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Things have changed a lot in the last year, especially in the realm of technology.
Just a year ago, 5G networks were on a smooth path to unquestioned rapid growth dominance. Today, while there has been much progress, and while there are some 5G capable devices available, it is far from universal. In some areas, such as near schools and residential areas, people were putting up roadblocks to 5G towers. Overall, there has been much progress, but the pace seems slower than was expected just a year ago. Some limitations are being identified, and there is already talk of 6G becoming available well before the end of the decade.
Extended reality (XR)—or one of the various extended reality segments, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), etc.—was making progress at light speed. It still is progressing, but much of the hardware that was about to become available during 2020 has been delayed. Areas where XR has true value—such as military, medical, and tech service—are progressing rapidly and with the 2020 shutdown areas, including XR-enabled gaming partially by next-generation graphic processing units (GPUs), is quickly accelerating. It has been reported that XR digital game spending reached over $10B in April 2020 and has continued to grow.
We all know that video conferencing has taken off. Is there anyone who has not been on a Zoom or Microsoft Teams call in the last week? Many of us are on two or more a day. So far, the use of XR in teleconferencing is minimal, but I would expect that area to accelerate greatly in the next 18 months.
Last winter, some of us predicted that trade shows might have to be canceled, with the key indicator being what would happen with 2021 CES. This year’s mega-event in Vegas will not take place, at least not in its usual way, but there will be a virtual show, demonstrations, and presentations. Other events have also followed that path. I predict that it will not slow down the introduction of new devices; in some cases, it will accelerate it. For example, the leading supplier of graphic processing technology, NVIDIA, just introduced their next generation of GPUs (more on that later).
Usually, one could expect that CES would be the perfect place to introduce this highly anticipated generation of devices, but with this show being different than the type we are used to, why not introduce the RTX 3000 series sooner? This introduction has been so successful that I would expect other similar accelerated introductions. Without major in-person trade shows, how will we focus on, stay up to date on, and easily compare all the new technology and devices?
With this preview, let’s consider the specifics of some areas that demonstrate the acceleration or deceleration of change.
To read this entire article, which appeared in the October 2020 issue of PCB007 Magazine, click here.