July 15, 2013    /    by

What is the next big thing in technology?

Enquiring minds typically want to know: What is the next big thing in technology? The nice thing about that question is that you can go almost anywhere with the answer.

Over the years, I am often asked questions from friends, colleagues and family related to computer security, physical security, technology infrastructure, smartphones or mobile technology in general. But during summer cookouts, vacations and extended family outings, I typically get asked one question more than most others.

Enquiring minds typically want to know: What is the next big thing in technology? The nice thing about that question is that you can go almost anywhere with the answer.

New tech trends is a good conversation starter that has many intriguing twists. While I hope to offer you some helpful answers below, I regularly do some personal research a few times a year to see what’s hot online.

The “next big thing” answers from a recent Google search on this topic revealed:

1)   Augmented reality – “With increasingly powerful technologies, the human universe is being reimagined way beyond Google Glass' photo-tapping and info cards floating in space above your eye. The
future is fashionable eyewear, contact lenses or even bionic eyes with immersive 3D displays, conjuring up a digital layer to ‘augment’ reality, enabling entire new classes of applications and user experiences.”

Wearable technology was also the second pick in this search, but I am grouping wearable technology with number one (augmented reality).

 2) Moving down the list, 3D printing is another hot topic. While they are very expensive right now, the prices are dropping fast. With the surprise that even guns can be made with relatively cheap 3D printers, the future is bright for this technology. But remember, the same technology can be used good or evil.

3)   Less well known, we have Graphene. “Graphene is the thinnest material in the world, basically a sheet or layer of carbon only one atom in thickness, which has led it to be described as the world's first two-dimensional material.

It's transparent, yet it's a superb conductor of heat and electricity.

It's stretchy and flexible, yet it's harder than a diamond and hundreds of times stronger than steel.  And it's so cheap and easy to make that a smart high school student probably could create a sample of graphene.

 Among the few ideas being suggested for potential uses of graphene are flexible electronics, such as a cellphone that you could fold or roll up into a tube or a piece of clothing or a even a potato chip bag that could function as a digital device. Rust-proof metal coatings, medical sensors, seawater desalination, even a potential replacement for silicon in semiconductors are among the ideas being considered as graphene applications.”

 And on the more fringe side of hot new technology, I add one interesting development regarding space exploration.  

 4)   Space exploration via balloons“Scientists need to devise ways not just to process the new knowledge we gather, but also to gather that knowledge as efficiently -- read: as cheaply -- as possible….

 A team of researchers in the U.S. and Europe think they've done just that. The group has devised a system for exploring the universe through a telescope that will hover over 99 percent of the Earth's atmosphere.  And that telescope will be hanging from a balloon.”

5)   Last, but not least, on my list is next generation smartphones. My reason is simply that everyone seems to have a smartphone – or be getting one. Also, friends and family want to know what is coming next. “It's rumored that Google is working on a flexible, unbreakable cell phone that could be released at some point in early 2014.”

  In conclusion, if this topic interests you, you may want to attend a conference on the topic of the “next big thing.” For example, Bloomberg recently held this summit which… “convenes the most influential investors and entrepreneurs in technology, science and data to examine the future of technology, business and how innovation is changing the human experience. The program will look at the hunt for the ‘Next Big Thing,’ the future of money, mobile, design and the technologies that are reshaping industries.”

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. And asking new questions.