The three emerging technology trends that are shaping our future.

By Ajay Kumar on Jan 26, 2022

Myself and a colleague were lucky enough to attend this year’s Consumer Technology Show in Las Vegas. We got the inside scoop from major brands showing us what technology they’d be unveiling in the coming years.

Attendance in person this year peaked at 45,000 due to Covid-19, which is a stark contrast to 170,000 from the previous convention in 2020. This year also saw a few major brands pull out from the show completely, including Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft. Then some, such as LG (a headline sponsor) chose not to send any staff in-person, choosing to opt-in with a virtual presence.

The innovations showcased at the convention are a great insight into emerging technologies that will shape the year ahead and beyond. This year I saw some clear trends to watch out for, including the Metaverse, NFTs and Smart Home. Shall we get into it?

Metaverse

Let’s start with the new buzzword on the block, the Metaverse. Believe it or not, this isn’t the brainchild of suspected humanoid-lizard, Mark Zuckerberg, even if he likes to make it out to be his creation. Credit where it’s due though, he does have a big part to play and profit from. So, you’re probably thinking, what the hell is it?

The Metaverse is an immersive, always-on, virtual environment created by billions of people, interacting with it and each other. It’s a shared world, where ‘avatars’ – digital versions of us, play, socialize and even work together. Sounds pretty cool right, but why such the big hype you wonder?

Well, with the technological advancements we’ve come through the key characteristics of these metaverses are the endless possibilities they possess. The Metaverse has unprecedented interoperability and interactivity – users can take their ‘avatars’ and ‘goods’ from one place in the Metaverse to another. This has been championed with the emergence of Virtual Reality and Gaming Technology.

The Metaverse is predicted to reward those brands who join early and provide consumers with new experiences to enjoy, exclusive events to attend, virtual merchandise to buy, and exclusive community groups to join. The possibilities are literally endless.

It’s an interesting concept to think that the next up-and-coming generation, these Metaverses will be the norm. Working from home may no longer consist of sitting at a dining room table that is too high with an office chair that’s too low with a dodgy backrest. But transformed to working in a virtual environment where your avatar colleagues will be, rather than on a Teams call.

NFTs

Non-Fungible Tokens – you can thank me later if you didn’t know what the original acronym actually stood for. But what is it, and why should you care?

Let us start with understanding what an NFT actually is. It’s ultimately a fancy way of saying that something is unique and cannot be easily replicated or replaced by another substitute, for example, one unit of Bitcoin is essentially the same as another.

However, when it comes to Non-Fungible Token this is more like a one-of-a-kind item, such as a photograph or a video.

For those interested, most NFTs include; digital art pieces, historical video moments, and even history-making social network posts such as Jack Dorsey, The CEO of Twitter, who sold his first tweet as an NFT.

Ok, so a guy sold a tweet, what’s the big deal?

It’s crazy to think that this emerging technology and form of ‘art’ is deemed a lucrative digital collector’s item, with some even commanding up to seven-figure purchase prices.

The market has ballooned in recent times, with an estimated market share of $2.5 Billion dollars. Along with the Metaverse, NFT’s are also going to play a role in the success of these digital worlds.

The virtual environments will have cryptocurrency as their economy but NFT’s will be the cool stuff to buy. If you’re interested, I’ll dig out an old Myspace profile picture and you can purchase it. Deal?

Smart Home

When you’re not spending time in an alternative universe in VR, consumers are expecting just as advanced technologies to help them in the real world.

During the pandemic, consumers have spent more time at home, leading to a surge in smart home technology such as smart displays, smart doorbells, smart appliances, and smart speakers.

We’re now craving an easier life, and smart technology has allowed us to turn the lights on and off by the sound of our own voice and the ability to lock the front door via our smartphones.

You’re probably thinking, I know about smart homes, I’ve got a smart thermostat and an Alexa, when’s this tech going to make life more exciting?

Well, the connected home enjoys a symbiotic relationship with smart speakers and digital assistants. For the fourth year running, in the US smart speakers lead the smart home category with 41% of homes owning a smart speaker and 23% planning to buy one in the next year.

As consumers, we’re expecting more from our smart devices; we want them to work with contextual relevance, and a degree of independence, thereby alleviating the chore of programming each movement from their devices.

From a wider perceptive, there’s also an expectation for products to have a degree of interoperability, so multiple different branded technologies can work together within one home.

Device intelligence, combined with human-machine interfaces will define the next era of smart home devices.

So, let’s wrap things up!…

The Metaverse is here, it’s growing and early adopters will be rewarded. Brands have the opportunity to leverage this space with the next generation of consumers. It’s imperative you explore this space yourselves to really understand the benefits. I’ve just bought an Occulus VR headset to see what the fuss is about – I suggest you do too, maybe we can grab a virtual coffee?

NFTs (Non-Fungible Token) are only becoming more and more popular. Championed by celebrities such as Paris Hilton, this digital art space is lucrative. Brands who participate with the community in an authentic manner will be welcomed with open arms. Those who aim to exploit and rush into this space won’t win.

Smart homes are only going to get smarter. With AI constantly evolving and our human needs becoming ever more demanding. This is a sector to watch as we become even lazier.

Keep your eyes peeled… The future is already here.