As we reach the end of 2016, let’s take a look at some of the stuff we wrote about over the course of the year. We shared our thoughts on custom software development, looking at the such things as: the differences between composing and improvising; the value of refactoring; the nuances of following a lean-startup model; the conflict between Apple and the FBI; what happens when bad projects happen to good people; and a top ten list of the ways in which software development is like parenting.
We also explored the Internet of Things, writing about everything from IoT security concerns to the unique silliness of the Apple Watch, to the impact of wearable technology on the Olympic games, and the future of hearables. Bob’s post about the Apple watch pointed up a theme that pervaded, and will likely continue to resonate among, our reflections on emerging smart technologies. In his post, Bob noted that he really didn’t get to appreciate the benefits of his smartwatch until he started using the voice commands, in effect breaking from the kind of interaction with software that he was more accustomed to using.
We expect to see a lot more of that kind of break from customary interactions in 2017, particularly as IoT devices become more integrated into smart homes that are controlled by devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home, or just a smartphone. It’s rather similar to what we saw happen with the sudden surge of Pokemon Go! While the game certainly benefited from having an audience that was eager to see something new from Pokemon, it took off in a way that few people expected. The app turned even casual phone users into Pokemon hunters, many of them using the augmented reality of the game to superimpose the little pocket monsters onto their immediate surroundings. Will next year bring a new AR-game with the same kind of allure? Or will virtual reality finally make its anticipated impact? Perhaps we’ll see that AR and VR start to move beyond the gaming world and have more of an impact on businesses, manufacturers, and organizations like museums.
We didn’t write very much about 3D printers this year, but it seems very possible that they might take on more significance in the year ahead. Just imagine combining the wonders of VR or AR with a 3D printed model of an infant’s heart.
As we move into the new year, we’re also excited about the promise of breakthroughs in the Internet of Things in Healthcare. We should start seeing more devices that patients can use to monitor their health, devices that are efficient enough not to require a battery change for months, and smart enough to manage the data they collect privately and efficiently. This would be similar to work we’ve done collecting data from SmartPIMS sensors. This data will be used to predict failures in pipelines before they occur. It’s not hard to imagine applying a similar kind of software solution to healthcare devices.
In terms of AI, we expect to see more clients coming our way looking for ways to maximize the potential of voice-activated apps designed to work with devices like Google Home or Amazon Echo. While we’re probably a long way away from having Iron Man’s Jarvis become commonplace, we are quickly getting to the point where a lot of our interactions with our homes can become smarter, more energy efficient, and responsive to casual, more natural voice commands. More precisely, some voice commands will be used to infer actual commands. For example, “OK Google I’m Home” isn’t actually a command, but it can prompt Google Home to turn on certain lights, turn up the thermostat, and even brew a cup of coffee.
We’re excited for the year ahead. We know there will be lots of new challenges to face and overcome, and we look forward to tackling them. As we head into our 27th year of developing custom software for clients around the country, we’ll continue to stay on top of the latest trends in technology, and share our thoughts on the business of software development as well as the impact of software on our lives. We’re grateful for the clients we worked with in 2016 and look forward to continuing our relationships with them as we bring in new projects in 2017. From all of us at Art & Logic, Happy New Year!
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