Tech that’s right here, right now

You won’t have to wait too long for this tech, as Tim Stackpool reports on technology ready for the office this year.

5G

Our smart devices will have a new, faster and more efficient way to chat to each other in 2019. 5G wireless communication will be further rolled-out, with significant successful testing across the world already underway last year. Bolstering the ‘internet of things’, 5G promises to have our mobile phones, printers, databases, cars, medical gear, and our home dishwasher all talking to their manufacturer to report on maintenance requirements, and to online suppliers like Amazon to automatically purchase consumables.

Smart camera and face recognition

Elevator and lift manufacturers are combining existing technology to create a lift that knows where you want to go. It recognises your face, and remembers your most travelled destinations throughout the day. By placing cameras in strategic corridors, and noting your movements through the building, software designers for lifts have developed a method of predicting your most likely destination as you approach the lift. That way, the lift can be summoned before you press the call button, and can also appropriately predict destinations during periods of high demand.

Predictive text will create drafts from scratch

Embraced by some in 2018 as Google added it to the desktop version of Gmail, typing an email gave the user an option to have the next word and phrase suggested using ‘Smart Compose’. Some users have opted-out, but the experience of millions of others has improved the algorithm. By pulling from your message history, Google says “Smart Compose helps save you time by cutting back on repetitive writing, while reducing the chance of spelling and grammatical errors. It can even suggest relevant contextual phrases”. Moving forward, Google hopes these features will encourage EAs to pressure their IT departments away from MS Outlook in preference to Gmail for Business in 2019.

Biometrics

An increasing need for data security will see the introduction of biometrics rather than passwords become the norm. We’re well used to using our fingerprint to unlock our smartphone, but further demands on information security are reaching towards the unique electrical pulses created by our heartbeat to unlock our workstations. Developed over the past five years, these pulses are detected wirelessly and remotely, unlocking your computer as your approach your desk, and automatically locking it again as you walk away to a meeting or to grab lunch.

Augmented reality

With Virtual Reality no longer the soupe du jour, Augmented Reality is fast becoming entrenched when it comes to workplace training. By engaging the camera on a smart device, a guide to using the new office printer, photocopier or video conference gear can be overlayed on the screen, indicating the real buttons, settings and paper trays required for various functions. By ‘talking you through’ and following your exact actions, Augmented Reality Learning ensures that the education is practically applied, and can be repeated to assist when certain devices or operators are not enlisted for months at a time, and features of the equipment are forgotten.

Bendable smartphone screen

Not just a hinged phone with two screens, the foldable display bends the actual screen, allowing us to carry a phone sized tablet without the bulk. Leave it folded to act as a regular phone, unfold the device for a tablet-like experience. This tech has been promised for years, but a recent unveiling in front of a huge audience resulted in thunderous applause as the much promised, but elusive development in smartphone technology was finally demonstrated. Reliable foldable displays are likely to become the next battle between iPhone and Android features.

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