Edge of Innovation

The tech buzzwords you need to know for 2018

Every year, the technology industry chucks out a handful of terms that you might not have encountered before. Last year, these included: FIDO, masocore, mega-tasking, the ‘Passenger Economy’ and Always-Connected.

With 2017 behind us, we face another 12 months of exciting new products and technology innovation, and new buzzwords along with them. Here are just a few to look out for…

HDR10+
If you thought buying an HDR-equipped screen was a simple process, another new format has arrived to muddy the waters. Following on from HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log Gamma and Advanced HDR, comes HDR10+. This 10-bit open standard hopes to offer a license-free alternative to the 12-bit Dolby Vision format and is already being supported by Samsung, Panasonic and Amazon Prime Video. At CES 2018, it was also incorporated into the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification.

MicroLED
Staying with displays, the newest pixel tech on the block is Samsung’s MicroLED. Incorporated into its modular ‘Wall’ TV, the LED- and OLED-eclipsing tech uses small self-emitting, RGB pixel LED modules to deliver “up to 2000 nits of peak brightness, brighter white hues, darker black shades and the truest natural colours.” No backlight required.

Samsung Wall TV MicroLED
The modular Samsung Wall TV features MicroLED technology. (Image via Samsung Newsroom)

NSA 5G NR
5G, or NSA 5G NR (Non-Standalone 5G New Radio), is the follow-up to today’s 4G/LTE services, offering faster speeds and lower latency. The 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) recently announced that the 5G NR is ready for large-scale trials and commercial deployments, possibly as early as 2019.

“With NSA 5G NR, players across the ecosystem for the first time have rallied around a single internationally recognized specification for 5G radio systems,” said Asha Keddy, vice president, Client and Internet of Things Businesses and Systems Architecture, and general manager, Next Generation and Standards, at Intel Corporation. “It provides the technological foundation for the industry to begin testing and commercialising the next generation of wireless services and devices.”

Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge
Doesn’t quite roll of the tongue, does it? But, as the video below explains, this clever technology is right at the heart of Intel’s new quad-core CPU with Radeon RX™ Vega M graphics.

Crypto
Short for ‘cryptocurrency’, digital money formats including Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum have hit the mainstream this year and their popularity shows no sign of slowing. Bitcoin was worth roughly $1,000 in January 2017 (slightly less than its 2013 high of $1,216), but then rose to $20,000 at the end of 2017 (before crashing back down to $11,000). Rival currencies — Litecoin, Ethereum, Dash and Monero amongst them — are also enjoying spectacular growth.

Volumetric video
Intel’s FreeD replay technology is now Intel True View, a system that typically employs a ring of 5K cameras at sporting venues to capture ‘volumetric video’. Using voxels (pixels with volume), the resulting video can be viewed from any angle, making it perfect for replays and game analysis. Or maybe even TV and movies…

Intel has recently opened Intel Studios, reports Variety, “a 10,000 square-[foot] dome designed to capture actors and objects in volumetric 3D, essentially producing high-end holographic content.” It’s the world’s largest volumetric video capture facility and, having forged an exploratory partnership with Paramount Pictures (announced at CES 2018), it could take VR and AR video to a new level of immersion. Take a closer look in the video below.

REM mapping
As the age of the autonomous car draws closer, we should be prepared for a deluge of buzzwords ranging from Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to Highly Automated Driving (HAD). REM mapping is another one. REM stands for Road Experience Management, a technology that uses the front-facing cameras on autonomous vehicles to crowd source a ‘RoadBook’ of drivable paths, including road/lane boundaries and stationary landmarks to improve maps in real-time.

Qubit
At CES 2018, Intel unveiled a 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip known as ‘Tangle Lake’. A qubit is a ‘quantum bit’, the basic unit of information in a quantum computing system. In his show keynote, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich predicted the rise of quantum supercomputers more powerful than anything around today, capable of tackling some of the world’s biggest data challenges, such as drug development, financial modelling and climate forecasting.

These are just a few of the terms to look out for this year. We’ll be adding more as 2018 unfolds.

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