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Technology Forecast 2017

A look at the possible future of telematics, technology and innovation

We’ve come a long way since GPS and satellite navigation systems were introduced in the early nineties. Telematics systems and services now provide incredible safety and preventive maintenance features, even allowing us to optimize petrol usage and giving us tips on how to improve our driving. As you read this, self-driving cars are being tested around the world and we are on the very cusp of a complete revolution in transport, both public and private. So, what does the near future hold for us in terms of telematics, smart cars and cities, and the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things is already here. Smart homes and their devices are already connected to the Internet and allow us to automatically custom-tailor and remotely control many services. We are constantly connected. And yet, it’s still a niche market. The greatest culprit in this delayed explosion of the Internet of Things is the lack of universal standards. As soon as our devices are seamlessly integrated and capable of communicating amongst themselves the Internet of Things will be ready to truly blossom. And 2017 could be the year.

Machine learning – or what is commonly referred to as “artificial intelligence” – has advanced by leaps and bounds. Our smartphones now routinely inform us about how long it will take to drive to our next appointment or what the weather is like where we are about to travel to, but it’s only the beginning. Soon, in conjunction with a seamless, integrated Internet of Things and universal connectivity, our devices will provide us with invaluable information on just about everything we can (and can’t) imagine.

The year that is ending also witnessed the introduction of the Oculus Rift – and many cheaper versions, even one made of cardboard – bringing virtual and augmented reality to schools and homes around the world. Or think about the wild success of Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game that had teenagers constantly scrutinizing their smartphones to find cartoon characters amidst the real world. Indeed, augmented reality holds vast promise for incredible added value features in every field. And, above all, it is mature. Sooner than later, our spectacles, car windscreens and maybe even our house windows will provide us with information in real-time, just like the visors of jet fighter helmets. Our physical and virtual worlds are about to blend together, introducing the future.

All of this clearly points to a massive increase in automation. Telematics systems will take over many of the menial tasks that have been second nature to us when getting into a car or arriving at home or the office. And universal connectivity and the Internet of Things will assure that our preferences travel alongside us wherever we go.

The foundations for this revolution, the fuel driving this innovation is telematics data. Big data, as it is commonly referred to, is the cornerstone of the future; without it, telematics and artificial intelligence would not exist. The development of new pattern recognition systems to mine big data banks and extract valuable information in all fields – from medicine to food and from business to transport – will enable us to step into the future.

And, last but not least, on-demand services will extend to every niche of our lives: rides, food deliveries, housing, lodging whilst away from home. Drones are ready to transport goods to wherever we may require them. Digital services and products are already available at the touch of a fingertip, and this service model will extend to myriad new fields and sectors.

This is what we are expecting for the coming year based on current research and development. It’s what our world may look like very soon, maybe even in 2017. Of course, technology and innovation always have a way of surprising us. It may take a little longer or the future may suddenly arrive, turning even some of the above into legacy systems. We’ll have to wait and see for ourselves.

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