10 Emerging Technologies
Friday, April 06, 2007
Emerging technologies are the type of technologies that change the way we do things. In technology management theory they are called disruptive or radical innovations.
Disruptive because they disrupt the status quo. Disruptive technologies change the way we've been doing things. Think of the type writer and the word processor in the form of software; think of the vacuum tube and transistor. The former, almost disappear. The latter, revolutionized everything around us.
Disruption cannibalizes established markets, but creates new ones out of innovation.
This year Technology Review
Magazine lists 10 emerging technologies. As usual, some of them sound more like predictions and understandably some never make it to the main stream. But I like 2 in particular:
- Peering into Video's Future
I think we've been hearing this for some time now that the internet will crumble on its own weight because of so much data being passed around from user to user, specially video. So Hui Zhang thinks he has a solution by doing P2P video. I'm sure there are differences in how bittorrent works, so there has to be something new there.
- Augmented Reality
This of course will come thanks to the ubiquitousness of cell phones and the powerful CPUs that come embedded in them, in addition to the newer cell technologies and GPS systems being brought to the market.
Imagine pointing your camera, GPS enabled phone to something and information about it will just pop-up on your virtual/real phone world.
This type of technology is not entirely new. You've probably seen it in movies where jet fighters have screens in front of pilot that lock on enemy target and such (I don't think that's fake). The difference here is that it will not cost millions of dollars. It will likely cost a few hundred dollars.
Aside from the coolness of it all, these two emerging technologies are of interest to me because everything will be driven by software. Furthermore, they are essentially new platforms for invention.
The secret of radical innovations is not the fact that they are different or new. What makes emerging technologies main stream is the willingness of a group creators to use them, reshaped them, and combine them with other technologies to add value to an awaiting market. In other words, solve someone's problem.
In these two cases, the value (and markets) will develop from software engineers willing to take a chance to create applications for a new unproven platform.