There are a handful of events in the global technology calendar that invoke a cult-like following and consistently make it to the must attend list of thousands of tech aficionados year after year.
The just concluded CES (formerly known as Consumer Electronics Show), celebrating its golden anniversary, ranks in the top 10. CES sees over 160,000 attendees drawn from 150 countries participate in a conference type programme with well over 300 sessions and hundreds of showcases and demonstrations from purveyors of tech in all their forms, to an eager audience of media, early adopters, investors, copy cats and critics.
CES gives a glimpse of the present and future trends shaping the world. Some may seem too far-fetched for current local application, but the senses tingle with excitement at the prospects, not of the brands that are currently pushing product but in the applications that will emerge from imaginative minds.
The three that were of interest to me were;
Internet of Things
While we are just getting excited by 4G going live across the country, the world is tinkering with 5G.
Sensors are getting embedded into everything on the cheap and no single industry is being left behind; from construction to healthcare and mobility to governance, the data revolution riding on the back of the Internet of Things (IoT) will be transformative, creating new ways of doing business and extracting value.
Augmented and virtual reality
We live in the present and the occasional escape whether for education or pleasure is a welcome relief. Virtual reality has been confined in the minds of many to gaming, how one can teleport themselves into immersive experiences.
The potential of VR for me lies in training and upskilling where I imagine facilitation of knowledge transfer for thousands simultaneously. Augmented reality has also been pigeonholed in entertainment, breakaway successes like Pokémon providing case studies.
I imagine making city and town dwellers more aware of where they live in the constantly evolving urban environment by offering a peak into the metamorphosis.
Imagine reliving pivotal occurrences on a street that has since been renamed and history almost forgotten. Reimagine storytelling and content creation.
These are still very much the hobbyists play thing in Kenya with a sprinkling of “commercial” use by filmmakers and photographers. Drone technology has vastly improved, allowing for precision flying with custom operating systems and platforms, bigger payload support and longer flight times.
We need the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to pressure the National Security Advisory Committee for that greenlight to be given for scalable commercial use.
Security, big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning featured too but they sort of have permanent seats at the table and touch on every other sector.
Njihia is CEO of Symbiotic. www.mbuguanjihia.com.