JOHANNESBURG – The year 2018 was incredibly exciting for the technology sector, which has seen myriad advancements.
These include the fundamentals of artificial intelligence (AI) being established, robots helping around the house and consumer electronic innovations such as TVs that are so thin they might be mistaken for windows or paintings.
The year 2019 promises to be another significant one as people's attitudes are changing and technology becomes embedded in our lives. Smart electronics manufacturers will ensure their plans for the future match evolving consumer needs with suitable technology.
We take a look at the biggest innovations for 2019 from AI to lightning-fast internet speeds and flexible viewing surfaces, and we shed some light on how these evolving technologies will impact on how we live and work.
AI has experienced a marked increase in investments and, according to Forbes, 80 percent of enterprises are investing in AI while 30 percent are planning to expand their AI investments in the next three years. It's estimated that, during 2017, venture, corporate and seed investors put about $3.6 billion (R50.7bn) into AI and into machine learning companies.
This investment trend has given rise to innovation in deep learning products that have the potential to change the world for the better.
Yes, AI has been around since the 1950s, but its consumer benefits weren't visible until recently and 2019 will be the year when AI starts to really take off and become a necessity, not just in the home, but in every facet of our lives.
The potential of AI is endless as this technology goes into everything from small watches to cars and even gigantic, connected smart cities.
AI is also starting to find its way into TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, speakers, mobile phones and even air cons as products adapt to human behaviour. Faster internet speeds enable quicker response times for business tools that we all rely on to get the job done. It will increase the efficiency of workers and provide reliable communication tools for companies that rely on remote workers.
Given that the so-called gig economy has grown exponentially in recent years, the expectation is that the evolving workforce will contain a higher percentage of employees, or contractors who do not work in a central office.
5G has the potential to change the world the way the internet did a few decades ago. The fifth generation of wireless technology will take internet connectivity to a new level as the Internet of Things (IoT) will bring about the potential for everything to be connected to everything.
However, 5G is not just about faster internet speeds. It will create new possibilities in numerous sectors, including medicine, transportation and manufacturing.
A smarter world through IoT and AI isn't possible without 5G’s speed and capacity as the system is able to carry large numbers of connections simultaneously, and is therefore crucial to the development of smart cities, autonomous cars and smart homes.
Much like technological innovations, consumer habits and preferences are changing drastically when it comes to home appliances and particularly home entertainment.
Most consumers believe that advancements in home entertainment tech is life-enriching and that their life is better with the latest tech at their fingertips as it allows them to stay indoors and enjoy quality time with friends and family.
The value of home entertainment tech lies in how it allows loved ones to share experiences, thereby bringing them closer together, particularly during big events such as major sporting events and holiday celebrations.
The potential of flexible viewing surfaces will not only change home entertainment, but also marketing techniques in shopping malls, city centres and shop fronts.
With the ability to curve around any environment, this technology creates the perfect platform for signage and consumer engagement that stands out from the crowd.
CY Kim is the managing director of LG Electronics South Africa.
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Independent Media.