Looking Back at 2016 and Forward to 2017 Ahead of CES

  • techUK techUK
    Wednesday04Jan 2017

    Our team discusses their highlights for 2016 including display improvements, voice interaction and AR; and debate where this might take us in 2017 ahead of CES

Happy New Year! As techUK prepares to the world’s largest consumer electronics show, CES, in Las Vegas, this has sparked a conversation at techUK HQ about our technology highlights of 2016 and what 2017 may bring. Below are just a few of the ideas being discussed and a few predictions from Paul Hide who is attending CES this week:

Julian David, CEO techUK

“In 2016 I wonder if finally we saw the beginning of the end for paper with the high interest seen in LG's roll-up screen which was first shown at CES in 2016. Ever since I joined this industry many years ago we have had many innovations which have heralded the end of paper either in the office or in books. So far it has not happened - why not? Paper is just too good as a User Interface. It is flexible, endlessly configurable, lightweight and nice to touch. So what's wrong with it? Well just one thing - it is not interactive. But do we need any display device at all in this age of Voice recognition and AI? Again it's just not enough to have all your information and interaction through sound - we also need vision. So if we really have the first fully flexible interactive display technology then maybe this will be a breakthrough for human and machine interaction. Imagine the possibilities to build visual interaction into all sorts of devices and everyday objects - no need for headsets if everything can transform into a display. Wearables suddenly become useful tools and home entertainment moves from a dominating static device in the corner of the room to a roller blind. Maybe 2017 will be the year the roll-up screen goes mainstream.” 

Matthew Evans, Executive Director, BSG, SmarterUK, Internet of Things

“For me, 2016 was the year of a great, friendly and easy user-interface: voice. Voice interfaces are not new, of course, we’ve been using voice dictation software for many years and Siri and other personal assistants have been on our phone for since late 2011. What is different is the context and the increase in capabilities that we are seeing. The context is the smart home and that matters. As much as I love tech I still don’t want to dictate text messages into my phone on a bus. When I come home then asking out loud for my lights and heating to come on is a different proposition. Then there is the capability. Companies are clearly doing a lot of work to lower latency response times and increase the range and accuracy of the listening; so you can now be understood further away from the microphone even with a Welsh accent like mine. This is based on substantive amounts of research and development frequently utilising the power of the cloud. But what makes it truly different is the scale, we are now seeing in areas like Alexa’s Skills library we are seeing the emergence of the first app stores for voice. That means that whilst there will still be a time and a place for voice, 2017 will see a whole lot more innovation.” 

Sue Daley, Head of Cloud, Data, Analytics and AI

“In 2016 we have seen more and more organisations, of all size and sector, taking advantage of the big data and analytics tools and technology available to unlock the insights, knowledge and value of their data. This year the UK will continue to remain at the forefront of the adoption and implementation of advanced data technologies such as predictive analytics, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2017, an increase in the convergence between data driven AI technologies with automation, robotics and IoT devices will mean social, legal and ethical questions about how data is being used will need to be discussed. This will be a key area of work for techUK's data governance group in 2017.” 

Paul Hide, Director of Market Sector Programmes

“Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies came of age in 2016. Immersive experiences are now becoming embedded in our everyday lives and augmented applications on tablets and smartphones are used by millions, if not billions of users, every week. Virtual experiences had been confined to commercial applications and the niche gaming Part 4. Showcasing UK Innovatorsmarket since the launch of VR 30 years ago but we are now on the cusp of a major growth in applications. VR content is now being produced for drama and new programming strategies. Respected broadcasters like the BBC are investing heavily in developing a wide range of content and many now see this as one of the biggest opportunities ever for the digital entertainment sector. In this fast-paced society, the opportunity to be transported into a location and situation of your choosing, anytime, anywhere achieved simply by donning a set of goggles, provides an escapism that will appeal to many.” 

As well as supporting techUK members attending CES, Paul reported on the developments at the show:


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