Recently, CEDIA Senior Director of Emerging Technologies Dave Pedigo and the 16 volunteers that comprise the CEDIA Technology Council built a list of predictions for the year 2020. Part of this list was posted on CE Pro Europe last week, but now there’s yet another part for you to feast your eyes on.

Prediction 11: We’ll see the resurgence of high performance audio and video.

Sure, it’s already happening: CEDIA chairman-elect Dave Humphries recently marvelled over the sale of a pair of two-channel speakers that clocked in at $127,000 — that’s dealer cost, not retail. As bitstreams get ever higher, the ability to deliver digital content will soon reach a quality level that’ll satisfy the senses of the most discerning of audiophiles and cinephiles alike. As Tech Council volunteer Gordon van Zuiden, owner of cyberManor, puts it, these devices will be able to ‘replicate what the artist or producer wanted.’ You will hear Miles as Miles intended. Always.

Prediction 12: Intelligent glass will be used as a control interface, entertainment platform, comfort control, and communication screen.

Gordon van Zuiden says: “We live in a world of touch, glass-based icons. Obviously the phone is the preeminent example — what if all the glass that’s around you in the house could have some level of projection so that shower doors, windows, and mirrors could be practical interfaces?” Extend that smart concept to surfaces that don’t just respond to touch, but to gesture and voice — and now extend that to surfaces outside the home. You’ll be living in a world where one might swipe down to cool the shower temp or announce “defrost” to the car windshield, and answering a quick text message or getting a weather and traffic update might happen simply by tapping the bathroom mirror. (For a mind-bending look at the possibilities of everything from architectural interfaces to image transfers, check this promo video from Corning called “A Day Made of Glass” — and mind that the video’s already five years old.)

Prediction 13: Autonomous vehicles become more ubiquitous.

Why, oh why, did Tesla call their semi-autonomous system ‘Autopilot’? It isn’t a totally robotic ‘virtual operator’, of course, but a driver in Florida yielded complete control of his vehicle to the system, and his car didn’t recognise the tractor-trailer he hit. The auto industry is currently feeling the effects of that fatal wreck, but it’s worth noting that the truly autonomous cars that are coming will have collision-avoidance systems that will make deadly crashes nearly nonexistent. Note the language, though: “nearly” nonexistent means just that. After all, airbags can malfunction and hurt humans, too, but the benefits of that technology vastly outweigh the risks.

Prediction 14: All new cars will be internet connected.

You were wondering how Number 22 impacted the CEDIA community? When your Tesla’s one of the bigger Things sharing data on the Internet of Things, that means Car and Office will begin to talk to House, you network entrepreneur, you. For the consumer, it’ll also be nice when the bathroom mirror tells you that one of the cells in your solar-powered Lexus needs replacing.

Prediction 15: Always-on high-bandwidth connections will make everything virtualised and/or stored in the clouds.

“Mum, Dad said that laptops used to have something he called ‘memory.’ Is he kidding me?”

Prediction 16: Big data will continue to drive innovation at a pace never seen before (and therein lies a monetisation strategy for IoT devices).

Back in January, Data Informed put together a roundup of thought leaders ruminating on a number of big-data-driven topics. This quote jumps out at the reader:

As we move forward through 2016 and beyond, more devices, agents, sensors, and people will join the IoT. Perhaps we will even progress as a society to a post-scarcity economy, and information itself will become our commodity of trade. Monetising the exchange of information, micro-licensing, and transactions become prominent tasks as our automation and machine-to-machine networks take care of daily needs. Imagine algorithms as apps for applying big data analysis over the connected masses of information generated by the IoT and its billions upon billions of connected devices in every aspect of our lives. Owning the data, analysing the data, and improving and innovating become the keys to corporate success – all empowered by a connected digital society.

Though this may have some Orwellian overtones, the IoT is really about the Zen of Things – our application of software and technology to help customers consume products and to help businesses build better products and deliver better services.

– Mark Barrenechea, CEO, OpenText

Prediction 17: Moore’s law will come to an end, and we’ll move on to the next paradigm.

Take it away, MIT:

Moore’s Law is named after Intel cofounder Gordon Moore. He observed in 1965 that transistors were shrinking so fast that every year twice as many could fit onto a chip, and in 1975 adjusted the pace to a doubling every two years.

The problem? It appears that silicon chips can only keep shrinking for five more years. Whatever’s next (and if you know for certain, when’s your company’s IPO?) will require a rethinking in both the architecture of computing and the way machines are programmed.

Prediction 18: User-programmable platforms based on interoperable systems will be the new control and integration paradigm. 

YOU: “Alexa, please find Casablanca on Apple TV and send it to my Android phone. And order up a pizza.”

IT: “Deep-Dish Deluxe from Patsy’s in Hoboken?”

YOU: “You know me too well, darling.”

IT: “Thanks. By the way, the bathroom mirror says you need a shave. Shall I order more razors?”

Prediction 19: IoT platforms will retain their brand identity — but become interoperable.

(See all the name-checking we just went through in Number 19.)

Prediction 20: (SPOILER ALERT: Contradictory opinions ahead.) We will have the same level of interoperability as we do today.

“This conversation goes on every single year,” sighs Julie Jacobson at CEPro. Jacobson points out that some providers are moving away from interoperability “so they can more tightly control the user experience and tech support system. Comcast is a perfect example: they offer a small list of curated devices that they allow to interoperate with their system.” By keeping that tech support’s necessary knowledge in a super-limited ecosystem, calling the help desk makes for fewer frustrated users. Yes, predictions are messy, and this one seems to run counter the previous two — but that’s where the notion of a “personal IT professional (charging a monthly fee)” comes in. Gordon van Zuiden sums it up succinctly: “As integrators, we are the stewards of interoperability.”

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