Smarter, more integrated technology is already transforming everything from the devices in our hands to how we collaborate with colleagues or even buy groceries. As artificial intelligence and edge computing proliferate, bringing power and efficiency to countless industries and activities, we see tremendous change happening. But what will 2023, and beyond bring? What surprises are ahead for our rapidly advancing relationship with technology?
In our new hybrid world of work, technology will step up to create meetings where ‘holographic’ attendees feel nearly as real as being there in the flesh. Technologies that can bring teams together, even if they are working across several continents, will grow in importance in the hybrid, remote, and increasingly global workplaces of the future.
For presentations, product launches or meetings with other organisations, augmented and mixed reality will offer a new way for organisations to make an impact, with life-size ‘holograms’ who can interact with virtual objects, for example, to show off a new prototype, or to explore a ‘digital twin’ of a real-world object.
Augmented and mixed reality will offer a new way for organisations to make an impact, with life-size holograms
Lenovo’s concept Cyber Space technology shows off how this ‘phygital’ approach, blending the physical and digital might work, with a special coated glass which is semi-transparent and semi-reflective, and which allows people behind it to physically interact with life-sized objects.
The metaverse is going to edge closer to reality – but it will not be about cartoon avatars and games. Instead, metaverse technology will be driven by the world of work, not play.
We are probably at an equivalent stage to the mid-90s World Wide Web in terms of the evolution of the metaverse, and big leaps are just around the corner. Teams will learn to collaborate, share and work in immersive spaces – what we refer to as the Enterprise Metaverse – and that will drive adoption of the technology. Rather than games such as flight simulators, it will be ‘job simulators’ – immersive training – which drives the adoption of the metaverse.
Metaverse technology will be driven by the world of work not play
The ThinkReality VRX is a next-level VR headset for immersive training, collaboration, and 3D design. Solutions such as Lenovo’s ThinkReality VRX headset are coming to market to enable workers to collaborate together in virtual reality and enabling rapid, cost-effective training programmes.
At Lenovo, we believe that the future of the metaverse is collaborative and truly open, where ideas and technology are easily shared, rather than being restricted inside ‘walled gardens’ controlled by one company.
Multi-access edge computing
In the future, intelligent cameras will manage traffic in ‘smart cities’, cutting pollution, congestion, and road accidents – and edge computing servers will enable everything from holographic teaching to augmented reality shopping.
Why edge computing? Multi-access edge computing, means that requests are processed within the smart city itself, rather than having to travel to some far-away data centre, meaning that queries can be answered within milliseconds. In Barcelona, a pilot scheme is showing the power of edge computing, with 3,000 Lenovo servers across the city enabling internet-of-things devices and cameras to deliver data where it is needed.
In the future, edge computing could even help cities hit pollution targets by controlling traffic lights so cars drive in a more fuel-efficient way.
The way we work has changed forever, and in tomorrow’s new hybrid workspace, the way companies use technology will change – with a shift towards technologies such as smart sensors, and a move to renting everything from hardware to the office experience itself. This will cut overheads for new businesses, enabling young companies to scale more rapidly and flexibly.
This shift is already underway, with a Lenovo survey of 500 CTOs finding that 43% said their company’s technology architecture was ‘improved’ and elements such as smart devices, 76% and smart internet-of-things, 70% surging in importance in the past year.
Businesses will shift towards a more fluid model where the entire office experience and related solutions and services can be provided by a third party. Lenovo now offers a managed employee experience where companies can rent a workplace solution, rather than just hardware or software – including, for example IT infrastructure and support and performance analytics as well as cloud and data infrastructure services.
Artificial intelligence will increasingly shape the world around us and accelerate daily activities such as shopping.
In the near future, AI servers may analyse multiple video feeds from cameras in the aisles of shops to watch for large quantities of items being removed at the same time, and monitoring deliveries to the store to ensure that inventory stays high. This will enable shops to keep track of goods more efficiently, more rapidly adjust to supply and demand, and improve profit margins – and ensure customers get what they paid for.
When customers ‘click and buy’, AI cameras will keep a watchful eye to ensure they get what they ordered, cutting out an irritating part of the modern, self-checkout shopping experience.
Screen size remains valuable in an age of multi-tasking and devices designed to shoot and edit videos, stream content, play games, and every other activity packed into our portable devices. In the future, the phones in our pockets might actually be a lot smaller – a reversal of the trend long-seen in smartphones – but ‘extend’ or ‘unfold’ to become larger when we need to use them. An unassuming, familiar device can switch into productivity mode with the touch of a button.
When users need more screen space, for work, or just to unwind with a movie or a game, the concept device expands from a 5-inch display to 6.5-inch, as big as market-leading devices.
Lenovo’s Rollable PC proof of concept shows a flexible display that rolls out on command on a motor for a larger screen size, while maintaining its thin and light form.
The Lenovo Glasses T1 is a wearable private display for on-the-go content consumption. And for those who need portability, privacy, and extended screen space, don’t be surprised if you see more people wearing their screens.