Millennials have been at the forefront of technology’s ascent in our society, as wearable technology, driverless vehicles, and virtual reality have become less of a “wow” and more of a “when and how”. While IPhones, GoPros, Snapchat and Instagram are keeping us entertained right now, it’s compelling to look into the future of technology’s evolution, seeking the gadgets (both small and large) that will be the next major successes. Each of these innovations will play a role in our lives, whether companies in the future adopt them or they simply act as useful devices for friends and kids.
Wearable technology, in a sense, can be a needless duplication of the million devices we have in our homes between computers, televisions, phones, and other gadgets. But for some, it has become absolutely essential in acting as an extension for our constantly connected lives. Having realized this, companies have been producing wearable technology that resonates with consumers. A company that stands out in particular is Fitbit, whose involvement has led its stock on a crazy ride.
As part of the wearable activity-tracking market, Fitbit has a market share of 68% - significantly greater than any other single competitor. In late 2015, Fitbit landed a deal with Target, which agreed to offer Fitbits to its 335,000 employees. This represents the rapid rate at which Fitbit is growing as part of a healthier lifestyle. Fitbit’s stock has been in freefall since the start of 2016, similar to many other companies’ performances in the market. Blaze, the company's new smartwatch product released at the beginning of 2016, was met with heavy criticism because it was seen as a weak effort at rivalling the more established Apple Watch. While slowed production in China has greatly impacted Fitbit’s recent stock performance, it has the capabilities and name recognition to grow consistently, although still in need of more openness from consumers to wearable technology.
Wearable technology is becoming an established part of our lives, yet widespread use of driverless cars may be further away than we think. At the moment, Tesla, led by the infamous Elon Musk, has incorporated the option for self-steering on straighter roads as part of a new update to the car’s technology. Very recently, Tesla’s stock took a turn for the better, due to its prediction that their electric, sleek cars will produce profitable and positive cash flow in 2016 for the first time in the company’s existence. Both Telsa and Google have been investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the long-term project of driverless cars, as they are convinced that this is the technology of the future. However driverless cars pose many obvious flaws. Without a human behind the wheel, the road’s many dangers can be exploited by malfunctioning technology or unanticipatable situations. Driverless cars are something to look out for, but they may become popular later rather than sooner.
Virtual Reality is upon us. Oculus, owned by Facebook and easily the biggest company in the virtual reality space, is soon releasing its Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset. For personal use, the $600 price tag seems a bit steep, but gamers and others are likely to flock to such a unique piece of equipment. In addition to traditional virtual reality, many consumers have seen the simple add-ons to iPhones or videos online that allow a 360-degree view of the surroundings. Simple advances such as these allow everyone to feel as though they are part of the environment that they’re viewing. Three-dimensional printing, another recent phenomenon, is also becoming more popular in mainstream mediums such as classrooms, and even for personal use. In a practical sense, companies can also use 3D printing to produce products and avoid using more expensive materials.
Each of these companies employs the use of technology differently, yet as a whole, they highlight the tech industry’s popularity and profitability. Constant research and development dedicated to producing and perfecting new technology ensures that both companies and consumers will enjoy a bright technology-filled future.