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The Increasing Pace of Change

The Increasing Pace of Change

In 2015 we published an article based on a presentation by Daniel Borin called "Tomorrow’s Future Technology Today”. At the time, some of the items in this article did seem rather futuristic but it is surprising how these new technologies are now a part of our daily lives.

So what has changed from these original observations?

Processing Power

In the year 2000 one of the biggest and best computer was the HP Superdome, which sold for more than $1.5M USD and weighed in excess of 1.2 tonnes.  Last year this was equivalent to the processing power of three smart phones  at a cost of under $1500USD and weighing less than half a kilogram (1000 times cheaper and 3000 times lighter).

One Year On

The processing capacity of one Samsung S7 worth $750 (as opposed to three S5’s one year ago) would exceed the processing power of this super computer by 17%. According to Wikipedia, the cost reduction in processing power per GFLOP has reduced from $1,300 in 2000 to just 0.06 cents in January 2015 – that’s 21,666 times cheaper in just over 15 years.

Storage Capacity

In the year 2000 people shared files on 3.5 inch floppy disks with a mere 2.88MB in storage capacity, not big enough to store a single photo from your current phone. A year ago we reported people were using Micro SD cards with a storage of 64GB, representing an increase in capacity of more than 20,000 times plus a decrease in physical size of over a hundred times.

One Year On

SanDisk have announced their 1TB SD card. This represents a 347,000 times increase in capacity over the floppy disks on something not much bigger than a fingernail.

Network Speed

One of the most common ways to connect to the internet in the year 2000 was via a 56K dial up modem. A year ago people were mainly connecting via ADSL, cable or wireless offering 24.7Mbps – 441 times faster than in 2000.

One Year On

The NBN is now rolling out across Australia and is on track to put Australia ahead of the world for high speed, universal broadband access. The NBN offers customers up to 100Mbps download speeds and upload speeds of up to 40Mbps. 


A network offers the ability for a device, computer, or piece of technology to communicate with another network or a user. Without some form of communication, devices are essentially useless. But there also needs to be an appropriate level of speed and quality of service for the technology to be effective. This diagram represents the progress of networks, where they have come and where they are going.

One Year On

We predicted the 5G network to be a reality in 2020 but already Telstra are testing this network in Melbourne achieving 20Gbps, and have announced a trial of their 5G on the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Wearables/Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things refers to the collection of traditionally passive objects that are being given smarts and connected to the internet. A year ago the technology which was emerging still seemed out of our reach or not within our reality.

One Year On

The IoT industry has grown rapidly with thousands of everyday products now having a smart connected version. In the wearables space, fitness has been one of the biggest areas to embrace the technology with an entire market of smart watches having evolved in the last 18 months.

Some other items to be introduced include the connected Nespresso machine that not only makes your coffee but tracks how many pods you have left and lets you order more from the machine. Another is the ‘Click and Grow’ pot plant which is a small robot farm that can water, light and feed your plants automatically, allowing you to have fresh herbs, tomatoes or even strawberries growing on your kitchen counter. The mission, to bring technology to apartment dwellers all over the world as vertical farms.

Underlying Technology

The IoT is driven by the access we now have to all-in-one processing chips which are affordable and capable of supporting this new technology. Last year Intel launched the Edison with dual CPU, 5GB of RAM and Bluetooth all for under $50 USD. Prices, capabilities and form factor are improving at such a rapid pace that the idea of including smarts into every kind of everyday object will be common place in no time.

One Year On

Intel has now introduced Intel Euclid. This new integrated micro computer not only boasts all of the processing power of the Edison but is 3D aware of its surroundings via dual cameras and includes an accelerometer. All this packed into the size of a small chocolate bar. With full 3D vision and other sensors this simple add on could turn a simple robot into an affordable autonomous machine.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence has come a long way since IBM’s Deep Blue defeated Chess Champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. IBM’s AI system, simply known as Watson, defeated two champions of the popular TV game show Jeopardy and has since seen remarkable progression.

One Year On

Over the past 18 months all areas of Artificial Intelligence have seen improvements in application, underlying hardware and algorithms. Watson has now been deployed in Oncology wards in hospitals around the world helping to diagnose patients and provide individual care. Watson considers supporting evidence and draws from information contained in 15 million pages of text from medical journals, textbooks, patient cases and other sources. 

For consumers, the biggest advancement has been the accuracy and speed of voice to text and natural language understanding. These developments have occurred through one particular type of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. This natural language understanding has now spawned virtual personal assistants which work off an audio interface that listens for a user to ask a question or issue a command like “Order me a ride to work” or “What does my schedule look like today”. The capabilities of these virtual assistants are growing exponentially especially as the companies involved are opening up their assistants through APIs to any company that has information or services that users might want.


The well-known robot duo Baxter and Sawyer are examples of an emerging technology known as multipurpose robots. Whereas typical automation through robotics would set back companies hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, these multipurpose robots can start at just $29K USD.

One Year On

Another explosion for an emerging technology with smart machines such as robots being purchased from over 2,500 technology vendors across the globe. The technology has now evolved from the domain of small factories and into our homes. Domino’s Pizzas first introduced the technology called the Dominos Robotic Unit (DRU) here in Australia to deliver your pizza fresh and hot to your door. A controversial introduction at last year’s Consumer Electronic Show was the robot nanny called iPal launched by AvatarMind. Its current model sells for around $1500USD in China, stands at 3 foot tall and includes a surveillance camera, touch screen tablet and a choice of hundreds of apps.

When we first wrote this article the idea of self-driving cars sounded like science fiction to most of us. But a year on almost every car company is developing a self-driving prototype with expectations that we will see models on the road very soon. The US government has paved the way having released their Federal Automated Vehicles Policy on September 20, 2016. Here in Australia, South Australia has made self-driving car trials legal, paving the way to attract automotive companies from around the world. 

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Monday, November 14, 2016