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Tech Savvy: Happy tech year

Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! I hope you all had a safe and fun New Year's celebration, hopefully you all make some realistic resolutions. It's that time once again to make my not so bold predictions for 2016.

Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! I hope you all had a safe and fun New Year's celebration, hopefully you all make some realistic resolutions. It's that time once again to make my not so bold predictions for 2016.

Every year there are thousands of tech gadgets, gizmos and devices flooding the market. Some are much needed and are a hit while others miss the mark and fade out pretty quickly. There are always some anomalies that take the world by storm even though it makes no sense, like Tickle Me Elmo. One of the world's most annoying robotic, almost interactive dolls was a one-hit-wonder that drove the market insane.

Apart from these anomalies, here are a few things I think will take hold in 2016.

Digital assistants have kind of been on the fringe for some time. Often they serve specific functions, like Kayak travel apps, which can pick up flights and travel information from emails and create an itinerary for you. Or they might be Siri or Google Voice, where you can activate them and use them to schedule calendar events, get answers and control various things.

However, what I'm thinking is we will see something even more robust, a form of artificial intelligence that will start to take things to the next level. It'll be something that acts like more of an independant assistant. I just signed up to get on a waiting list for an appointment setting digital assistant called x.ai, with an interface named Amy. If you go here https://x.ai?rf=1cacqm5 to check it out it will boost me up in line to try it out.

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What makes x.ai so cool is once you initiate the process it will completely take over. I should be able to send an email to Amy to set up coffee with a friend and she will contact them, compare schedules and then send out a calendar invite to both of us. You can customize your meeting preferences and it doesn't require any special app, it's all handled via the cloud. Granted, this will shed a layer of privacy but that is the inherent trade-off with tech as a service.

Augmented reality is making the list again, like every year, but with a different twist. Rather than booming onto the scene I think the focus will be taken into 3-D this year. I just got a notice that tech company KDX will unveil glasses-free 3-D technology at the CES show in Las Vegas this coming week.

I find this really intriguing and it may provide consumers with something everyone can enjoy without added peripherals like glasses. I can't imagine what this technology will cost initially, but just that it is commercially available will be pretty exciting.

Gaming comes to mind for one of its intended uses, but imagine what the possibilities would be in an educational setting for technology like this. Biology, chemistry and other sciences would benefit from easily viewable modeling. Similarly, those working on mechanical parts or repairs could use this type of tech to showcase all kinds of different scenarios.

Augmented reality will definitely have its time in the sun. But at this point the technical know-how, cost of implementation and ease of use have limited its adoption into the mainstream. It won't be able to break out until some of those barriers are reduced.

Crowdfunding's honeymoon is coming to an end, in the sense it has become so prevalent it is almost the new norm. In my opinion, it's starting to lose a little ground.

Remember when Kickstarter and IndieGoGo first started out? Every project was unique, cool and innovative. Now, people have figured out it can be a way to make a quick buck, and some of the projects feel lazy.

Don't get me wrong, there are still a ton of cool projects that need funding. But it's almost like shopping for the best deals rather than being able to get behind something as a cause.

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Also with the recent spate of high level snafus, people may be a little more gun shy to back these at the drop of a hat. The inherent risk has become more obvious recently.

It won't be an issue for the projects who have experienced businesspeople planning them, but for many it's a reach for their knowledge base and they will have challenges in getting all their ducks in a row. Consumers are expecting things at a faster rate and if it's a cool project there needs to be appropriate planning behind it.

I anticipate crowdfunding will continue to see a huge surge in participation, but I also imagine we will not see as many mega-successes simply because there will be more people wanting funds. What this may do is if everyone funds more projects, but with less money, it may mean less projects will be funded overall.

Content and personalized marketing will also be the norm. Technology has advanced exponentially in marketing lately and you certainly have noticed it. Ads for products you've looked at will follow you around as you browse the Internet and videos you watch on YouTube have ads that are relevant to your interests. Facebook has been serving demographically and interest-based ads nearly since its inception.

What will change, not entirely, will be how it's presented. Businesses are now realizing the importance of being able to share their expertise on the products or services they provide. In many cases a more effective way to do that is by creating content rather than only standard ads.

Picture this as a consumer: if you're buying parts for your car, you see ten ads that simply say that store is the best, or you can watch a video on how to install the product you're looking for, created by one of the stores you can purchase it from.

They are establishing their expertise as a trusted name by showing you they know what they're talking about. Whether you buy it from their store or not, they have provided something valuable to you, and realistically, wouldn't you rather buy the part from the guy you saw installing it and get some pointers from him while you're at it?

Finally, luxury items will become more important in the tech world. People are beginning to show they not only want cool things, but they want nice things.

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For example, you may remember the review I did of the Mujjo gloves a while back. They are touchscreen capable, and they are still about the most comfortable gloves I use. They just released an improved version of their leather gloves.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to get my hands on, or rather in, them, but they are top quality products and add a level of refinement people will be looking for. They also released a leather bound, polycarbonate framed, wallet case for the latest iPhones.

I tell you, it almost makes me wish I had an iPhone. OK, not really, but the cases really do look good. Check them out at www.mujjo.com , as this Dutch company has definitely staked their claim in the luxury side of things.

Have a great New Year!

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