The buzz

Having trouble keeping up with the tech lingo and trends? Here’s a short cut to some of the hottest phenomena.


The Internet of Things is a Future Report perennial. We’ve reported before on how IoT is making connected homes smart, allowing gossiping gadgets to order more milk or washing powder when you’re running out, or making it possible to watch and control our houses in new clever ways. This will also create an immense amount of big data so that we can understand why people do the strange things they do.

But the next wave of IoT has grown up and left home for power plants and heavy industries, offering them advanced self-diagnosing equipment. The World Economic Forum thinks this grown-up IoT will be generating over 14 trillion USD by 2030. Cisco predicts there will be more than 50 billion connected devices by 2020, Intel says 200 billion.



Shine the right color light on genetically modified cells and they’ll do what you want. Do it accurately and quickly enough to a living, working brain and you can affect its thoughts. Where did I put my tinfoil hat?


3. 2D materials

While everything else is going 3D or even 4D, new wonder materials, such as graphene, are going 2D. It’s not some hipster thing, it means materials just a single-atom thick, with applications everywhere. Soon.


4. Device mesh

The glue that will hold the Internet of things together. Using ultra-fast 5G mobile networks (the successor to 4G) the device mesh will allow our devices to swap information seamlessly, so there will be no escaping the diet app on your mobile…

5. Organs on chips

What if we made tiny little models of your internal organs and put them on a computer chip? New research and experiments could be done without testing on animals. And for the kids, a tiny pancreas-in-your-pocket. Adorable!


 6. The blockchain

Blockchains are what Bitcoins are made of. They’re like a never-ending electronic receipt (or “chain”) stuck to your money, or anything else you need to be transparent and secure. Compared with centralized systems like a bank, Blockchain has built-in trust and is quicker and less expensive for exchanging values. A lot of smart people think blockchains are going to be terribly important for all sorts of reasons that have been rather vague. But now we are actually seeing some applications leveraging the Blockchain in areas like: smart contracts, finance, legal, supply chain, and the IoT.
Read more about Blockchain on page 38.


7. USB-C

The successor to USB 3.0 (which followed USB 2.0) is known as USB-C, to ensure we don’t run out of numbers. USB is used to plug things into your computer, but USB-C cables don’t fit USB 2.0 or 3.0 sockets, and devices using USB-C are still very rare.


An open source Javascript library that… No, wait, come back! This is really useful! ReactJS was created by Facebook to help build their user interfaces. It’s reusable, simple, fast and going to be big.



VR is like The Matrix, but without the creepy “Agents”. Virtual reality – is finally becoming a, er, reality in people’s homes. Prepare to be transported across the universe – without leaving your living room. If VR is creating a brand new world, augmented reality, or AR, is reinforcing your current reality, giving it a little extra kick, super imposing interfaces, objects, games, information, even people over the world. If you do want to leave the living room, you could always try it out with Pókemon Go. Or not.

10. AI

Or artificial intelligence are smart machines that possess the ability to learn, make decisions and change their behavior. It’s already present in our everyday lives, like in your mobile and in your car. But they still have a hard time doing some things humans find easy. Phew.