What’s Next, According to Stuff

A range of new and exciting technologies are already in the market in 2015 and have the potential to change the world, as stated by Will Dunn, Editor of Stuff Magazine.

Will joined us at OMD Innovation Week to share his point of view on the latest innovations, including virtual reality, self-driving cars, drones, smart homes, wearables and more; pointing out some areas for development that will truly make the technology become consumer success stories.

Will used Stuff Magazine covers to bring to life each of the pieces of tech he was discussing and explained how the cover had evolved from women in bikinis to what’s now a much more modern and colourful cover that focuses on the technology and a big story that will grab people’s attention. One of the best examples was a mobile phone edition with a ‘flippable’ cover, almost like a playing card, where the top area was designed for iOS users and the other half was Android; this appealed to people with either type of device and gave them a choice for their preference.

A key theme across technologies was the need to develop artificial intelligence; for self-driving cars, where safety is super important, the machines need to understand the complexity of the environment and have some solutions for unpredictability on the roads. Will also mentioned that the key innovation for wearables, such as the Apple Watch, hasn’t quite happened yet. When your immediate needs start to be taken into consideration that’s when the devices will become useful and change the way people live, for example sending information about your whereabouts and what situation you are in, then the watch would automatically offer you a solution, such as quick access to a taxi home late at night. AI is improving quickly with work being done on neural networks, where technology will recognise objects better and quicker than the human brain, such a dog breed.

HTC’s virtual reality product has started taking the next step with this technology, placing sensors on the outside of the headset to understand the environment around you and allow the user to physically walk around the virtual environments. In the future these products will be communication devices, placing you anywhere in the world or beyond.

There are various pieces of amazing technology around the home that can make life easier, however, the future is when all of these things can connect and talk to each other to provide even more useful solutions. Toshiba, Apple and Samsung are some of the larger organisations working on projects like this.

The evolution of the mobile phone may be Google’s Project Ara, where pieces on the back of the device can clip on and off, ‘modules’ that you can change to suit your needs, such as a more powerful camera, a longer-life battery, a blood sugar monitor, almost the hardware equivalent of apps. The ability to customise your tech was one of the reasons PCs were so popular vs Apple computers. Could history be repeated with mobile phones?

A thought provoking question from the audience was whether humans will one day have implants that will enhance their lives in a number of ways, whilst this feels like science fiction, with an aging population, the likelihood is that people will begin to demand and need these ‘augmentations’ for health reasons in particular. Currently, there are contact lenses that are able to measure your blood sugar on the go, which helps people with diabetes, as well as their doctors to collect data about their patient.

Whilst the technology of the future already exists, there are improvements to be made in making them more intelligent and linking everything up to really make a difference and change the world.

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Jason Cotrina-Vasquez

Jason is our Associate Director of Social Advertising, with over five years’ experience of social media activity at OMD UK. He is uniquely placed to comment on the big changes within social media, and the consequences for brands and advertisers.

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