Technology Change the User’s Daily Life

Language assistants,smartphonesor super-thin televisions: The latest digital developments focus on the everyday lives of users. These novelties are expected this year.

For many years it has been smartphones, then VR glasses, and recently speakers with a built-in voice assistant: new technologies are changing the daily lives of their users faster and faster.

“In the years before, technologies have repeatedly come up and were hyped quickly, without knowing the extent – from Google Glass to the drone,” observes Theresa Schleicher, consultant at the Zukunftsinstitut in Frankfurt. In the meantime, companies are focusing more on things such as smart everyday helpers.

Digital servants
Language assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri or the Google Assistant have boarded smartphones, laptops and living rooms over the past year. In the future, the assistants will be in almost all networked devices and waiting for commands.

So far, the digital assistants have quickly reached their limits. In the future, they will not only be able to respond more reliably to direct commands, but will also understand indirect wishes.

“In principle, you have to be able to say ‘I’m cold’, and then the heating goes on,” says Sven Hansen from the computer magazine “c’t”.

“Artificial intelligence is one of the most important technology trends,” emphasizes Christoph Loeffler, Group Director of the design and innovation consulting agency Fjord in the German-speaking world.

Especially in logistics, manufacturing and warehousing, but also in the area of service, artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots plays a role “, explains trend expert Schleicher. In the car, the assistants are on board as co-drivers; driving assistants such as traffic jam pilots point the way towards autonomous driving.

Houses with ears
Alexa and Co. are currently listening to their users’ wishes via smart loudspeakers or cell phones. Sooner or later, however, special hardware will probably be superfluous.

Even kitchen appliances such as microwaves already have language assistants on board. “The tendency is for more than one microphone in the house,” says “c’t” employee Hansen.

At first, however, the number of language assistants is increasing at short notice, predicts Alexander Henschel, Managing Director of the consulting firm Goetzpartners in Munich. “But then three to five dominant players will prevail.”

However, the smart home of the future is not just changing the everyday lives of residents through voice control. A combination of sensors, intelligent camera systems and screens will help in the future to cope with everyday life, says innovation consultant Loeffler.

In addition to shopping and entertainment, the connected home could also provide for the safety of the residents – for example, by interpreting unusual movement patterns or noises as a possible emergency situation. Whether Internet companies, energy suppliers or telecommunications providers will be holding the strings is still uncertain.

Most recently, TV screens kept breaking new records. After HD (1280 x 720 pixels) came Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) and 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels). In the meantime,s 8K device (7680 x 4320 pixels) are already on the market.

The new OLED technology also promises better contrast values. The added value of this superlative for customers, however, is questionable, agree the experts: “Even with HD you have very good pictures,” says Henschel.

Smartphone, notebook, tablet – these are still different devices. If you look at the new models, the classic categories blur more and more. With high-performance chips and docking solutions, smartphones will also be suitable as work tools in the future.

Hybrid formats such as convertibles, which work as a tablet as well as a notebook with a keyboard, are also increasing. “The manufacturers are trying to sell people: That can be anything,” Hansen describes the development of the hardware. In addition, the trend is towards frameless displays and wireless connections.

Advanced reality
The hype surrounding virtual reality (VR), which culminated with the marketability of mass-ready VR glasses such as the Oculus Rift, has eased somewhat. In video games, the technology continues to play an important role, observes management consultant Henschel. Even more important, however, is augmented reality (AR), ie the projection of virtual content into the real world.