How ice hockey relates to Microsoft? From what kind of clouds will it never rain? In which manner undead can help to fight obesity? With whom can we talk in an empty room? And why visiting a temple can be prohibited for you?
All those seemingly disparate questions refer to IT industry, how odd this may sound. The year 2016 is nearly over, and Indeema is going to highlight the most interesting IT solutions of 2016 hereby. Of course, so many people, so many minds. Without claiming a unique expertise of the seamy side of IT sector we, nonetheless, would like to share our opinion about the hardware and software developments worth to be mentioned in the year ending. So, let’s answer the abovementioned questions one by one.
How ice hockey relates to Microsoft?
Beginning from 2016, both ice hockey and Microsoft use a puck in their practice. Actually, hockey players can hardly imagine the game without a puck initially. However, those digital creatives who tried a new dial-type device serving the newly released Microsoft Surface Studio all-in-one desktop recognized the puck as the inalienable part of the system.
Releasing the Surface Studio this year, Microsoft proved able to shift Apple from the stronghold where MAC desktops were traditionally dominating. It means that such creative professionals as visual and web designers, architects, illustrators, and engineers can change the camp. Created for professionals (the price starting from $2999 proves the target audience clearly!) Microsoft Surface Studio desktop can be transformed into a giant (28 inches) tablet for drawing. Changing the angle of the 4K+ monitor up to 20° with only a finger is possible by means of a specially designed so-called zero-gravity hinge equipped with a complicated set of springs.
In addition to a set of wireless accessories with a keyboard, a mouse, and a stylus the new dial-type device looking like an ice-hockey puck is offered. Powered by two AAA batteries, the Surface Dial is designed as another type of input. As Microsoft engineers claim, the Dial provides the different experience and a new level of comfort for users.
In general, we pay our attention on the Surface Studio not because we are fans of Microsoft. Even the advanced technical characteristics of the system are not crucial. We appreciate this hardware very much because the idea of an all-in-one computer has been realized with it successfully for the first time. This is the very innovation that will call the play for professional desktops in general and for transformer computers in particular next year.
From what kind of clouds will it never rain?
Cloud technologies are occupying the cyberspace thanks to two main advantages they provide: the security and convenience. It will never rain from iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive. In fairness, they appeared long before 2016. However, users continue discovering the opportunities of clouds experiencing how convenient and safe the remote access to their digital content can be with Google Drive, for example.
Since globalization engendered IT outsourcing as a phenomenon, the outsourcers together with their customers truly appreciate the opportunity to share task and results of their business via encrypted digital data repositories. Such seemingly mundane and simple agenda as exchanging of doc. files between distantly separated teammates can be a headache while different operation systems are involved. Being a part of a comprehensive cloud service Google Docs settles the question in an effective and elegant manner offering a joint solution of document processing despite the operation systems installed on the remotely interacting devices.
We predict a further development of different cloud solutions following the contemporary trend of the overall mobility and sharing data via the web.
In which manner undead can help to fight obesity?
Addressing the gamification approach in one of our recent articles, Indeema outlined its effectiveness in the catching of user attention. To be popular, the app solutions dealing directly with customers experience are to imply as many creative and unusual methods and motivators as possible. The new Messenger represented by iOS 10 generally meets the requirement with its expanded functionality and grasping interface. The app keeps leading positions both for the number of users and downloads. Although we accept iOS 10 Messenger as one of the most successful apps of 2016, another mind blasting mobile application enthralls us with its idea to use… zombies!
In addition to the strongest gamified content (it looks like a pure game at first sight!) the mobile application for fitness “Zombies, Run!” is a cornucopia of modern trends. The stylish and well-weight interface, involvement of famous writers to script the mission scenarios, dramatic broadcasting backgrounds, targeting at wearables, mission seasons’ sequels, availability for Android and iOS devices, and supporting a healthy lifestyle – all the features make the app one of the most outstanding examples of how effective, attractive, and thrilling can be fitness when non-trivial and creative developers attempt a task.
Millions of users who downloaded the app could prove that zombies chasing on your heels motivate running pretty well. The app developers’ ability to make users feel themselves inside a horror movie could apply for the “Best Gamified Application Ever” award, as we suppose.
With whom can we talk in an empty room?
Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and some other AI-based voice assistance services can communicate with humans in a sophisticated and intelligent manner now. The leading global IT giants bet on artificial intelligence in order to leave behind the rest hardware and software manufacturers unable to spend the enormous financial and technological resources required for the successful AI development.
The Google Home device connected to the company’s flagship bot Google Assistant is gaining the proficiency of answering our question even we ask with different accents using different grammatical structures. The learning technology used for the Google Assistant’s training is based on tons of conversational data Google engineers collect from different devices equipped with the Assistant bot.
The Transition method, as Google’s scientists call it, receives different conversational patterns from millions of users throughout the world around the clock. The “as much as better” principle implies Big Data to accelerate the evolution of Google’s neural nets. In addition to the users conversing with the bot, such Google products as Search, Maps, Photos, and Google Now are involved in the process. The present informational storehouse contains over 70 billion (!) facts.
It is just around the corner the day when the expected sequence of actions is to be performed by the Assistant in the response of our inarticulate mumbling like “find the closest Italian restaurant, book a table for two, and order that pasta I like”. The progress of Google’s AI is impressive. We may predict the meaningful conversation with Google Home device powered by the Assistant when it is not necessary to trace a contextual situation or select some appropriate expressions. It seems that “Sorry, I can’t help with that” apology will leave the Assistant’s vocabulary soon and forever.
Why visiting a temple can be prohibited for you?
Many religious organizations throughout the world prohibit entering their temples in case visitors use their smartphones there for a peculiar activity. What is meant here is the augmented reality game Pokemon Go. This summer, hundreds of millions of smartphone users were acting so weird that many municipal authorities had to prohibit playing the game in different places of the social infrastructure.
At first sight, that may look strange as the game agenda implies hunting the digital creatures Pokemons with smartphones. However, as contrasted with any other computer games, the beasties are augmented to the physical reality. And that is the point. Using a smartphone camera players chase the digital Pokemons in the real streets, parks, stadiums, and other city places. This is the reason why the game was prohibited in many places where such an activity may abuse or disturb the rest visitors not involved in the play.
The phenomenon of Pokemon Go augmented reality game has been discussing by digital gurus, philosophers, sociologists, and the wide user audience to figure out the true background of its flipping success. The only possible conclusion seems to be the excitement brought by the blurring of digital and physical contexts within the game. The players feel themselves immersed in the fantastic environment where fictitious beings can be met just around the corner.
Pockemon Go is not the only augmented reality app present in the digital market now. Nevertheless, the splash it has made on the global audience slated the game number one AR application of 2016.
The five prominent examples of IT solutions Indeema selected from the numerous developments of 2016 could clearly demonstrate the ongoing trends of the global digital industry. Let’s monitor and follow them together to meet the customer's expectations in the approaching season.