2013 Technology Innovation Predictions – What’s Yours?

1) Virtual engagements will become the norm – Immersive Virtual Environments (IVR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Digital Web-based Platforms (DWbP) will take off like a rocket this year.

  • Immersive Virtual Environments (IVR) – all virtual and/or hybrid (both in-person and online happening simultaneously) instances will likely start out hot this year in the events domain. With the massive spending cuts and knee-jerk reactions towards in-person events, this area will receive big attention. 2012-2016 Global Virtual Events Market Report expects the Global Virtual Events market to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate for 53.10% over the period of 2012-2016. The 2013-2018 Virtual Conference & Trade Show Market Forecast has shown that the virtual conference and trade show market has more than doubled in a year from 2009 to 2011 and they expect a compound annual growth rate of 56% through 2018. Now granted, most of these events will be performed using DWbP technology (webcasting, webinars and other non-immersive platforms), but a Community of Practice has been forming around the IVRs for events, telework, TeleHealth, eLearning and other areas of interest. I and a few others are leading this effort and we encourage everyone to signal their interest, as this will be happening VERY soon. I expect that AR and DWbPs will also be included. IVRs resemble what a person would see out of their eyes, taking in their surrounding field of view – yet being able to “click” on items to perform certain functions. These graphical-based environments are normally feature-rich and combine a number of business technologies into one platform. Unlike their Virtual Reality (VR) or Virtual World (VW) cousins, IVRs are not avatar-based – they make use of a social profile. This is often referred to as the next stage of Web 2.0, social media, etc. Many have included IVRs into their definitions of the Semantic Web.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) – AR is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world. The best example I can give of AR is a fighter pilot’s helmet – with targeting, speed, distance and altitude data overlaying the pilot’s direct line of sight. Maybe even the movie Minority Report, with Tom Cruise using sensory gloves to manipulate digital video streams in mid-air. Cutting-edge smart phone apps and Google Glasses are two consumer-based examples of where this technology will make an appearance in the market this year.
  • Digital Web-based Platforms (DWbP) – DWbPs are really the in-between stages of the social web (Web 2.0) and the Semantic Web (often referred to as Web 3.0 – in which IVRs are often included). Good examples of these types of platforms are Venture Beat, Sapphire Now, Mashable, MarketingProfs, etc. These platforms have really started to make their way into the market fast, combining several social features with other web technologies into one platform. Most virtual events have been developed using this medium, as they resemble the ease of use of regular websites. Acceptance is high, with web streaming, on-demand video and the use of chat and gamification making their appearances together on them. Adding an immersive augmentation is the next step for these platforms to see full awesomeness.

2) Responsive Web Design (RWD) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) will become the standard – RWD is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones). BYOD means the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their workplace, and use those devices to access privileged company information and applications. Apps will begin fading away as 1 site for all devices will become expected and common. Saying that “mobile” or “hand held” devices are the new standard is a gross understatement.

3) 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act implementation will begin to take hold – the act was passed by Congress to update our nation’s telecommunications protections for people with disabilities. 508 compliance laws were created so the web would be accessible to all Americans with disabilities. But these laws have not been able to keep up with the fast paced technological changes that our society has witnessed over the past decade. The new law contains groundbreaking protections to enable people with disabilities to access broadband, digital and mobile innovations — the emerging 21st century technologies for which the act is named.

4) TeleHealth initiatives will begin to break new ground – as Obama care takes full effect, TeleHealth will begin to show up on everyone’s radar. The old definition: Telehealth is the delivery of health-related services and information via telecommunications technologies. The new TeleHealth will incorporate web streaming, video chat, ARs, IVRs and many new technologies yet announced.

5) Stacked Memory will redefine computing power – Memory architectures haven’t kept pace with the bandwidth requirements of multicore processors. As microprocessor speeds out-accelerated DRAM memory speeds, a bottleneck developed that is referred to as the memory wall. Stacked memory applications, however, enable higher memory bandwidth.

The Hybrid Memory Cube Consortium, tasked with developing an open industry standard that facilitates HMC integration into a wide variety of systems, platforms and applications. The consortium is managed by a group of ten developers (Altera, ARM, HP, IBM, Micron, Microsoft, Open Silicon, Samsung, SK Hynix, and Xilinx), which have equal voting power on the final specification, along with an additional 75 adopters.

Speaking to the initial set of targeted applications, the driving body notes that the “Hybrid Memory Cube represents the key to extending network system performance to push through the challenges of new 100G and 400G infrastructure growth. Eventually, HMC will drive exascale CPU system performance growth for next generation HPC systems.” We’re currently experiencing, what, 4G on our phones? 😉

Please feel free to agree, disagree or just comment. Look for Part 2 soon.

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Thomas Campbell

Amazing list. I hadn’t even heard of Stacked Memory – very cool.

I would also add Integrated Ecosystems: more packaging of software and services to address infrastructure or application workload. There will be more shipment of “appliances,” with software delivered as hardware. New trend: virtual appliances, which Gartner sees gaining in popularity over the next five years.

Adam Arthur

Thomas Campbell, thanks. Man, I had that one on my Part 2 list! Yes, we (CDC Virtual Platform Initiative team) are developing a blade server appliance model that will house over 30 instances of our immersive virtual environment that will serve over 30,000 simultaneous participants. As you add appliances, you have unlimited virtual instance capabilities. In essence, I can offer services for an entire agency!

Adam Arthur

Yes – those that the CDC wants to partner with. The Government Virtual Engagements Community of Practice (coming soon!) will offer opportunities for all agencies to learn about Virtual Engagement technologies, best practices, lessons learned and eventually, new career paths!

David Ely

Great article Adam. I think you could easily break this one apart and create entire articles on the brief paragraphs here… parts 3-10 maybe. 🙂 The GVE CoP will most definitely contribute I’m sure. Looking forward to seeing more.

Adam Arthur

I have updated the article with links to the CoP above. If this stuff interests you, please signal your passion by joining us in the alpha stage!