Technology is a big part of everyone’s everyday life in 2020. Every time you turn on your television, pull out your smartphone or log on to a computer you are most likely very aware that you are using technology.
However, many people would probably say they don’t use the most cutting edge technology every day. This may not be true.
Just because you don’t purposefully use things like data loggers, artificial intelligence, or the cloud doesn’t mean you are not actually using these technologies all the time.
Modern life is filled with everyday activities powered by the latest technologies. Most people don’t even realize it. Here we will cover technologies you might not be familiar with that have a daily impact on your life.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The internet of things, or IoT for the in-crowd, is a buzz-worthy tech term that you may have heard thrown around in recent years. Although IoT technology may sound like something from a science fiction novel, IoT devices are simply any “things” that are connected to the internet. So any “smart device” that you use is part of the IoT.
If you have a doorbell camera or a smart thermostat, those are IoT devices. If you use a smart lock, a smart smoke detector, or a smart lighting system, those are all IoT devices, too. Virtual assistants are also part of the IoT. If you ask Siri or Alexa or Hey Google to help you out with something, you are engaging in the internet of things.
You have probably heard of the cloud but may not be sure exactly what it is or how you use it. The cloud refers to a decentralized network of servers that can be accessed over the internet.
If you are now working remotely due to the global pandemic and can access your company’s systems from home, there is a good chance you are using the cloud.
Even if you are not working from home, you are probably using the cloud every day anyway. You may be backing up your iPhone to the Apple cloud or storing the programs on your DVR in the cloud if you are using a streaming TV service. If you are storing files that you access online, you are doing so from the cloud.
If you ever take medication, enjoy perishable foods, or fly on an airplane, there’s a good chance a data logger was involved in the production or distribution of the product you enjoyed.
As Dickson mentions here, they’re an important tool for monitoring temperature-sensitive products. These devices help monitor environments to keep people safe, make sure products work effectively, and keep food and medicines as fresh as possible.
These data loggers allow the cold chain (temperature-controlled supply chain) to function more effectively and efficiently. Data loggers used in this process can now report their data to remote cloud-based monitoring systems.
This makes it easier to monitor temperatures and other environmental factors from a central location. It saves companies money and allows them to ensure a precise temperature throughout the entire chain.
When you hear the term artificial intelligence, the first thing that comes to mind is probably C3P0, Hal 9000, or the Terminator. While artificial intelligence may someday take over and rule the world like in The Matrix, for now, it is a burgeoning technology with which we are all interacting more and more over time.
How does Facebook know what friends posts you most want to see? Or Netflix knows what shows you might also enjoy? They use AI to learn what you like and try to give you the best experience possible. The same thing goes for banking.
If you’ve ever gotten a possible fraud alert, it is because the banks’ AI sees an unusual spending pattern that doesn’t match your normal habits. AI is all around us in 2020 and is something we use every day, even if killer robots are still pretty far away.
Virtual reality is still a technology that is not yet widely used by people in their everyday life. That could well change in the near future as the technology progresses.
What is used much more often by the average person is the closely related augmented reality (AR). AR is when real-world images, usually seen through a digital camera like the one on your phone, is combined with digital images or other media.
The best example of AR in daily life comes from social media. If you use Snapchat filters to put dog ears on your photo or video or make yourself look like a baby, you are using augmented reality.
This technology is now used every day for fun but it has more serious uses as well. In healthcare, for example, surgeons can use AR to overlay an x-ray on a patient for more accurate results.
In any good futuristic movie, characters open doors with their palm print or access a safe with a retina scan. These are fictional examples of biometric authentication but there are many real-world examples in use today. Biometric authentication is anything that uses your unique biological markers to confirm your identity.
This is something that global law enforcement agencies have been using for years but it has recently become more common on the consumer side. Unlocking your phone with your fingerprint or now with face recognition is biometric authentication.
Places such as banks and airports are heavily using this technology nowadays behind the scenes to keep you safe and your assets secure. In future, the hope is that this can seriously cut down or even eliminate the opportunity for fraud.
You may not think about these technologies at all but the truth is, you are probably using the internet of things, the cloud, data loggers, AI, AR, and biometric authentication every day of your life.
In fact, you probably use these technologies dozens of times per day without even knowing it. Look at that, you are actually a lot more high tech than you thought!