Top 6 Trends from eMerge Americas Conference

eMerge Americas – A Miami Beach based tech conference entered its second year today, reaching its goal of attracting 10,000 visitors, representing 50 countries and 500 companies. The conference, which proposes to connect innovators, investors, and thought leaders, through summits, workshops, and conferences is growing with breathtaking speed.

Part of the mission of the conference is to highlight South Florida as a growing hub for technology. As an Audio, Video, and Technology Design Consultant, living in South Florida, I was particularly interested to see what the conference had to offer. Part of the event was actually held across the street at the New World Symphony. I had the pleasure to spend the better part of 2 years engineering the audio and projection systems for the symphony and the adjoining park. It’s a remarkable facility and totally representative of how Miami can strive to reach new heights as a tech hub for the US and Latin America.

Rather than cover all the individual aspects of the first day, I thought it would be more interesting to outline the top 6 major trends that were clearly running through the entire show. None of these are particularly surprising, but it does reinforce their importance. As always, please let me know your thoughts. Here are mine, in no particular order:

Mobile is going to be everywhere

From apps that interact with advertising and digital signage to apps that recognize visual images and reference them to retailers, there is an app for everything. The importance of mobile is re-enforced by Google’s April 21st search algorithm update to favor mobile friendly sites in search results for mobile devices. According to Gartner, smartphone sales are expected to reach 88% of global mobile phone sales by 2018, increasing from 66% in 2014.

Education is racing towards practical application

More and more, pedagogy is supporting an experience that is much closer to the real life experience. Here technology plays a vital role time and time again. There were numerous examples by local universities. My personal favorite was a display of bleeding edge educational gamification by Dr Jennifer Gebelein. Along with FIU’s IT staff, she is integrating analytical data to create an experience that supports learning in a way that is far ahead of the current generation of trendy gamification attempts. I hope to do a full interview with her in the near future.

Big data will change everything

The fact that we are having such frequent conversations about privacy might be the best possible indicator that our lives are about to change in a major way through the influence of big data. How does the convenience of personalized data and intelligent suggestions weight against privacy? When people start to experience this level of convenience, the privacy arguments will settle into the background for most (possibly an even stronger argument to pay attention to crafting proper privacy considerations now). If dynamic pages and social were web 2.0, the intersection of big data, mobile, and the internet of things (see below) will soon coalesce to become web 3.0.

The internet of things is even bigger than people think

The IOT is more than just your washer being able to communicate with your dryer. These are devices. We have to start thinking more broadly in terms of sensors. These can be in the road, to communicate with your car when you are drifting out of your lane, or integrated into construction materials to gauge the stress and structural failure points. Of course, this technology will be incorporated into a BIM model for that particular facility for operational purposes. This is all coming.

Along with big data, context is everything

It’s been frequently noted that current technology won’t support the creation of physical storage devices that can match our current growth of data storage. I don’t see this as the biggest challenge, moving forward. The real challenge is that with all that data, an incredible user experience will be possible. It will be as if our devices are reading our minds. Once people get a taste, they will want more of this. Creating more will be an enormous challenge. This is great, because this demand will ultimately fuel enormous tech sector growth and profitability, stimulating the economy.

Security is a huge challenge that will continue to grow

Like the rest, this one goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. It seems that once a week there is a major network security breach scandal. All of the trends above will only increase the potential spoils for those who are able to exploit vulnerabilities. In the past, you were worried about having your email, corporate documents, or financial information compromised. When everything and everyone is connected, it will be a whole different story.

Conclusion:

Like I said earlier, none of these trends are earth shattering, but context is everything and it always helps to gain a little more insight into how all of the pieces fit together. I hope this article has helped you in some slight way to see how those pieces are beginning to fall into place. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to sign up for our blog updates at the top right of this page.

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