In both the consumer and business worlds, technology is constantly and rapidly evolving. Unique and innovative new business, health and consumer technologies are emerging every day, but sometimes it takes a little time for the “next big thing” to get recognized and catch on. Google, for instance, launched the original iteration of G-Suite back in 2006—long before the cloud computing and real-time collaboration became the standard.
As leaders in the tech field, the members of Forbes Technology Council are always on the lookout for emerging devices, programs and systems that could revolutionize their industry—even if the tech is still in its early phases. We asked a group of them to share the most impressive piece of tech from the last three years that most people aren’t aware of yet. Here’s why they believe these 15 technologies will be huge in the near future.
1. Quantum Computing
Quantum computing has already found niche applications today. In the past few years, more and more funding has become available to take quantum circuits into new arenas, including imaging, sensing and measuring. Quantum computing is a game-changer because it changes the fundamental paradigm in how computation is delivered into many industries—and in the era of Big Data, computation is everything. - Ravi Subramanian, Mentor Graphics
2. Devices That Balance Innovation And Privacy
The nature and uses of data collected via devices and its relation to privacy have been a focus of mine, and privacy has evolved in the past decade. The current COVID-19 crisis is a perfect example of our need to balance research, information and personal protection. Our current regulatory environment stifles innovation and does not truly protect the individual. It’s a lose-lose proposition. - Hillit Meidar-Alfi, Spatially
3. Transformer Neural Network Architecture
The Transformer neural network architecture has revolutionized natural language processing capabilities (e.g., BERT from Google and GPT-2 from OpenAI). Since 2017, Transformer networks have dramatically advanced performance on tasks ranging from speech recognition to answering questions. This technology has helped lower barriers to activities like personalized tutoring and AI-powered customer support. - Mike Moniz, Circadence Corporation
The WeChat app is huge in China. Think of WhatsApp, PayPal, FB and LinkedIn all in one, plus more. WeChat has a feature that allows you to shake your phone and it will automatically connect you with someone nearby and/or globally if they are shaking their phone at the same exact time. - William Charles Lee, GQIT
5. Cloud-Based Automated UI Testing
We’ve been using Qentinel, a cloud-based UI testing framework based on robot framework. Qentinel makes testing easy for technical people, and we can add that to our build automation stack. Unit tests have always had the biggest bang for the buck. Qentinel might displace that. - Patrick Emmons, DragonSpears, Inc.
6. Blockchain Security And Compliance Monitoring
The major uptick in cryptocurrency awareness and interest in 2017, when prices reached historic levels, resulted in the need for blockchain security and compliance monitoring to rapidly evolve. These technologies and tools often work in the background (unknown to many) but are critical in safeguarding blockchain platforms as well as in identifying fraud, anti-money laundering and compliance issues. - Jason Lau, Crypto.com
Undoubtedly, the most impressive tech that can have an impact on human behavior and cybersecurity is FIDO2. It’s the first solution that makes the most complex authentication technology easy to use from an end-user point of view—even “computerphobes” will be delighted with its user experience. If companies don’t support it, users should inundate the sites’ Support with requests for FIDO2 logins. - Arshad Noor, StrongKey
Most people have heard of AI, but most people don’t know about AutoAI, deep learning and reinforcement specifically and how transformational that has been to the industry. It’s game-changing because it democratizes model building to a much broader audience, allowing simple model building and accelerating the pace of AI adoption. - Alyssa Simpson Rochwerger, Appen
9. Anti-Microbial Visible Light
While COVID-19 has brought viral infection to the forefront, we often forget about bacterial infections. Overuse of antibiotics results in “superbugs,” leading to over 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections each year in the U.S. alone. A new wave of products using visible blue light as a first-line antimicrobial will help restrict antibiotics use to when they are truly needed. - Steve Pao, Hillwork, LLC
10. Remote Condition Monitoring
Most people don’t know how huge of an impact technologies that allow for remote condition monitoring can have. Sensors that you can secure to equipment can tell a plant manager when the temperature is too high in critical spots where food is stored. Predictive maintenance technologies are changing the workforce and empowering technicians to prevent “firefighting” activities before they occur. - Ryan Chan, UpKeep Maintenance Management
11. Google’s Automated Phone Calls And Answering Help
Google’s automated phone calls and answering help is impressive. Plus, its availability on Android allows the technology to act as a quasi personal assistant for screening phone calls and basic tasks like setting up meetings, etc. It’s not so much for personal use, but it’s a game-changer for daily business life. - Robert Weissgraeber, AX Semantics
12. Dual Lens Cameras
GoPro has dramatically improved its hardware over the past three years. The GoPro Max is a cross between an action camera and a 360-degree camera. It is the best of both worlds. The camera offers great image stabilization while giving users the ability to edit point-of-view through 360-degree capture. Equipment like this gives people the ability to show unique perspectives of their favorite activities. - Abishek Surana Rajendra, Course Hero
13. Telegram Splitting
Telegram splitting is a new radio approach to long-range wireless communication developed by the Fraunhofer Institute (IIS) and standardized by ETSI. With this technology, for the first time, low-power wide-area networks become highly scalable and robust against interference to enable massive-scale IoT deployment and democratized wireless communication in the license-free spectrum. - Wolfgang Thieme, BehrTech
14. Omniscience And Next-Best-Action Prediction
With the advent of machine learning, marketers can now compile and synthesize vast amounts of heterogeneous data from various sources to identify patterns within their customers’ demographics and journeys quickly. Such data-driven insights are invaluable for designing effective multi-touch attribution models and predicting the next-best-action strategy that entices customers to make purchases. - Christopher Yang, Corporate Travel Management
15. Color-Changing Medical Tattoos
MIT has been working on medical tattoos that will change color when your body changes. One such tattoo measures glucose levels in diabetics to provide alerts when glucose levels are critically low or critically high. This is a huge game-changer for people with ailments that require constant monitoring. In the future, they may just look at their tattoo for a quick health check. - Michael Hoyt, Life Cycle Engineering, Inc.
16. Consumer eSIM
Started with Google Pixel a couple of years back and now widely available in flagship smartphones like iPhone 11/XR/XS and Samsung Galaxy S20, embedded SIM (eSIM) enables consumers to switch wireless plans with a few clicks, without the need to physically change SIM cards. eSIM is a game-changer as it eliminates the hassle and inconvenience of physical SIM cards and gives consumers more choice. - Ahmad (Al) Fares, CeliTech Inc.