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Future Trends

  • 11 massive predictions about the future of mobile and mobile data

    At this stage, telling anyone that we live in a mobile world seems more or less pointless. Our phones are hardwired into our daily lives and, for many of us, can seem more like artificial limbs than everyday devices. They’ve changed the world too. Web designers now think about how you’ll experience a site on a phone or tablet before they think about how you’ll see it on a desktop. Apps meanwhile have gone from single function curiosities to powerful tools that allow us to do everything from hailing private cars to making investments on the fly. Given...

  • What F8 2015 taught us about the future of Facebook and technology

    This year, F8 revealed a vision for the future of Facebook, as well as its family of platforms. Following some high-profile acquisitions over the last few years, Facebook has repositioned itself as a collection of applications and platforms to best serve an ever growing audience of users. Growing from a single blue app on your mobile, the ‘family’ now spans the Facebook app, with 1.4-billion active users; 600-million people using Messenger; 700-million WhatsApp users; an additional 700-million Facebook Groups users; and 300-million on Instagram. Facebook has diversified for a number of reasons. First among these, is the company’s recognition of...

  • The worldwide wearable market will ship 45.7m units in 2015, 126.1m units by 2019

    Wearables remain a mystery. Pretty looking things, capable of doing everything and yet remain without a clearly defined purpose, terrible battery life, and dependent on mobiles to function fully. In spite of their shortcomings, wearables are becoming popular with consumers. According to the latest forecast data by research house International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide wearables market will see some 45.7-million units shipped in 2015, thanks to a combination of new vendors, new devices, and greater end-user awareness. “Smart wearables are about to take a major step forward with the launch of the Apple Watch this year,” said Ramon Llamas,...

  • Insuring your future: how tech’s working to keep you safe while cycling [Sponsored]

    ‘Insuring your future‘ is a four-part series exploring how technology is working to keep you safe as you make your way through the world. In this, the first article in the series, we look at how a variety of technologies are coming together to make cycling a safer activity than it currently is. Cycling is great. It’s a clean, environmentally way to get the blood pumping through your veins and because you’re on two wheels instead of two legs, you get to cover a lot more ground than if you were walking. That in turn means you get to see...

  • No future fantasy: the Internet of Things is already shaping South African society

    The Internet of Things is already helping to shape and its influence is set to increase dramatically in the next few years as the impact of new technologies is felt. The terminology is new, but the practice is not. We’ve been quietly building the Internet of Things (IoT) for more than a decade already, connecting nationwide networks of sensors for everything from traffic monitoring to national electricity distribution using private, hybrid and public cloud architectures. The IoT is already deeply embedded in South Africa’s industrial and commercial infrastructure. Without knowing it, we all depend on this network already. Recent...

  • Elon Musk vs Richard Branson: will the geek or maverick win the battle to privatise space?

    Locked against each other in the race to build a space-based Internet serving the entire globe, Elon Musk and Richard Branson have monumental plans to launch massive satellite fleets into orbit around the Earth. While the potential benefits are many — bringing Internet service to billions of people who are still unconnected, allowing travelers to stay online no matter where they go and even preparing a telecommunications system to link us to future colonies on other planets — no one is certain who can achieve the mammoth task of making it a reality. Here’s how these two competitors stack...

  • The impact of collaborative tools on education innovation and learning

    Classroom and educational trends have undergone significant changes over the course of the past decade, and these changes affect how classes operate as well as how the people in them interact with each other. One of the most striking deviations is the shift in classroom structure. Rather than placing instructors as the unquestionable authorities at the top of a classroom hierarchy and keeping them wholly separate from students, today’s teachers are encouraged to be a more integrated part of the classroom and to interact with the students. They are seen as colleagues meant to guide a student’s learning and...

