What’s Happening Now in Technology

October 19, 2020

By Shige Ihara, President and CEO of NEC X

Recently, I was interviewed by Joe McKendrick, of Forbes Magazine, for his article entitled “The Next Boom: How The Post-Covid Future Is Unfolding For Technology Ventures.” In this post, I’ll expand on some of the points I made in that article.

A vast amount of exciting technologies and applications are in development at the moment. I’d like to share a few thoughts on some of these innovations, considering the current COVID-19 situation. Environmental change of this magnitude affects and stimulates innovation in various manners. It is interesting to consider such trends from the viewpoint of new technology developments.

I’ll begin with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Though these technologies aren’t brand new, we’re seeing indicators that VR/AR technology is becoming more generally accepted and commoditized. The market has already seen adoption for military and gaming applications, as well as training in areas like advanced surgery—and it’s pushing further. As remote work becomes the new normal, I believe VR/AR will become a growth area that will provide new and better interfaces for groupware as well as web conferencing under stay-at-home circumstances. We’re seeing startups already developing the VR/AR platforms and software that will enable these improvements.

Regarding the spread of the coronavirus, there are also technological developments in the area of personal information protection. We’re seeing development of technology and platforms that can share behavior trajectories and records of individuals while keeping personal information confidential. While we hope that a COVID-19 vaccine will be developed and popularized promptly, there will be a continued need for innovation in this area where personal data preservation is critical, due to the likelihood of new strains and new viruses in the future. This will drive demand for innovative systems that can effectively strike the balance between tracking the time, place and contact of each individual without sacrificing personal information protection.

Further, in light of the ongoing financial measures being taken by many governments to stimulate the economy in these trying times, I believe the role and function of currency will continue to evolve and create opportunities for technology-driven growth. While digital currencies—such as cryptocurrencies—have already appeared on the market, the potential remains for the emergence of an even larger-scale, inter-nation cybercurrency system.

A national cybercurrency system—like Federal Reserve Board-backed cybercurrency—may sound unconventional, but it’s very possible this prediction could become reality. Bitcoin recently made headlines for exceeding $12,000, the highest price it has had in over a year. There is a strong need and great opportunity for new technologies and platforms to help enable this shift some day, if it proves to be desirable, but work in this area is far too nascent for predictions on how it will take shape. That said, it’s certainly something to note, especially from a global perspective.

Lastly, and just as a broad comment, we’re seeing several social needs and drivers that have arisen during the pandemic that are stimulating new technology development, and development of new application areas that can help impact positive economic growth moving forward. While the current environment certainly presents entrepreneurs and developers with networking and fundraising challenges, these issues are being overshadowed by the excitement around potential growth in many areas, including those mentioned above.

There’s no doubt that technology impacts society, but the above trends particularly stand out as having high potential to create change. To stay in the know, be sure to follow NEC X on social media and subscribe to our email updates.

Until next time, keep driving innovation forward.