mobile technologies, fresh booking practices, the sharing economy and digital payment solutions. What does all that mean, though? If we break those concepts down into simpler terms, where is the future of business travel headed? Mobile tech It's tough to imagine a world without laptops and smartphones, but once upon a time many a business trip were made without these conveniences. Laptops...

  • Is this the end of banking and money as we know it?

    Following compelling evidence presented in a recent Bank of England Report, it is highly likely that by the year 2020, businesses will be transacting via alternative currencies that operate outside the current banking system. A case in point is the Dotcoza experiment, conducted at the turn of the new millennium, where a young South African man (Dotcoza) locked himself away in a house with nothing other than the clothes on his back and a computer connected to the fledging Internet. He was given some money to spend, whereby everything from food to household utensils needed to be purchased online. This...

  • Gartner: PC shipments slashed, worldwide device shipments set reach 2.5bn in 2015

    Gartner has released its latest forecast, this time focusing on worldwide shipments of PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones. The shipments, according to the technology research house, will reach 2.5-billion units in 2015. This is an increase of a 1.5% from 2014 and down from the previous quarter's forecast of 2.8% growth. This estimate is however a 1.3% point drop from Gartner’s estimate in the last quarter. Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, says that this is due to the continued slowdown in PC purchases in Western Europe, Russia and Japan. What negatively impacted PC purchases in the first...

  • Why microlearning beats traditional learning patterns

    When you are taking on learning a new skill, then you need to pay special attention to the types of training that you take on. The traditional learning structure that has you sit in a classroom for extended periods of time and listen to a supposed expert may not be the best environment for you today. You may also find it completely untenable with your current schedule. Fortunately, there are many technological advancements that allow for new types of learning to be seriously considered when you are taking on the challenge of a new skill. One such technique, microlearning, is...

  • What does hyper-converged infrastructure mean for the future of enterprise app delivery?

    Hyper-converged infrastructure will be an increasingly hot topic in the coming months, as the biggest names in the industry start to take notice. Hyper-convergence is an extension of a converged infrastructure, where compute, server, storage, networking resources and software are pooled together on commodity hardware. They are usually systems from separate companies but designed to work very well together. The benefits of this include massively simplified management, which makes things faster, more agile and more efficient. It’s one of the foundations of virtualisation, but hyper-convergence allows for even greater abstraction of software and hardware, more centralised management and a greater...

  • Facebook hopes to implement AI services ‘within next 10 years’

    Facebook and Artificial Intelligence (AI) sounds very creepy yet exciting sitting in the same sentence, but that's exactly where the world's largest social network is heading. Moreover, it wants you to share your thoughts with your online friends in the near future. There's a lot of buzz around the subject of AI, from industry influencers like Elon Musk and Bill Gates sharing their predictions to blockbusters like Her, Transcendence or Ex Machina portraying extreme but plausible outcomes. It's to little surprise then when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a Q&A on Facebook recently questions around this subject were raised. " working...

  • Are consumers about to become partners in the manufacturing process?

    The maker movement has seen a massive resurgence in recent years, allowing ordinary people to get involved in the technology manufacturing space. And with cheap, easily programmable products like the Raspberry Pi on the market, people don't have to have all around expertise. Right now, it's a subculture. But if a new report from Deloitte is to be believed, everyday consumers could soon become a crucial part of the manufacturing process as whole. According to the report, changes in consumer demand, the nature of products, the economics of production, and the economics of the supply chain have led to...

  • 16 trends and predictions around South African internet usage

    By 2019, there will be 27-million South African Internet users, up from 15-million in 2014. That's according to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecasts 2015, which also suggests that South African IP traffic will grow six-fold by 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 44%. Factors expected to drive this traffic growth, it says, include an increase in internet users, personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, faster broadband speeds, and the adoption of advanced video services. The report also suggests that mobile video traffic will grow at 73% a year in the country. Here are some of the...

  • How do you keep the socially conscious, hyper-connected generation interested in your product?

    Short attention spans, flicking through multiple open internet tabs and having at least two windows open at once, this is the scenario your brand is competing with for your Generation Y audience’s attention. Born between 1980 and the early 2000s, this is a group born at a time when the Walkman was new and exciting, and long before Google became a commonly used verb! The members of Generation Y are unsurprisingly shaped by the massive developments in technology of the past few decades. To get your brand noticed, and to keep them interested long enough for them to absorb the...

  • Meet ArachnobeeA, the world’s first Zero G drone

    This year NASA, in collaboration with various other Space Agencies, held its fourth annual International Space Apps Challenge in Limassol, Cyprus. The event presented its applicants with a variety of complex problems to solve in either the fields of Earth Studies, Human Health Research, Space Exploration or Robotics. As part of the “Zero Gee Bee – Your friendly neighbourhood drone” challenge (under the robotics division), NASA tasked master hackers and engineers with designing a drone that would be able to assist astronauts in a zero gravity environment. The result of this challenge was ArachnoBeeA, which was also awarded...

  • Mobility, Internet of Things, ERP = the need to invest in business systems

    The enterprise resource planning (ERP) landscape is going through a period of accelerated change as end-user organisations and ERP vendors alike prepare for a world of mobile-first customers and employees, massive data volumes, and intelligent, connected sensors and devices in the workplace. Together, these trends mean that organisations across industries are under enormous pressure to embrace innovation and look for opportunities to better leverage business systems for a competitive edge. Many enterprises are seeking alternatives to the monolithic ERP packages of old, looking to replace these legacy systems with newer solutions that are architected for a new world. Here are...

  • These are the legacy issues preventing banks from moving to digital

    The legacy issues preventing banks from making the move to digital are predominantly related to skills, capacity, systems and strategies. These are all necessary for going down the route needed to integrate digital systems and legacy systems. Banks’ organisational structures need to be assessed for skills and development capacity, software implementation, IT infrastructure and IT teams. Overall, a bank’s organisational strategy needs to accommodate digital. Within banks there are various independently run divisions in an accelerated model. Banks need to connect all these divisions. However, they are faced with various issues which include the maturity of network infrastructures, process governance...

  • Analytics without borders: why SA businesses need to share data

    Analytics (or rather deriving insights from data) is an emerging field in South Africa. Due to differing strategic views, lack of infrastructure, or lack of skilled resources, few companies have fully capitalised on the information available in their local markets, much less so in subsidiary markets. Given both the emergence of the field, the first stab at getting analytics to grow would be to simultaneously ensure infrastructure is in place and hiring/retaining the skilled professional. Secondly, businesses need to start thinking with numbers in mind – ensuring that reasoning, figures and insights play a significant part in the...