2016 was a banner year for technology. Let’s take a look back at some of the biggest tech news from the last 12 months!
The Rise of VR
The technology that countless companies had been trying to commercialize for decades finally hit the scene in a successful way. Virtual reality is now a fully rendered reality that moved far beyond the original scope of gaming into the worlds of business and education. Students now take college tours from the comfort of their homes simply by putting on a helmet. Companies conduct interviews remotely while monitoring a person’s facial expressions as though he or she was in the room. There have also been many medical advancements that would not be possible without VR including more precise Lasix surgery options and critical organ replacement operations.
The Internet of Things
Although the Internet of things has not integrated commercially on the same level as virtual reality, it took great strides towards achieving that status in the near future. Forward thinking cities including Austin and Opelika are serving as the breeding grounds for the new technology, and many elites who have the money to deal with a few betas have already fully implemented it.
Pokemon Go and Augmented Reality
Pokemon took over the world like no Pokemon game before it this summer, but the difference is that this game was played in the real world. Using GPS technology in a brand new and innovative way, Pokemon Go created a new level of engagement for players by putting the Pokemon in the real world. The game created an entire real world infrastructure based around Pokestops and Pokeparties that brought augmented reality to the forefront of the commercial world. Because of the success of the game, Apple and other companies are giving AR, once considered the red headed step child of the tech reality world, another shot.
Combining the technologies of the Furbies and the Tamagotchis, the Hatchimals created a new Christmas craze. Hatchimals are stuffed animals that begin as eggs and hatch depending on how long the child plays with the toy.
The Rise of Nvidia
The absolutely insane market performance of Nvidia during the last quarter of 2016 really speaks to the acceptance of a new wave of technology. Named Company of the Year by many watchdog tech and finance agencies, Nvidia was able to transform a quiet near-monopoly on GPU units in VR and PC hardware into a massive sales boom. Nvidia now stands at the center of a burgeoning VR and AI market, providing the graphical interfaces for the future of cutting edge hardware technology.
Although Amazon and Google are very publicly fighting for the right to bring delivery drones to the masses, it was a little company called Matternet that actually began to legitimize the idea a few years ago. 2016 was the year that the idea was taken to another level through the public rivalry of Google and Amazon. As the infrastructure for this service improves, executives are talking about a complete socialization of ownership. No longer will you have to buy a hammer that you only use once or twice a year. You can simply have it delivered to you and return it as soon as you have finished with it!
Samsung’s Exploding Phones
The smart phone wars finally had a clear loser in 2016 – Samsung. Hundreds of reports that the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge spontaneously exploded when used finally forced Samsung to admit a flaw in the basic design. However, the situation was made worse when Samsung announced an all clear, then famous singer Cee Lo was actually recorded as a Samsung blew up in his ear! It remains to be seen if the company will fully recover from this in 2017.
Apple Defying the US Department of Justice
2016 may have showcased just how much power has changed at the elite levels – from governments to companies. First, Facebook completely blew off court dates with the IRS multiple times. Then Apple made news by categorially refusing to cooperate with an FBI request to unlock an Apple iPhone 5C for an investigation, stating that this would compromise the privacy of all of its customers. The FBI was forced to find a third party to crack the phone, but Apple itself did not give an inch.
Elizabeth Holmes’ Vaporware
Elizabeth Holmes was the new superstar in venture capitalism – building a $9 billion business in the biotech industry virtually overnight based on replacing an antiquated medical technology used in hematology. Holmes claimed that she could extract more information from a drop of blood than was previously available from some full operations. However, this claim turned out to be untrue. On top of this, her company was then investigated by regulatory bodies and private investors. She is now fighting for her professional life, and sending all of us a lesson: Make sure that you do not get caught up in your own hype and bite off more money than your products can chew.
The ups and downs of 2016 in technology are sure to extend into 2017. With exciting innovations on the verge of commercialization and new opportunities for investors and skilled workers alike, the world of technology is nowhere near done!