2015 is believed to be a year that will propel technological innovation even further than ever before.
Three major trends: 3D Printing, Wearable Technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will be on the forefront of this coming year. The evidence of this movement has been seen within 2 major North American events, the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) which took place recently in Las Vegas and the Cantech Investment Conference which took place on January 15.
3D Printing is believed to be disrupting the manufacturing industry and is seen as the biggest threat to China’s economy. Products may soon be printed on demand in the comfort of a consumer’s own home, instead of a factory on the other side of the globe.
3D printers were predominantly exhibited at CES. 3D Printers were furiously producing food, toys, clothing, tools, medical devices and many other items at various booths throughout the event. 3D printing had a presence at Cantech as well. Vancouver-based company Tinkerine occupied its own booth. This company is on track to making sure China’s biggest nightmare comes true – 3D Printers as common as TVs and toaster ovens in the homes of millions of consumers.
Tinkerine’s recently released DittoPro comes pre-assembled and makes 3D printing a no-brainer with its accessible interface. The small size allows it to fit on a desk or countertop and the company claims the quality of printed items is comparable to that of $50,000 machines.
Whether it’s collecting data on your bodily functions or the controversy over fashion, in the world of technology, nothing has been talked about more than the phenomenon of wearable technology. It is the wave of the future, from Virtual Reality headsets, to fitness tracking bracelets, to headbands that measure your brain activity, to any number of other applications where wearable tech can be seen.
TempTraq, an innovation in parenting, made its debut at CES this past week. This wearable patch sends parents updates on their baby’s temperature to their smartphone for 24 hours. Cantech, of course had its own wearable tech. The VC Fund Pycap Venture Partners gave passersby a first-hand demo of a wristband that can monitor your blood pressure and give you its correlation to an Olympic athlete down to a 90 year old chain smoker. This wearable device is designed for ease of use and self-monitoring, in which the most novice of tech users can operate. All readings are stored on the cloud allowing for easy comparisons and an alert will sound should medical assistance be required.
Another tech trend that received major attention at this year’s CES was the Internet of Things (IoT) as it is seen to “awaken the world” by allowing data to be collected on internal organs, on home appliances, on plants, etc. While this concept has been around for some time, major industry players such as Google, Apple and Samsung have stepped up their presence in a big way.
These players aren’t simply coming out with IoT devices, but platforms that can spur the adoption and creation of new IoT apps. Apple recently released its HomeKit certification protocol, which enables IoT devices to work safely and securely with iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads. CES had a number of HomeKit devices that allow you to lock or unlock your house using Siri.
Google’s Nest Labs (a manufacturer of “smart” thermostat and smoke alarms) announced 15 partners to connect third party devices to its own smart devices. These include an IP phone that calls emergency services in the event that a smoke alarm goes off.
The development of these platforms mimics that of the introduction of the smartphone platforms, Apple iOS and Google Android, back in 2007 and 2008. Like the smartphone platforms, these IoT platforms have the potential of accelerating growth in this sector and possible industry disruptors (think about Smartphone app Uber and the taxi industry). And, as with the iPhone, consumer adoption of IoT devices will likely lead the “enterprise adoption”, or the “Enterprise of Things” as some journalists have coined. Closer to home, CanTech exhibitors such as Synodon are taking the IoT concept further with their industry solutions. Synodon provides data sets to energy firms that use this information to improve energy efficiency, safety and regulatory compliance.
3D Printing, Wearable Technology and the Internet of Things are unstoppable trends that will drastically change the way we live. Keep an eye out in 2015, because this is a pivotal year that will one day make it possible for you to print products at home instead of going to a store, read your brainwaves from a headband, and have your flowers tell you when they are thirsty!
This article was coauthored by Amelia Dookhee and Mario Fernandopulle of of Pycap Venture Partners.