Key Moments of Tech This Year
Google Home and the new Echo Dot are essentially smart home speakers powered by a virtual assistant. Alexa and Google Assistant can answer questions, play music, read weather and traffic reports, or sports results. As a first step towards being a smart home control center they can also control smart devices, set alarms and tell jokes. Both of them offer a glimpse into the smart home of the future and how artificial intelligence could reshape our lifestyle.
Pixel and Android Nougat
Pixel, the first smartphone to be made entirely by Google was this year’s breakthrough in consumer tech. Not only it was a huge step for the company, but it also came out at a great timing. The new - but fashionably not too new - smartphone was preceded by the launch of Nougat, the latest version of Android, featuring a multitude of new functions and an artificially intelligent Google Assistant.
Artificial Intelligence beat human at the ancient board game Go
This March, the Google DeepMind Challenge brought a huge moment in the history of artificial intelligence. AlphaGo, a program developed by DeepMind to crack the ancient Chinese board game Go, beat the highest-ranking world champion Lee Sedol. The game is said to be much more difficult for computers to master than chess or other board games because of the limited data available during the game that lets the moves be limited to intuition.
Virtual Reality: 4 new platforms launched in 2016
Gaming and entertainment are once more revolutionised by the emergence of new Virtual Reality platforms and devices. Developers such as Oculus, Sony and Google have made their impression on this technology throughout the year.
A new kind of desktop PC
Microsoft’s Surface Studio is definitely a new and different type of all-in-one desktop PC. Apart from its innovative PixelSense display, it transforms into a giant tablet for drawing.
Pokemon Go and Augmented Reality
Pokemon Go was definitely the hit of this summer with thousands of people hunting down their favourite characters on the streets all around the world. The location-based game has taught us not only about the unexplored grounds of augmented reality technology but also lots on direct marketing and activations with many local businesses cashing in to set up popular Pokemons on their site. Tech companies are now reassessing what can be done with the technology.
Robots in retail
According to a Deloitte report on 2016 retail trends, robots are more common in stores, moving beyond the warehouse. The list of retailers using artificial intelligence to help with customer service was adding names like Amazon, Best Buy and Lowe's. Lowe's partnered with Silicon Valley-based Fellow Robots to develop LoweBot, a NAVii machine that can navigate itself through store aisles and scan inventory on the shelves.
Delivery drones tests
Google, Amazon and 7-Eleven have raced to be the first regular commercial drone delivery service in the world. Both 7-Eleven alongside partner Flirtey and Amazon have succeeded their first drone delivery tests and plan to broaden reach in the US and UK.
The world’s first public self-driving taxi service was tested in a small district of Singapore in August, courtesy of the Massachusetts-based startup NuTonomy. A few weeks after, Uber opened a self-driving vehicle trial to the Pittsburgh public, an initiative later expanded to San Francisco.
Hope you are looking forward to an exciting 2017!