Alan Kay famously said, (the) “Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Invent It.” What can we see from inventions and innovation in 2019? We look at trends to watch for in the upcoming year and how they will affect you.
Technology: One of the best trade shows to see future products is at the Consumer Electronics Show. The CES is one of the biggest predictors on where and what next-generation innovations will produce. Three trends to watch for in tech in 2019:
- Internet of Things (IoT): You may not know what IoT means but you’re a part of it. The IoT refers to a network of devices, vehicles, and home appliances that contain electronics, software, actuators, and connectivity which allows these things to connect, interact and exchange data. A refrigerator, car, smartwatch and Alexa are all examples. Looking beyond our homes, innovators are looking to develop smart cities. Smart city developments aim to use IoT sensors and technology to connect components across a city to derive data and improve the lives of citizens and visitors, by making them more sustainable and efficient with streamlined services. One downside– flaws to privacy and hacking.
- Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning: While artificial intelligence (AI) is the broad science of mimicking human abilities, machine learning is a specific subset of AI that trains a machine how to learn. There will be more machine learning across multiple industries in 2019. Whether that be in your laptop, household gadgets or your cars, AI will be improved upon and more available. Companies such as Kia and Hyundai are planning to include AI assistants in their vehicles starting in 2019.
- Digital Money: Money is not coins and banknotes but it’s anything that people are willing to use in order to represent systematically the value of other things for the purpose of exchanging goods and services. Which brings us to digital money. Cash continues to be replaced by digital money. There’s been a lot in the news about Blockchain and Bitcoin. Blockchain is a platform and a technology that enables any data base to run on it whereas Bitcoin is the first successful application to come out of Blockchain. Bitcoin is a type of payment where its operated without any central authority such as banks. It’s designed as open source, where no one owns or controls Bitcoin. At the 2019 CES show, panels will include speakers for a digital money forum.
Climate Changes: From a lack of clean water in Flint, Michigan to the Congo, poor air quality in India and China, to the polluted beaches in Hawaii and Bali, we can’t escape how pollution affects everyone on our planet. What can we do to cleanup? Researchers, enterprises and startups are developing solutions to protect us from water, plastic and air pollutants.
- Water Pollution: Harmful chemicals, toxins and pesticides and many other pollutants swim in our water. In 2019 water pollution conferences will be held worldwide to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of Water Pollution and Treatment. One young inventor and scientist, Deepika Kurup, is a Harvard student who developed a water purification system after watching children in India drink dirty water. Her system harnesses solar energy to remove contaminants from water.
- Plastic Pollution: Plastic is polluting everything from our roads, to our beaches and even our food. Laws are being brought in to reduce plastic pollution as well as initiatives with major brands such as Stanley Black and Decker, Pepsi Co, L’Oreal, Nestle and more. This year watch as technology such as, Plastic-Eating Enzymes that can break down plastic in just a matter of days. And The Ocean Cleanup is using satellite imaging and machine learning to help clean up and capture the 5 trillion pieces of plastic trash they have observed in the world’s “ocean garbage patches.” They estimate that within 5 years they could collect 50% of the ocean’s garbage.
- Air/Climate: The effects of poor air quality has affected our planet and inhabitants. With countries such as Asia going greener by converting households from coal to cleaner energy sources such as gas and electricity, there is still a chance for backsliding. High technologies will continue, such as Elon Musk’s electric car company, Tesla and the Smog Free Tower in Rotterdam. As well as a change in food production and packaging. The development of technology in food packaging will see a prolonged shelf life for food that is made from eco friendly materials, with grapefruit seed extract being just one of them.
Disaster Preparedness: Are you ready for an emergency? With extreme weather events, like hurricanes, floods and wildfires, we’re living in a time of emergency preparedness. National disasters around the world cost billions of dollars and delays in disaster relief can escalate in the protection of life and infrastructure. But with real-time data and the use of social media, satellites and smartphones, the future of emergency management has started today.
- Solar Phone Chargers: Designed by two architecture, graduate students, the LuninAID was created after being asked to design a product to assist post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. The inflatable, solar-powered LED lantern, was born considering the dangerous conditions at night. They have remodeled their design as a 150+ lumen lantern, phone charger and the device is waterproof.
- Drones: During Hurricane Irma relief efforts, drones were praised by the FAA. With advantages over traditional search-and-rescue efforts, drones allow emergency workers to view disaster-stricken areas quickly. Cisco Systems announced they are investing in drone startups, like Kespry.
- Shelters: Temporary shelters are key to the recovery process. After such disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the Camp Fire Wildfires, we’ve seen a need for prefabricated and deployable shelters. Concrete Canvas, a UK-based company, developed a concrete fabric that hardens when exposed to air and water. Ikea’s Better Shelter is a solar-powered emergency tent, that has been used around the world. It provides security, insulation and durability and the shelters lasts up to three years. Disaster-relief architecture comes in different sizes and shapes– and with better technology and innovation, watch as these solutions are used in the real world.