Technology is a fantastic thing. We really are living in the age of technology – new concepts and ideas are emerging all the time. We are also in an age where a lot of the current technologies are in their infancy and if we look at these current and emerging technologies they can give us a glimpse into the future of technology.
key areas of technology that are in their infancy
In order to determine what the future of technology might look like we should first look at the current emerging technologies that are here and then expand on them and look to what those technologies could evolve into.
Of course the future of technology could be completely different in say 100 years time, but looking at current technologies and technological trends will help to determine what the future of technology is likely to be.
In this article we will look through some of the key areas of technology that are currently most interesting and from that to determine what the future of technology might look like.
The future of technology will definitely be encompassed by the Internet. When you think about it, the Internet is an amazing thing and is actually becoming the fabric that binds lots of other technologies together.
When you think about the Internet of things, digital currencies and cloud computing the Internet is integral to all of them.
Not only will the Internet play a big part in the future of technology but it is likely to evolve substantially in the future with everything being connected to it and everything being accessible via it. The Internet will become like the road system of today in the future of technology, or perhaps even like the 6th sense.
Digital currencies is a real buzz topic at the moment. Bitcoin is the most recognised of the digital currencies and although it has traveled a bumpy road since its inception it has stuck around.
Digital currency is definitely an example of a new technology that has arrived slightly ahead of its time. Everyone in technology accepts that its creation is very important, but know one really knows where its going to be best used, or how its going to evolve.
This scenario is the perfect example of a glimpse into the future of technology. Digital currency is likely to blossom at some point when it becomes accepted by the main stream, or perhaps when security concerns are answered.
The concept is very simple – a currency that is managed and controlled using modern technologies such as the Internet and distributed computing. Its easy to see that when looking at other emerging technologies such as the Internet of things and 3d printing that the future of technology will bring with it a rich ecosystem. This ecosystem will demand new and more powerful methods for transactions.
Digital currencies are likely to provide these new transactional requirements much more efficiently than the systems that are currently in place.
security and single sign on (SSO)
Security in the digital age is one of the things that is currently holding back lots of other technologies. The future of technology really depends on security improving greatly from its current state.
When you think about technologies such as the Internet of things – where everything from your fridge to your car is connected to the Internet – security is going to be a massive hurdle to overcome.
In the current technological climate we can see that security is far from perfect – with companies like Sony getting hacked on a regular basis and other similar companies having their data breeched it doesn’t really demand confidence as new more vulnerable technologies are emerging.
One part of security that is considered quite robust is secure communications. When we talk about secure communications we mean when the data is actually transmitted, it can be done so in an encrypted format. This is very important because it stops attackers from intercepting a transmission and simply reading the data packets contained within it.
Technology currently provides very secure methods of doing this, and this will be particularly important when transmissions are being sent between more and more devices – cars being a great example.
The weak point however is at either end. The most common security method that we use as individuals at either end of the communication is password based security. This will always be weak and is always susceptible to breach.
As computers are becoming more and more advanced, the use of brute force tools for cracking passwords is becoming more common and more achievable than ever.
In addition to this, user laziness is also a key factor – when users have the same password for lots of different services this creates a real weak point and a footprint that can be easy to crack.
Two key factors that we see as changing the security landscape are:
- Single sign on (SSO) – This is a method of using a single sign on mechanism across multiple services. Lots of companies are starting to adopt this internally to create single sign on credentials across all of their services. We can see this being used across multiple companies and numerous services. Although there are disadvantages to this – as mentioned above, a single method of authenticating across multiple services means that if one service is compromised then they all are. However, SSO will also help to pave the way for more advanced methods of authentication such as two step authentication that will have much greater benefits.
- Two step authentication – This is a method of using more than one means of authentication – for example, as well as using a password to log in to a service, you could couple that with the requirement to enter a pin code sent to a mobile phone at the time of sign in. This adds another layer of security to the sign in, meaning that a unique code is used to sign in on each occasion, and that code is tied to a device owned by the user. This method of security is already practiced by many organizations, but we see it as being cumbersome without ties to single sign on.
