The world of business and consumer technology moves at breakneck speed. Each new year sees a fresh wave of high-tech gadgets, programs, apps, devices, and products of all kinds to implement. Some promise to save us time, others money, and still others offer transformational experiences for the ways we live, work, and relax. Some of those promises are, of course, full of marketing hype, and a good number of products fail or never gain enough of a foothold to be considered a relevant part of the digital revolution.
Even so, enough of the latest items do indeed bring added doses of efficiency, comfort, and enjoyment into our lives. Here are some of the newest of the bunch, as of the early 2020s, that have already taken hold. Some are making their first appearance on lists of breakthroughs, while others have been around for a while but are undergoing significant upgrades.
The category that marketing professionals call wearables encompasses hundreds of different products, from fitness trackers and body cams, to blood pressure monitors and GPS tracking chips. One of the downsides is the potential abuse of private information. For example, some employers are goading workers into wearing fitness trackers in order to keep tabs on their long-term health.
In situations when the company is not providing health insurance to its workers, this kind of spying amounts to a potentially illegal form of oversight. On the upside, people who want to collect, store, and analyze information about their bodies, state of health, fitness levels, nutritional status, or anything else can use an inexpensive wearable to do the work. Data from the devices can be sent directly to a connected device or saved in a memory chip for later use.
Unlike wearable tech, fleet management programs and apps have no downside. These incredibly sophisticated systems are centered around telematics, a comprehensive computer network that manages every aspect of vehicle fleets. For details about how the whole thing works, and what telematics is, review an online guide about Samsara fleet management and the company’s connected operations cloud. The huge upside of fleet management is it works for companies of all sizes and help to keep costs in check by monitoring dozens of safety, efficiency, and regulatory parameters. Business owners who use telematics can minimize fuel expenses, store driver data, track goods wherever they are, and maintain current records on vehicle maintenance.
Wireless Offices and Conference Rooms
The hot new trend in the business world is wireless everything, especially conference rooms. Along with the apparent aim of every company on earth to go paperless, the wireless vogue is the newest “-less” to make a splash with the professional set.
But it’s much more than a fad.
Wireless conferencing means employees and managers have the freedom to be anywhere and still attend a meeting. Yes, that’s a huge disadvantage for people who despise company meetings, but when the team needs to get together, a wireless conference can be a blessing of efficiency and convenience. This single development has probably put the stake into the heart of in-person Monday morning meetings in the corporate world.
ID Scanning Devices
There’s an entire line of items in the ID and security niche, most of which have seen action within the past decade. Most of what’s going on now include upgrades and miniaturization of devices and components. For instance, iris scanners used to take up quite a large space on doors and walls where they were mounted. Today’s iteration of the same device is a tiny, stand-alone unit that can even do its job via a phone camera. Fingerprint readers, facial recognition scanners, and even voiceprint identifiers are showing up in secure workspaces, medical offices, law enforcement stations, and private homes.
A core component of the mobile workspace is portable computer stations. Forget your old laptop. The portable PCs of the 2020s are lightweight, memory-enhanced powerhouses of computing and communications tech. Many come with high-security protection for safe use anywhere, and under just about any conditions. The teleworking phenomenon is changing the way people work at home. Companies that want to protect proprietary data can’t rely on consumer-grade workstations. In many cases, corporations provide specialized computers, with expanded memory capacity and secure protocols, for all at-home workers. That way, there’s less of concern about hacking and similar breaches among remote employees.
Low-Cost Medical Screeners
The entire medical sector has been undergoing an A-to-Z makeover since online telehealth meetings first appeared in 2016. In five years since, an eternity in the digital universe, the practice of medicine has changed completely. Online check-ups are now routine, as are wellness exams that don’t require shots or medication.
But perhaps the biggest transformation of healthcare is the one taking place with low-cost screening devices. In addition to tracking and diagnostic items noted above, within the wearable’s category, people are purchasing their own diagnostic units for personal and collaborative use (with their doctors). Blood pressure monitors finger prick blood analysis are just two of the many products that can be relay real-time data from your home straight to the doctor’s office.
Super HD Cameras
High-definition cameras are getting smaller and less costly every year, which means people are finding more, and more clever uses for them. For law enforcement agencies, these tiny, clip-on cameras have had a profound effect on how policing is done all over the world. For ordinary consumers, affordable products in this line bring enhanced home safety.
Already, many newly built homes are arriving on the market with built-in surveillance systems that would have been unthinkably expensive just 10 years ago. Now, tiny cams are popping up everywhere there’s a need. People use them for online chat sessions, baby room monitoring, parking lot security, and much more.
The Long View
What will be the next wave of technological wonders to change our lives and workplaces? Who knows, but it’s a good bet that every item listed above will be considered old hat within five years. That’s how fast the decade is moving.