Technology is poised to change how we work. Instead of sitting in front of a monitor, we could be wearing virtual reality headsets for eight hours a day. Instead of a keyboard and mouse for input devices, you’d have a brain wave sensor and eye tracking. What other advances does the future hold for us? We explore several technology predictions that could happen ten years from now in 2025.
More input devices choice, but don’t expect the keyboard to go anywhere
For years, companies have explored alternative methods for people to interact with computers. A prominent example is the Microsoft Kinect, which was originally released onto Windows in 2011. Since then, developers have taken the gaming peripheral and applied the technology behind it to plenty of everyday tasks.
In addition to using gestures, innovators have also explored eye tracking and brain-wave tracking for the next generation of human/computer interface. In fact, brain-wave tracking technology reached the gaming peripheral market in 2008 with the OCZ NIA. It required some degree of training for gamers to successfully use and it actually read movement of facial muscles rather than brain waves.
In 2025, expect there to be many ways to manipulate your computer, with gestures and eye tracking more or less replacing the mouse. For text-based interaction, the keyboard likely won’t go anywhere—at least not virtually. Brain-wave tracking and voice dictation could very well be options, but the keyboard will stay. That doesn’t rule out the possibility that keyboards may be quite different however. The keyboard of 2025 could very well be just a projection onto a flat surface. Like it or not, the keyboard layout is here to stay.
Moore’s Law many finally hit the barrier; CPUs made from carbon
We can still expect Moore’s Law to hold true for the next few years. But by 2025, it may be approaching the barrier that Gordon Moore himself predicted it would hit. For CPUs, Intel already has 14 nm die sizes, and while 10 nm and 7 nm look to be possible in the next five years, progress towards that range has slowed.
In July, Intel confirmed that their 10 nm CPUs will be delayed and we should expect a third generation of 14 nm processors instead. So instead of a Tick-Tock, we’ll be getting a Tick-Tock-Clang. As for 10 nm, expect it to be released some time in 2017. In order for Moore’s Law to hold true, we will eventually have to think beyond silicon.
In 2025, a small percentage of computers may be running with carbon nanotube (CNT) processors. They have existed since at least the 90s, though not in any ready-for-market form. In 2014, Stanford engineers made a CNT processor with 178 transistors. Research continues to be done at campuses and companies, so hopefully CNT processors will have matured enough to replace silicon and keep Moore’s Law alive.
Subscription-based software will become the standard
Earlier this year, Microsoft stated that Windows 10 would be its last operating system. More accurately put, it could be Microsoft’s last OS sold as a one-time license. Moving forward, Windows may be sold under a SaaS model. Instead of paying a few hundred dollars every few years for a license, you would pay a subscription every few months and get access to tech support and regular software updates.
By 2025, it could be that most software will follow this model. As it stands now, some antivirus and creativity software suites such as Symantec’s Endpoint Protection and Adobe’s Creative Cloud have already begun to adopt this model. A software model would allow for more flexibility and companies could choose what they want to pay for and what not to pay for.
For developers and publishers, a subscription model means a steadier revenue stream. In addition, it makes more financial sense logistically. Producing CDs, packaging, sending those products to stores, and warehousing products come at a high cost. By switching to a subscription model, companies can more of their budgets to making a better product.
Internet of Things graduates from buzzword status
There are more connected devices than ever before and the number is growing. While IoT hasn’t become pervasive in offices just yet, the potential is there. They can help productivity, lower operating costs, and provide valuable insight for managers. The workplace of the future will be more connected and intelligent than ever.
Already, printers can be connected to the Internet or your network wirelessly to allow for printing directly from smartphones. The next IoT push in the office will be even more connected devices, such as door locks, lights, and climate control. Picture being able to control a conference room’s temperature from your computer and tracking attendees by their smartphones—no need to take roll call.
In 2025, the number of metrics decision makers can gather from their operations is astounding. Companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft already have access to plenty of data points on customers, but what if they were to apply those technologies for an inward look at their own workers? Regular performance reviews could be a thing of the past.
Virtual reality could change the way we interact
What if instead of a real office you’d work in a virtual office that exists only on the Internet? By 2025, virtual reality could be mature enough to allow us to work from home and still hold on to that office environment. And paired with gesture technology, you could use a virtual keyboard as well. It would be like the movie Inception.
Other possibilities include lowering costs for training sessions in select industries or virtually attending conferences without having to expense a plane ticket. From a management standpoint, a virtual office costs less and the major expenses would be in servers or cloud services. No longer would you need to pay for stationary, desks, and other physical supplies.
How close are we to these the predictions above? Not too far for some of them. Look for virtual reality headsets to hit the market in 2016 and subscription-based software is already commonplace. The workplace of the future will be interesting indeed. What are you tech predictions for 2025? Let us know in the comments.