Fairfax Tech Column

Fairfax Tech Column

28.12.2018 Fairfax Tech Column 127


For my last column of the year, I thought I would interrupt my relaxed watching of the Boxing Day Test and glance back at my previous fifty-two columns and pick the best bits from the year. It seemed simple and quick and would allow me to get back to watching Pat Cummins attempt to finally dislodge some Indians.

I was wrong. Not so much about Pat Cummins but about reading over a few previous columns being a lazy option. In the hustle and bustle of day to day life, it is easy to forget about what has transpired over a year.

Luckily, for your enjoyment, you can easily access the almost 40,000 words I have written for Fairfax over the last year online but for those time starved, here are a few of my highlights.

The year started off with some discussion around international flights that are now connected to the Internet. Forget any of the social issues – this is, quite simply, an incredible piece of electronics engineering. I also discussed the idea of mobile security cameras and the introduction of the first 4G enabled security camera. As developed as televisions are, there is still some development left in this technology. 4K televisions are becoming more common and the first 8K TV was unveiled this year. 8K has four times the resolution of 4K and a price that is at a similar multiplier. Aussies currently enjoying the cricket on the latest Foxtel hardware are already experiencing 4K broadcasts but one Japanese broadcaster actually tested a broadcast in 8K this year. As I wrote in detail in the article on 8K, for most TV sizes at normal viewing distances, we are basically at our limit of the human eye. We also saw the latest wallpaper TV introduced – as much as an example of what is possible from a technological perspective.

With a variety of technological advances combining, we saw the inevitable progression of ‘smart home’ products and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. With lights and locks and cameras and sensors and more, it is hard to imagine ay new home being built in this country without some smart products somewhere. The prediction is that we will see over one billion IoT devices by the year 2025 and many of these are already being used in our homes and cars.

Connectivity is always a big issue. We saw the announcement of 4G on the moon and 5G on the Gold Coast (many of us would just settle for a phone call as we drive along a popular highway). 5G offers the attraction of high speeds and low latency which will combine to enable even better use of IoT.

Smartphone releases dominated news highlights around each release. The biggest release, of course, was the annual Apple September announcement. This year saw the iPhone Xs; Xs Max and XR with dual SIM capabilities headlining the revised features. Samsung continues its battle to take over the flagship position from Apple and this year saw the release of the Samsung S9; S9+ and the Note 9 with its S-Pen including remote camera activation. Google bounces around on the sidelines trying to be noticed and this year the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL captured the attention with a camera rated the best of any smartphone (I promise that will be my last pun for the year).

This was also the year where misinformation was the official word of the year for Dictionary.com and fake news was used extensively by Trump to describe any news article that was critical of him. It was also the year where the world of information storage by multinationals changed forever after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most important change in data privacy regulation for decades and I believe we will see more developments in this space over the next year.

That only scratches the surface but it would be fair to say that it was an exciting and interesting year in technology – pretty much the same as the last twenty-nine years that I have been involved in technology have been exciting and interesting. My prediction for next year is that we will, once again, have an exciting and interesting year!

All the very best for a technology filled New Year. I might even be bold enough to make some technology predictions in my next column…

Mathew Dickerson