Tech Trends for 2017 12/16/2016 | by John Goodyear As the year draws to a close, we give a nod to the year that was, and take a look ahead at 2017 and where we expect our digital lives to take us. 2017 will be all about making the lives of consumers easier and more seamless than ever. Here are the top tech trends to watch for! Health and fitness will continue to boom These days, personal fitness and technology go hand in hand. Technology is helping people not only lose weight and stay healthy, but is increasingly moving in the direction of sports and athletics for both professionals and amateurs. And while wearable fitness trackers are currently the rage, in 2017 there will be a shift from focusing on just fitness to overall healthcare. Look for technology like wearable smart phone-controlled hearing assistance and smart bands that double as blood pressure monitors. Also look for less obtrusive ‘invisible’ wearables that are better integrated into everyday items like a keychain or an item of clothing. The Internet of things is commonplace The Internet of Things is so commonplace, Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro says it’s no longer a trend, just reality. Rather, he said it’s about connecting sensing devices and doing something with the information, whether it’s closing your shades automatically when there is too much sun or keeping your utility costs low by having smart things responding to different conditions in the weather. Intelligent systems will grow rapidly in 2017, especially after the release of the Home app from Apple this fall. Over 100 products are already on the market that will work seamlessly with apples HomeKit, so a smart-linked home will be an affordable possibility for anyone. Security, lights, electronics and climate can all be controlled for the first time in one app. The self-driving car At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, a whopping 200,000 square feet of floor space will be allotted to self-driving cars and driver-assist technologies. Auto makers are introducing cars models at CES in addition to car shows, which illustrates the importance of this growing trend for consumers. Look for more driverless-car technology throughout 2017 as these vehicles begin to be road-tested. Augmented and virtual reality The future of entertainment is seated in VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). Through specially designed hardware and software full of cameras, sensors, algorithms and more, your perception of reality can be instantly altered in context with your environment. Applications include sports scores showing on TV during a match, the path of trajectory overlaying an image, gaming, construction plans and more. While VR glasses are an option, augmented reality relies heavily on the smart phone. Applications in the home automation market will also open up. You can use your smart phone’s camera, for example, to view your environment and react to it. One innovative home automation company allows you to use your phone’s camera to scan a room and enact certain functions. Say you’re in the living room and want to turn on a light. Use the app to scan the room using your smart phone’s camera. When the lamp you want to activate appears on the screen, you can turn it on or off. Whatever your tech dreams are for 2017, one thing is certain, convenience, seamlessness and user experience are at the forefront, and many of these technologies will trickle into the smart home as time goes on. Some, in fact, already have. Come in or call us today to see how we can make your home better than ever.