  • 4 ways real-time data is disrupting the way we do business

    Real-time monitoring and experience tracking have become buzz words in the digital era. Ostensibly companies that have access to this type of data ultimately have a greater understanding of their current and future consumers’ behaviour. If used effectively, this can inform business strategy resulting in measurable bottom line results. However, merely getting your hands on this form of data is not enough – it is about how it is contextualised and used across your business that makes the real difference. We recently hosted a roundtable to discuss the future of research and customer insights with a group of industry leaders...

  • 5 levels of ethical programming that determine how well smart machines will behave

    People are going to have to get used to living and working alongside smart machines. With Gartner estimating that 1.1-billion connected things will be used by smart cities in 2015, there’s no escaping the fact that pretty much every object we interact with is getting smarter. There’s a lot of hope about the future those smart objects could allow but also plenty of fear. Both Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have, for instance, warned of the dangers of artificial intelligence. But to a large degree making sure we don’t end up bowing down to our robot overlords could come...

  • 5m people will use Bitcoin by 2019

    While even people in the technology space might not entirely understand crypto-currency Bitcoin, you can’t ignore its rapid growth. It’s not about to slow down either. Right now there are around 1.3-million Bitcoin users around the globe and, according to Juniper Research, that number is set to grow to 5-million by the end of 2019. Even with that kind of growth though, the research company argues that Bitcoin usage will be dominated by exchange trading, with retail adoption largely restricted to relatively niche demographics. Despite the fact that a number of retailers now accept Bitcoin and startups are looking to...

  • The dangers of machine learning, AI can be mitigated through strong partnerships

    Recent reports about the dangers of artificial intelligence (AI) have painted a dark picture of the future. According to some of the leading thinkers in the technology and science arenas, the very machines that serve such a fundamental part of our daily needs today could one day subject us to slavery and even extinction. Considering how pervasive technology has become, and how it is set to become even more so under the new wave of connected devices and automated systems, it’s an important discussion to have. Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk late last year called artificial intelligence “our biggest...

  • 3 massive digital trends and how South Africa can use them to its advantage

    Financial markets are in flux, cyber crime is on the rise and millennials are taking over the business world. That’s according to David Silverstein, the CEO of global consulting firm BMGI, who says that while these trends are not necessarily the biggest, they’re certainly ones we should all take heed of and keep in our back pockets. 1. Anticipate chaos In terms of reacting to markets, companies should stop trying to prepare for the worst or the best. Instead, they should prepare for the worst, best and everything in between. “The global economy is in a state of chaos,” Silverstein says. “The...

  • Are machines really the call-centres of the future?

    Artificial Intelligence is not yet a reality. But very smart computers are. They’re poised to take over all sorts of routine, repetitive tasks. After all, a robot doesn’t make mistakes, it can’t get tired and slack off, it won’t lack motivation, and it doesn’t hurt that it can’t lie or steal or cheat either. Look at the call centre for example. Very smart ‘robots’ are automating more and more processes, and the business case is growing strong. Many already use interactive voice response (IVR), where callers type or speak to a machine before being routed to the most appropriate free...

  • What The Guardian’s next editor might think about technology, and what that would mean for journalism

    It was the first major news organisation to introduce live blogging, and the first to open commenting across its site. With 120-million unique visitors this January, theguardian.com has become one the world’s most popular and important news websites. Yet after two decades of spearheading its online growth, The Guardian‘s editor announced his departure last year. This past week, four internal candidates presented their arguments for why they should be the next editor-in-chief. Each statement offered an intimate view into how these candidates view themselves, what they think the role of an editor should be and the emphasis they place on the British newspaper’s online expansion. By...

  • 10 technologies that will have a huge impact on education in 2015 and beyond

    Technology has the capacity to fundamentally change every aspect of our lives. There are few sectors where this is more visible and obvious than education. According to technology research house Gartner, worldwide education sector spending is forecast to grow 2.3% to reach US$67.8-billion in 2015. This forecast includes higher education as well as primary and secondary schools. In Western Europe alone, education institutions will spend US$16.3-billion on technology products and services in 2015. Of course the situation isn’t the same across the globe, but even initiatives such as Google’s Connected Classrooms and Free access to Wikipedia are changing the way...