As long as consumers continue to crave electronics and designers continue to dream big, high-tech companies will have their hands full as innovation keeps accelerating at a startling pace.
What was considered futuristic a decade ago is fast becoming standard. In the automotive world, self-parking technology is no longer seen as anything other than ordinary, for instance, and driverless cars are no longer limited to James Bond movies.
The smart car is only getting smarter. Today's car of the future drives itself using software, cameras, and a scanning laser to detect turns. Software plots a route through Google maps, which helps the car reach its destination. It's aware of speed limits and traffic patterns and known obstacles. (See: Get Used to it: The 'Smart' Car Will Get Smarter.)
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) last year began showing off its driverless car on the streets of California and racked up more than 100,000 miles in just months. Google says the car is not intended to replace drivers, but rather help them. It may seem like an unusual project for Google, but the concept could have major benefits in the long term, especially for people who cannot physically drive themselves, such as the elderly or the disabled.
Google has also initiated a race into space where teams of engineers have been asked to design software that will take passengers on commercial flights into orbit. Think about the type of vehicles the concept will spur in the future. The Jetsons no longer seems like a cartoon.
And if that wasn't enough, Google and the X Prize Foundation last year initiated a $30 million competition for the first privately-funded team to send a robot to the moon; travel 500 meters; and transmit video, images, and data back to Earth. The teams were picked last month.
Another company draws its innovative dreams in glass. Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW)’s company video touting the wonders and possibilities of glass has gone viral on YouTube, getting 8 million views in just one month.
In the video, a commuter holds her smartphone, equipped with near field communication (NFC) technology, up to a map and, just like that, is able to download the directions she needs. Corning informed me via tweet that "No specific company products are represented in #Corning's video, but @Microsoft is working with multi-touch technology."
If Corning's vision for glass is realized, the electronics industry will need to support a plethora of new components and wireless innovations in cars, homes, office buildings, and more.
Another vision for the future is to serve up coupons to consumers' mobile devices, based on their location. This would allow the consumer to walk into the physical retail store and show the electronic coupon to the merchant. Or, a consumer finds a product equipped with an NFC chip in the store; the phone reads the chip and produces the coupon on the mobile device. The merchant then scans the coupon with a special reader when the consumer checks out.
Of course, it will cost hardware manufacturers thousands of dollars to create these platforms, and it will cost retail companies millions of dollars to install the point-of-sale (PoS) software and cash machines.
Visions are nice, but what will it take to make them a reality? And do high-tech and electronics companies have the resources?
You know, it wouldn't take that much effort to improve our youngsters' education. The technology is available. The data is in abundance. Teachers are better trained now than they were in the past. So what's missing? Application. Memorization was never a great way to truly learn something. No. The ability to learn and truly duplicate information is based entirely on how one handles three primary barriers to study: 1. misunderstood words, symbols or phrases; 2. steep gradients 2. lack of mass.
The next time you see a student (or even a co-worker at a conference) look sleepy or yawn, you can bet they've just passed a word (spoken or read) they don't truly understand. That will block or dilute any further understanding of the topic. Oh, you'll get denial, but if you persist and go back w/ your student to the last moment they felt bright on the data, you'll find they've passed over something they didn't really get or perhaps dubbed in a definition that may be partly right. Clear the word up thoroughly and you'll see an alert individual again.
If teachers and educators thought and operated with this, they'd have a remarkable upswing in grades and scores.
eemom, you have raised a very valid issue here. For ages , our education system is lagging behind all the innovations coming into our day-to-day use. Even the computer courses in todays colleges (except for a few reputed institutes) teach some age old computer languages which are no more used on any of the computers . As you have rightly mentioned, the education sector has to wake up to the availability of the latest technology which can make the education a more rich experince which every kid would love to have, away from those age old techniques relying mainly on memorising things by heart. The true education comes by experimenting and experinecing the things and that freedom to do the same is available with todays advanced technology.
All these innovations are absolutely wonderful and they provide a great view into what our future will hold. The big disconnect in my mind is when do today's capabilities as well as tomorrow's advances get integrated into our education system. Maybe some schools are more advanced than others but I see kids relying on technology without understanding its negatives as well as its positives. I see kids (by kids, I mean middle school and high school) learn through the same old tired techniques of rote memorization, quizes, tests, projects that do not aim to educate, etc. Some school make use of smart boards and virtual learning, but not enough is being done to advance our education system to where our technology is today.
Mobile technology has been encumbered by the lingering limitations in signal reception. Modern society heretofore has been accustomed to robust communication schemes where a message, once sent, always found its receiver. Now a relatively large percentage of communications are marred by connection failures, making mission-critical usage of mobile technology a dicey proposition.
I really like your idea, we all want everything to happen without lifting a pin. Healthcare industry is huge and the use of electronic devices are advancing everyday. I works in the clinical diagnostic areas and the work had been simplified by the use of technological devices. You can easily diagnose diseases with no stress. There are so many growth opportunities in the use of technolgical devices in the healthcare fields. I am hoping that a time is coming when the inventors will have a second look on how to develop a world-wide healthcare innovations that will be accepted like internet and cell phones.
NFC is exciting technology for sure. But the bigger question is this technology safe enough ? The more the mobile phone is used for payments (as a “wallet in your phone”) the more it becomes a target for attackers. NFC is easily susceptible for phishing, fuzzing, and spoofing attacks. I hope these obstacles are overcome soon so that this technology can be used by the masses.
As far medical science and healthcare is concerned, continuous innovation is happening there also but it is not under the limelight. Slowly the general public is becoming aware of the newer techniques used in surgery, diagnosis, patient information management and healthcare record keeping. The use of Electronics, computers, new sensors and communications is ever increasing in this area also. Harward business review of 2010 (blogs.hbr.org/innovations-in-health-care ) has pointed out 10 areas of inovation in healthcare - Robotic surgery, Tailor made medicine based upon the patients genetic profile are two things that are worth mentioning from this report. The remote diagnosis of patients in far away hospitals by expert doctors , using robotic cameras and associated sensors is helping in dianosing the patients by expert doctors without the need to travel and be physically present. All these kind innovations are possible because of the advancements in Electronis, Computing technologies and communications. Such innovations are not just for fun or leisure but many times they are saving the precious human lives. Tomorrow's smart phones are likely to be equipped with sensors to measure persons vital health parameters -pulse rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels and automatically send this info to their family doctors based upon which the doctors could prescribe the right medicine by SMS . Well the list is endless...
Hello prabhakar_deosthali, thank you for taking the time to post. Yes, I agree, many of the innovations today occur in automotive and mobile because that's where the money is headed, but healthcare offers incredible possibilities. Can you point us to any of those innovations to which you refer? I remember years ago Intel built a medicine cabinet and sensor network to help remind those stricken with Alzheimer to take their medications or remind them of other routine things that many of us take for granted as everyday actions.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.