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Tech Trends That Will Change How You Work

edge computing, cloud connectivity, machine vision, IoT, work producgtivity
From edge processing to computer vision, advances in technology in 2020 and beyond aim to improve industrial processes as well as making your work life more productive.

With advances in human/machine interaction matched with edge processing and cloud connectivity, we’ll see plenty of changes in 2020 and the decade that follows. We caught up with Synaptics CTO, Patrick Worfolk to get his take on the major technology trends he expects in the near future. At Synaptics, Worfolk manages the company’s research and development team, where he works on advanced human-computer interface technologies, computer vision, machine learning, and more.

In 2020 and beyond, we’ll see advances in human-machine interfaces, including touch, audio, and vision. (Image source: Synaptics)

Edge Processing With AI Creates A Better IoT Experience

Edge processing matched with cloud connections are set to have a major impact. “IoT device makers know the benefits of edge-based processing, but until now, many of the challenges in terms of cost, performance, and security have made it impractical for implementing that technology in consumer products and systems,” said Worfolk. “The shift toward more use of edge processing in conjunction with cloud connectivity has begun in earnest and will continue to evolve in 2020. From a consumer perspective, this trend will result in an IoT experience that’s faster, more reliable, and more private.”

Computer Vision Leaps Forward

The machine is learning how to touch, hear, and see. “In 2020, there will be more hardware devices from OEMs that can accurately feel, as in touch; hear, as in audio; and see as in computer vision.” He noted that computer vision is the latest advance that is shaping how we interact with technology.

Synaptics is involved in developing machine vision, so Worfolk can see the impact of vision tool on how we interact with technology. “Computer vision represents the next big evolution in smart devices. Imagine having your set top box be able to fast forward to significant moments in sporting events, such as showing you only the baseball hits,” said Worfolk. “Or vision could be used to see who is watching the device so the system can send appropriate content.”

Ambient Computing Becomes Proactive

Worfolk also expects that systems will soon be able to help us solve simple-but-important tasks. “Today, digital assistants respond to you. Amazon and Google are leading this work, but soon there will be technology that knows more about you, and it will be able to offer solutions in a proactive way rather than just giving you simple answers,” said Worfolk.

Worfolk expects we’ll see significant advances in the coming years. “Technology is becoming more adaptable and capable of computing vast amounts of data on the edge,” said Worfolk. “Wouldn’t it be nice to know if your teenager arrived home safely without having to watch footage from your home security camera?”

Your Digital Assistant Helps You Do Your Work

Most people spend a significant amount of their time setting up meetings, preparing for meetings and getting IT equipment working. What if those takes could be done by a digital assistant? “I envision that the time spend with manual time-consuming tasks will shrink in 2020,” said Worfolk. “In the coming years, it will shrink down to nothing – hopefully.”

Worfolk expects we will use voice assistants for laptops and smartphones. “These apps will continue to become more intelligent and support your everyday work needs on the go.” He noted that you would be able to say, “Open up the doc I was working on yesterday” or “Find David’s email from earlier today.” He expects this trend will open up people’s time and allow them to be more productive and focused on higher-level work. “We will no longer be glued to our emails and texts,” said Worfolk.

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

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