Edge of Innovation

Computex 2015 offers tantalising glimpses of our high-tech future


Technology shows like CES in Las Vegas and Computex in Taipei often give us teasing glimpses of the technology we’ll be using in the future.

Smart vases that monitor air quality

Some of it is boldly conceptual, such as Edison-powered smart vases that monitor air quality and spider dresses that react with movement when someone gets too close. The rest illustrates the continual march of technological innovation — thinner tablets running Intel Atom processors, laptops with new 4-in-1 USB-C connections and desktops with the latest DDR4 memory chips.

But there’s more to our high-tech future than new gadgetry. There are fresh ideas. When Kirk Skaugen, Intel Senior VP and General Manager, Client Computing Group took to the stage to give the keynote speech at Computex 2015, he made three technology predictions:

1. 50 billion devices will compute for us and connect us by 2020
2. New user experiences will become mainstream
3. The workplace will be transformed

Computex keynote speech
Intel expects there to be 40,000 exabytes of data on the Internet by 2020 as the Internet of Things grows. As you can see, that’s a lot of data.

If you’ve read our article: The Internet of Things is far smarter and weirder than you think, then you’ll have some idea of the range of devices that are already connected to the Internet. There is scope for so many more. As IoT devices boom, Intel expects there to be 40,000 exabytes of data on the Internet by 2020 — that’s 40 trillion gigabytes-worth of information.

As for new user experiences, a raft of technologies will boost computing utility, efficiency and ease-of-use over the next few years. Think secure True Key facial logins instead of passwords; wireless charging that can charge your devices on a tabletop without plugging in a power cable (watch out for these in 2016); even Augmented Reality systems manipulated with gesture controls.

RealSense demo
Devices equipped with a RealSense camera can sense and interpret gestures, enabling new user experiences.

Intel’s RealSense system, which gives computers the ability to perceive depth, has already demonstrated new ways of interacting with devices. We’ve already seen tablets that can scan in 3D models as easily as you’d record a video clip and innovative all-in-one desktop PCs with dual touchscreen displays.

With a 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom x7 inside, the new Acer Predator 8 Android tablet could revolutionise the way you play games.

Acer Predator tablet
The Acer Predator tablet is powered by an Intel Atom x7 processor and runs the Android OS.

New technology will also transform the workplace. Laptops have already liberated knowledge workers from their offices, giving them the opportunity to work anywhere. But computers are also becoming more powerful and more versatile.

At Computex, Kirk Skaugen revealed 10 new 5th generation Core processors with new Iris Pro graphics built into the CPUs. They are led by the Intel Core i7-5775-C, which boosts media performance by 35 percent and doubles graphical performance compared to the Intel Core i7-4790S with Intel HD 4600 graphics.

This updated 5th Gen Intel Core mobile processor (‘Broadwell-H’) features a new Iris Pro graphics system.

Future systems will not just be more powerful. They could use WiGig wireless docking to allow workers to instantly connect to peripherals without any need for Ethernet, USB, HDMI or DisplayPort cables.

Meanwhile Intel’s new Unite software will make it easier for teams to share screens and collaborate on projects in real-time, transforming conference rooms into “smart and connected meeting spaces with enhanced security.”

Thunderbolt 3 explained
The new Thunderbolt 3 interface is double the speed of the old 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 technology.

Skaugen also unveiled Thunderbolt 3 at Computex 2015, which aims to reduce the number of ports and connections a laptop requires so that thinner, lighter devices can be built in the future. The new port is twice as fast as its predecessor (up to 40Gbps) and uses a USB type-C connector, enabling it to act as a USB port, DisplayPort, HDMI and mains cable.

Our 30-year history of collaboration with Taiwan has delivered historic innovation to the world, from personal computing to the cloud and data centers,” said Skaugen. “The next 30 years will see even greater innovation, as we deliver new computing experiences and bring intelligence and connectivity to the Internet of Things together.” — Dean Evans (@evansdp)


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