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IT Professionals - Technology Trends to Watch in 2013
Sunday, 18 November 2012 02:02

technology_trendsIt seems like every year, just before the big Black Friday sales begin, every technology magazine publishes their annual "Tech Trends to Watch" article, but as we in the IT business know – technology isn't limited to consumer products. That said, it never hurts to read about how we can make our annual contribution to the economy via new technology. Not only does it make Christmas morning a lot more fun, buying new gadgets means job security for many IT professionals.

In an effort to keep pace and stay in tune with emerging technologies, the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) releases its list of trends for the coming year. This organization is comprised 2,000+ technology companies. Tech enthusiasts always enjoy this annual preview of what's next on the horizon, and consumers want to know, what will become "mainstream" in 2013?

It may be difficult to predict which trends will grab the spotlight in the coming weeks, but here are some highlights from the CEA's "Technology Trends to Watch in 2013."

3-D Printers – This may not be something you hear about at your local Best Buy, but three dimensional printing seems to be headed directly to the mainstream. Also known as "additive manufacturing," it allows consumers to create common products such as jewelry, cell phone cases and figurines. The difference with 3-D printing is that the designs are created on line and downloaded, turning them into physical objects that can be created, layer by layer. While the technology has been around for decades, the cost of this technology is dropping. Future concerns include the potential for counterfeit goods, since intellectual property laws don't cover items created with a 3-D printer.

The Next Generation of Television – When it comes to TV, we all know that picture quality is everything. Most people are still reveling in their relatively new HDTVs, but the CEA suggests we may not want to get too attached. Make way for the 4k TV, which has been described as an HDTV on steroids. In other words, imagine what it would look like if your current HDTV set had four times the resolution. Look for this technology to start catching on by the middle of 2013, but the biggest challenge will be convincing consumers to make the switch.

Evolving Audio – Premium headphones may still seem like a luxury to most iPod owners; that is, until they try them on. Just as the iPod revolutionized the way American's listen to music, premium headphones like "Dr. Dre" Young's The Beats offer an extraordinary upgrade in sound quality. The only caveat is that one has to be willing (and able) to pay $199 to $399 to buy them.

Another trend for 2013 will be professional sound quality in home audio systems. As people migrate away from inexpensive iPod dock speakers, they may be ready for a more "evolved" version of digital audio. Let's face it: nothing beats the concert-hall-quality sound that comes from top quality speakers.

Mobile Phones for Africa – This may not have an impact on U.S. consumers, but if you specialize in telecommunications, take note. The CEA is projecting a major "mobile revolution" for Africa, which means many African citizens will be accessing the Internet for the first time.

Electrical and computer engineering professor Bruce Krogh of Carnegie-Mellon University weighs in on this trend: "Mobile phones are used for absolutely everything and used to the extreme by everyone [in Africa]. Not only does this open up Africa to mobile banking, social networking and business applications, it also represents an opportunity for U.S. tech companies to expand. Recent college graduates should take note that IT jobs may become available within companies that supply technology to the African continent.

Classroom Technology for American Children – Depending on where you live, you may have already seen a significant change in how children are educated. In many cases, schoolchildren have traded in their loose-leaf binders for tablet computers and electronic textbooks. But this is only the beginning; technology in the classroom continues to grow across multiple applications. It helps children learn in the modality that best suits their learning style, and it helps teachers track their students' progress.

Cloud computing and "Bring Your Own Device" initiatives have facilitated better communication between teacher and student. Now, in addition to a classroom "wiki" page, students can watch online lectures, communicate on group projects with other students, and access practices tests for every subject. While the CEA notes that challenges remain on funding new technology, many students are already more tech-savvy than their parents.

Photo Courtesy of Idea Go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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