Cisco predicts future technologies
Company’s chief technologist lists ten tech trends that will change the world in the next ten years
Dave Evans, Cisco's chief futurist and chief technologist for the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has revealed what he sees to be the top 10 technology trends that will change the world in the next decade.
Evans said that 3D printers, sensor networks, virtual humans, and other technologies under development will drastically change our world in the decade to come.
Evans' first trend is ‘The Internet of Things', he said that the internet is evolving from an informational and transactional medium, to a social web, enabling immediate knowledge sharing and wisdom of a crowd.
"We are at an inflection point-a new beginning-an era of dramatic and accelerated innovation of new technology applications that will benefit humanity," Evans said.
The number of internet-connected things will reach 50 billion by 2020, which is more than six devices for every person on Earth.
Many people in the developed world already have three or more full-time devices connected to the internet.
The second trend is the information boom; about five exabytes of unique information were created in 2008, equivalent to one billion DVDs.
Currently 1.2 zettabytes are being created, with one zettabyte equal to 1,024 exabytes. This is the same as every person on Earth tweeting for 100 years, or 125 million years of your favourite one-hour TV show. The love of high-definition video accounts for much of the increase. By Cisco's count, 91% of internet data in 2015 will be video.
Evans' third trend is the development and adoption of cloud.
According to him, by 2020, one-third of all data will live in or pass through the cloud. Global cloud services revenue will jump 20% per year, and IT spending on innovation and cloud computing could top $1 trillion by 2014.
Evans also expects that more intelligence will be built into communication. Things like contextual and location-based information.
"With an always-connected device, the network can be more granular with presence information, tapping into a personal sensor to know that a person's asleep, and route an incoming call to voicemail. Or knowing that person is travelling at 60 mph in a car, and that this is not the time for a video call," he said.
The fourth growing trend will be an increase in network speeds, Evans said that network speeds in the home have increased by 170,000 times since 1990; they will continue to increase three million times in the next 10 years. In line with this, networks will scale to meet future demands.
The fifth trend will be the development of social networking and always-on connectivity. Evans predicted that in 10 years anyone will be able to broadcast anywhere on any device, providing unprecedented transparency.
For the sixth trend, Evans has predicted that power will become more efficient. He said that a city with one million inhabitants will be built every month over the next two decades. More efficient methods to power those cities are becoming a necessity, particularly solar energy.
Trend seven, according to Evans is the movement of items from the physical to the virtual. Examples include gesture-based computing, interactive TV, facial recognition, and always on technologies that will soon be able to be incorporated into glasses and contact lenses - all of which will be connected to the cloud and social graphs for personalised content streaming.
Evans said that the eighth trend will be the development of virtual humans, both physical (robots) and online avatars, which will be added to the global workforce.
Between now and then, augmented reality and gesture-based computing will enter classrooms, medical facilities and communications, and transform them as well.
The ninth technology trend that will change the world is the development of intelligent medical technologies and the growth of intelligent computing.
Evans said that it is predicted that it will be possible to make a conscious computer with super human intelligence before 2020.
The final technology trend according to Evans is the development of technology that results in fundamental changes to us as a society and species.
Examples include; in July 2009, Spanish researchers discovered substance for photographic memory; in October 2009, Italian and Swedish scientists developed the first artificial hand with feeling; in March 2010, retina implants restored vision to blind patients; and in June 2011, Texas Heart Institute developed a "spinning" heart with no pulse, no clogs and no breakdowns.
While the early use of these technologies were to repair unhealthy tissue or fix the consequences of brain injury, eventually designer enhancements will be available to all. Ultimately, humans will use so much technology to mend, improve or enhance their bodies to live much longer - up to 200 years in the near future, according to Evans.