Technology trends 2017

01st January 2017
Technology trends 2017

Some technologies that surfaced  in 2016,  will increasingly touch us  in the new year.  Here’s a checklist
IndiaTechOnline Special
Bangalore, January 1 2017: Some rides  at the amusement park  are leisurely pleasures. Others are roller coasters.  The personal technology that   gadget makers thrust  at us in 2016, often gave us a dizzy feeling.   At the starting gates of a new year, it’s time to decide  which of the techno trends  are worth following. This  will help spend our money  sensibly in 2016. Here’s a checklist:
For images of these personal technologies see here
Mobile wallets
E-cash or mobile wallets could  see their fastest growth in early 2017. The cash travails of the last  50 days,  forced many of us to explore e-wallets for the first time. We  installed apps like PayTM, FreeCharge, MobiKwik – or one of the  bank-sponsored  wallets like Chillar or Pockets.  The problem is, none of them are universal and interchangeable  - that means  either a wallet will work with a  limited number of merchant establishments or  it requires the recipient to have installed the identical wallet.    You end up   dividing your money into multiple wallets.  Only last week, government announced yet another option, the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) where you don’t even need a phone, but your Aadhaar number should be linked to a bank.  In 2017, this can be expected to take off in a big way --   but   let’s wait till  some sort of shakeout happens to determine which is the de facto  national wallet.   Any Aadhaar-linked system  poses one technology challenge: authentication which means a finger print or iris eye scan – and this is  another technology  that will  peak in 2017.
See our Tech Video on Aadhaar enabled payments
on the home page for  a few days... |
or  later here

Phones with  scanners
Like tail wagging the dog,  the camera on the mobile phone is often more powerful than the phone itself.  Handsets with 20 megapixel cameras are here. Actually  pixel count alone,  doesn’t make for a  great camera –  both iPhone  7 and Google Pixel have just 12 MP cameras --you need good optics. The  biggest news of  2016 was the phone with a camera that let you shoot first, focus later.  It achieved this by offering a rear camera with 2 lenses: one  shooting  in colour,  the other in monochrome. 
It will make sense in 2017 to ensure that any new phone you buy has either a fingerprint scanner or an Iris scanner.  You can’t do much with it right now, except use it to  unlock your phone.  But government is  bending on industry to make such scanners Aadhaar-compliant – that means,  they come pre installed with software that can connect to the Aadhaar data base and  be used to  authenticate an Aadhaar number.    In 2016,  I saw only  one Aadhaar compliant device – a Samsung tablet – but Indian brands like Intex, Lava, Lyf and Micromax are known to be talking to  leading makers of iris scan technology likeActive Iris from DeltaID and  e-Parakh from Biomatiques.  By mid 2017, we  can expect to be offered  handsets with Aadhaar-certified  eye or finger scanners. Such a phone will be very useful in multiple situations including e-payments and ID-proof.
Chatbots and personal voice assistants
‘Bots are the new apps!’ says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. In 2016, chatbots – a combo of  two compelling technologies: Artificial Intelligence and  simple human conversation --  became a potent new tool. iPhone’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Voice Assistant are all quick learners and smooth talkers. You can talk to them to  find some information, order something or  open an app or tool.  The good news is you should be able to install a chatbot for free on almost any  phone  in 2017. Expect   leading e-sellers  like Amazon, e-Bay, FlipKart, MakeMyTrip to  offer chatbots which will allow you to make a selection and pay for it  (almost) entirely by voice.  A popular chat-based personal assistant  for iPhone and Android, is the Made-in-India Haptik.
Year of the Selfie?
The selfie craze swept  through 2016 and many makers are  optimizing  handsets to unimaginable levels  for the selfie-centred  owner.  Software  tools are available to make you look better than you are – and wide angle lenses ensure that your entire gang can fit in the frame.  According to Sanjiv Bhatia, co-founder of,  Viva V5, Oppo F1S, Honor 8, Gionee S6S and IPhone 7 are the most popular phones with Indian selfie seekers.  The V5 has a whopping 20 MP selfie camera.  A backlash was inevitable and many tourist spots now ban the taking of selfies – mostly  for the  taker’s own safety  or those of bystanders.  As front cameras become dual lensed and better every day, many are discovering the  joys of actually clicking things other than themselves. Try it, it could be addictive!
Type C,  is in
The reversible,  Type C USB Connector made a tentative appearance last year, on phones and tablets.  Some handsets like Pixel, IPhone 7 were Type-C only, using the port both for charging and data transfer. LeEco exploited the Type C link to power up features like noise cancellation on earphones, which otherwise would a called for additional batteries.    More new phones in 2017  will be only Type C – so be prepared to carry a USB adapter cable till it’s an all-C world.
Finally, it’s  4G
With 2016, 3G  started to fade away.  Anything less than 4G  on your phone  today and you  will lack the juice to drive 360 degree video,  always-on Internet, augmented reality and most of the new technologies that  are going mobile. Last week, Twitter enabled you to  send live video with your tweets. Google’s  Duo and Apple’s Facetime have made video calling as simple as voice. Reliance Jio harnessing 4G VoLTE, offers rich communication services where you can switch from voice to video at will
And the price is lower than ever; Last month, Pune-based Swipe launched a 4G VoLTE phone, the Konnect4G  for Rs 2799.  Internet is everywhere -- already in 100 railway stations, another 300 by end 2017, thanks to a Google  initiative.
Say hello to a tech-rich, purse-friendly 2017! -- IndiaTechOnline