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June 6, 2017
The Overlooked Surprises of Apple’s WWDC Keynote

May 30, 2017
Are AR and VR Only for Special Occasions?

May 23, 2017
The Digital Car

May 16, 2017
Digital Assistants Drive New Meta-Platform Battle

May 9, 2017
Getting Smart on Smart Speakers

May 5, 2017
Intel Opens High-Tech "Garage"

May 2, 2017
The Hidden Value of Analog

April 28, 2017
Google’s Waymo Starts Driving Passengers

April 25, 2017
The Robotic Future

April 21, 2017
Sony Debuts New Pro Camera

April 18, 2017
Should Apple Build a Car?

April 14, 2017
PC Market Outlook Improving

April 11, 2017
Little Data Analytics

April 7, 2017
Facebook Debuts Free Version of Workplace Collaboration Tool

April 4, 2017
Samsung Building a Platform Without an OS

March 31, 2017
Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Creators Update Release Date

March 28, 2017
Augmented Reality Finally Delivers on 3D Promise

March 24, 2017
Intel Creates AI Organization

March 21, 2017
Chip Magic

March 17, 2017
Microsoft Unveils Teams Chat App

March 14, 2017
Computing on the Edge

March 7, 2017
Cars Need Digital Safety Standards Too

February 28, 2017
The Messy Path to 5G

February 24, 2017
AMD Launches Ryzen CPU

February 21, 2017
Rethinking Wearable Computing

February 17, 2017
Samsung Heir Arrest Unlikely to Impact Sales

February 14, 2017
Modern Workplaces Still More Vision Than Reality

February 10, 2017
Lenovo Develops Energy-Efficient Soldering Technology

February 7, 2017
The Missing Map from Silicon Valley to Main Street

January 31, 2017
The Network vs. The Computer

January 27, 2017
Facebook Adds Support For FIDO Security Keys

January 24, 2017
Voice Drives New Software Paradigm

January 20, 2017
Tesla Cleared of Fault in NHTSA Crash Probe

January 17, 2017
Inside the Mind of a Hacker

January 13, 2017
PC Shipments Stumble but Turnaround is Closer

January 10, 2017
Takeaways from CES 2017

January 3, 2017
Top 10 Tech Predictions for 2017

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TECHnalysis Research Blog

June 13, 2017
Computing Evolves from Outside In to Inside Out

By Bob O'Donnell

Sometimes, the most radical changes come from simply adjusting your perspective.

In the case of computing and the devices we spend so much of our time on, that perspective has almost always been from the outside, where we look into the digital world that smartphones, PCs, and other devices essentially create for our viewing pleasure.

But, we’re on the cusp of one of the most profound changes in how people interact with computers in some time. Why, you ask? Because now, those devices are incorporating data from the real-world around us, and enabling us to see an enhanced version of the outside world from the inside out. In a sense, we’re going from digital data inside to digitally-enhanced reality on the outside.

The most obvious example of this phenomenon is augmented reality (AR), which can overlay internally created digital images onto our devices’ camera inputs from the real world and create a mixed reality combination. In truth, the computer vision technology at the heart of AR has applications in many other fields as well—notably for autonomous driving—and all of them involve integrating real-world data into the digital domain, processing that data, and then generating real-world outcomes that we can physically see, or otherwise experience. However, this phenomena of inside out computing goes way beyond that.

All the sensor data that devices are collecting from the simultaneously profound and meaningless concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) is giving us a whole new perspective on the world, our devices, and even the people around us. From accelerometers and gyroscopes in our smartphones, to microphones in our smart speakers, to vibration sensors on machines, there’s a staggering amount of data that’s being collected, analyzed, and then used to generate information and, in many cases, actions on our behalf.

The process basically involves measuring various aspects of the physical world, converting those measurements into data, computing results from that data, incorporating that data into algorithms or other programs designed to react to them, and then generating the appropriate result or action.

This is where several other key new concepts come together in this new inside-out view of computing. Specifically, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are at the heart of many of these new data processing algorithms. Though there are many types of ML and AI, in many cases they are focused on finding patterns and other types of logical connections in the data.

In the real world, this means that these algorithms can do things like examine real-world images, our calendar, our documents, the music we listen to, etc., and convert that “input” into more meaningful and contextual information about the world around us. It helps determine, for example, where we should go, what we should eat, who we should meet—the permutations are staggering.

Most importantly, the real-world data that our devices can now collect or get access to can then be used to “train” these algorithms to learn about what we do, where we are, what we like, etc. At its heart, this is what the concept of ambient computing—which is essentially another way to talk about this inside-out computing model—is all about.

As different and distinct as the many technologies I’ve discussed may first appear, they all share this outward projection of computing into the real world. This is a profoundly different, profoundly more personal, and profoundly more valuable type of computing than we’ve ever had before. It’s what makes the future of computing and AI and IoT and AR and all of these components of “contextual computing” so exciting—and so scary.

Never before have we really seen or experienced this extension of the digital world into our analog lives as intensely as we are now starting to see. Sure, there have been a few aspects of it here or there in the past, but we’re clearly entering into a very different type of computing future that’s bound to give all of us a very different perspective.

Here's a link to the column:

Bob O’Donnell is the president and chief analyst of TECHnalysis Research, LLC a market research firm that provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. You can follow him on Twitter @bobodtech.

Leveraging more than 10 years of award-winning, professional radio experience, TECHnalysis Research participates in regular audio podcasts in conjunction with the team at
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