Let’s start the conversation with the Top Tech Trends debate

Nina Muhleisen | 12 September 2018


The inaugural Top Tech trends debate was held in Melbourne last week, with 5 of the country’s leading innovative minds pitching their predictions for the next big thing in tech. Now, this was a debate, there was going to be a winner. A prediction, that voted by the audience, would be seen as the most probable to impact our lives in the next 3-5 years that isn’t commonly known today.

What I loved about this format it was fresh. The panellists didn’t have 20 minutes to explain the tech and how it was going to impact our lives. They only had 2.5 minutes! Let me repeat 2.5 minutes to convince the other panellists and audience that their idea was going to be the next big thing. It was engaging, with bite-sized pockets of information that was easy to absorb and more importantly created conversation following. As moderator of the event it was my job to remain impartial, But just like everyone else in the audience I to was listening and thinking about the trends and what I believed could make the impact.

The first trend was Tech will save us from Tech by Ryan Erbert – Machine learning and wearables helping us build healthier and more sustainable relationships with our devices.

I loved this concept and whilst a little controversial, panellists argued that to disconnect from tech we needed a human element. For me, I can see that this is already happening, I wear a heart rate monitor constantly when I exercise it is continually tracking my fitness and progress and I monitor my sleep patterns, I use a meditation app to help me unwind and I am also very connected with my devices… so is it unreasonable that my phone will start to extend beyond just a set of apps to an integrated health platform helping me to live a healthier lifestyle? I don’t think so and if it leads to less depression and anxiety in our society I would be willing to give it a shot.

Next up Paul Higgins spoke about Driverless Cars as a Service – The end of personalised ownership of motor vehicles.

We have all heard about driverless cars, and as Paul explained mass production of these in 3-5 years isn’t going to happen, however, there are two factors that will drive their adoption – safety and cost. We won’t move to personalised autonomous vehicles in this time period but we may move toward an “as a service” model. The idea that ride-sharing apps are already heavily investing in the technology so it isn’t far around the corner. Kee Wong a fellow panellist put it very well, that like flying you don’t book because you want to fly on a Boeing you pick an airline based on where you want to get to, the time, the quality of the service and the cost and that our vehicles will also move in this direction. This I fully support, but I don’t think that we will be there in 3-5 years…. I hope so, but I am not certain that the cultural shift will be there just yet.

Bec Martin had me giggling with her Post IOT – Pervasive Computer Environments that interact with and respond appropriately to the humans in that environment.

I loved her introduction about how useless today’s Internet of Things is, it really appealed to me. I had only that day been thinking about how I didn’t need my fridge to talk to me, or my Thermomix to tell me what meals to eat. But following on from this a range of connected sensors, that are unobtrusive and integrated into our lives, elegant connections, as described on the night. I can see it having many use cases, especially in the care of elderly people. Imagine a scenario where the sensors understand your grandma’s usual patterns, and if she falls it can detect this and signal for help. The technology is already there, the costs are coming down. So are we able to build out the use cases that take the data and enhances our lives by providing us with the right information to create valuable services? I think so.

Bienna Chow got me thinking with The Rise of Diasporic Ecosystems – International technology and information transfers will grow along ethic connections outside their home countries.

Listening to Bienna talk I learnt a new phrase, Diasporic ecosystems – the idea of people taking their culture and technology with them as they move away from their home towns. So, take for example, the Asian population, the tech trend will be their tech, their platforms and their ways of living. We are already starting to see this happening with the food delivery bicycles and WeChat as a form of payment. So yes, this could take off but my question is how large will the impact be and would it infiltrate local communities?

Finally, the trend voted most likely to impact our environment in the next 3-5 years, the Future of Education presented by Kee Wong – Australian Higher Education Industry is under threat to being disrupted not by other groups of universities but by online platform players like Amazon et all.

I think we need this disruption. Disruption causes our businesses to respond and look at the needs of their customers, and our education system needs to change. We need to bring in more real-world experiences that will develop the next generation to be workforce ready and provide them with not only valuable skills but connections and networks. This will take collaboration with business to really understand the capabilities necessary.

However, I don’t think that this means the end of universities. There is a place for learning and growth and research that these institutions provide but it will need to become more adaptive. In addition, the key question raised during the debate. Are our businesses ready to accept candidates without degrees?

Again each of these trends just started the conversation and one that I want to continue in the Three6 community with some of our panellists joining us for a brown bag session to flesh out what the future tech trends could be and answer your questions.

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