Security and the future of technology
There are other technologies that are currently in their infancy with regard to security. For example, research is currently being conducted with regard to authenticating a suer by their actions and personality. This involves profiling a person based on their habits, movements and language patterns. With this technology a user could potentially authenticate to a service just with their presence. Not only would this be very difficult to forge, but it could potentially mean that even the user themselves wasn’t aware of exactly how they had authenticated to a service – minimising user error in compromising security.
Cloud computing is another technology that is in the spotlight at the moment. The future of technology will most definitely involve cloud computing in some form. Setting aside the buzz words what cloud computing really means for the future of technology is the means of providing all services from remote servers. More so, these servers are distributed, so services can be provided from any location and can also be scaled as needed.
To make this easy to understand, rather than just providing your email service from a single computer, is is provided by a platform that is hardware independent – so if you had a really large mailbox then your email system could be spanned across several computers distributed around the world. This concept means that services can be scaled very easily and in real time. It also means that availability of services is much more flexible.
As the future of technology evolves we can see computation moving further away from the home computer and more towards distributed large scale software defined computing platforms. Because of this fact, cloud computing as a technology is very important to the future of technology.
Software defined computing
Software defined computing is a very important technology that is at the forefront of lots of other emerging technologies, in particular cloud computing.
Software defined computing is the move away from expensive hardware that a lot of systems and infrastructure is currently making. Network routing and storage are two technologies that are currently making their way to the software defined side of the spectrum and moving away from expensive hardware.
Software defined computing ties in very closely with cloud computing as it enables infrastructure to become scalable and malleable as it relies much less on the hardware it resides on.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of things has been mentioned several times in this article already. This is another technology that is very much in its infancy and is going to be a major player in the future of technology.
The concept of the Internet of things is very simple. It describes the future of technology as having every object imaginable connected to the Internet. The Internet of things really would have the Internet become a new fabric of the modern world with everything connected to it.
Some good examples would be:
- Cars – Cars are now coming to the market with built in Internet connections. Some cars can be customised and controlled via the web. BMW for example offer the ability for an email account, amongst other things, to be set up remotely from a website. Other cars are monitored remotely by the manufacturer to watch out for faults before they develop as well as to notify the owner of servicing requirements.
- Fridges – Fridges are likely to be Internet connected so that stock levels and food expirely dates can be monitored. When an item of food is low or something has gone out of date then the owner can be notified by email and the product could potentially be ordered.
- Electrics – Electrics such as power to devices and lighting are already very much connected to the Internet. There are lots of products out on the market now that allow you to easliy connect electrical devices in your home to the Internet – and together with each other so that they can be controlled remotely.
The future of the Internet of Things
The Internet of things will no doubt be playing a massive part in the future of technology with everything being connected to the Internet and to each other. Cars, fridges, gas, electricity, cookers, curtains and everything else you can think of. This will allow our entire world to be controlled from where ever we are.
3D printing is another concept that is very much available right now. You can pick up a 3d printer from Maplins for under £500 so it really is a technology that is available to the consumer now.
We see 3d printing as playing a much bigger and yet to be acknowledged part in the future of technology though. As 3d printing is developed we can see it being interlinked with IoT and a situation arising where items can be purchased and delivered in real time by these technologies.
Imagine if your door handle breaks, you are notified because it is connected to the Internet, a new door handle is automatically purchased for you (Using digital currency as its fast and cheap) and printing from your 3d printer.
When you get the email notification you simply go to your 3d printer, pick up the handle and go and fit it to the door.
Wearable tech is again very much available at the moment. The future of technology will evolve wearable tech on a much larger scale though as it is further developed.
Wearable tech may become much more a part of our every day lives with tech perhaps embedded into our bodies of at least being an integral part of our daily lives.
With the Internet of Things it would mean that we could be permanently connected to our entire world wherever we were. If something happened in our house such as a power cut or a compromise in security we would know about it instantly wherever we were in the world.