It took humans over 65 thousand years to invent the wheel and it was one of the most breakthrough technological revolutions in the history of humanity. Today, almost six thousand years later, several not less important revolutions happen each year and the pace of changes continues accelerating exponentially.
New technologies literally change the world making our tomorrow mysterious and unpredictable. But what can we do to embrace the future? Well, we, unfortunately, cannot make accurate predictions, but we can definitely keep track of the software development trends appearing on the horizon.
In this article, we outlined technologies that have a potential to spread around the globe in the next 1–10 years. So let’s look under the veil of time to come together!
The idea of quantum computing is not quite new. Scientists started thinking about it at the beginning of the 1980s and, it is still in the early stage of research and development. Nevertheless, quantum computing has already become the area of focus in the tech world and it’s anticipated to turn into a general trend in software development within the next decade. So what is so special about quantum computers?
In quantum computing, data is encoded in so-called quantum bits (qubits) that can be in superpositions of states. In simple words, this means that a qubit can represent 0 and 1 at the same time, unlike regular bits that can be either in a state of 0 or 1. The superpositions allow qubits to increase computing capacity, minimize the risk of error, make accurate predictions and significantly improve data encryption up to the level when it’s impossible to hack it. It’s expected that quantum computers will eventually outperform traditional computers, even the most powerful ones.
The largest tech corporations are now racing to build the first quantum chip that will actually work as it supposed to, but the main problem is that it’s quite hard to maintain a qubit in a superposition for a long (or at least sufficient) period of time as it tends to collapse into particular state (0 or 1) when external conditions are changed.
Google, Intel, IBM, and Microsoft have already tried to build quantum computers, but all of them have way too few qubits to have a real commercial value. Besides, China is to build a $10 billion laboratory to conduct quantum computing experiments.
It’s expected that we’ll have the first real use cases within the next 10 years or so. Yet, the exact date of quantum supremacy, i.e. the time when a quantum computer will be able to do something that common computers cannot do, is still hard to predict.
Voice search is not brand-new technology in software development but it is one of the most popular tech trends nowadays. The reason is that it’s expected to replace regular searches via touchscreens and keyboards in the nearest year or two.
The above predictions are based on the statistics that are quite impressive. For example, in 2017, 1 in 4 shoppers in the US used voice assistants to do their holiday shopping and it’s anticipated that about 50% of all online searches will be voice searches by 2020.
Speaking about voice-activated engines, Amazon Alexa, a virtual assistant developed by Amazon, holds its leadership position on the market, but its rivals do not lag behind. Google, Microsoft and other companies are working to improve the accuracy of speech recognition and expand the domain of possible questions users may ask.
For example, recently, Google announced speakable markup that allows publishers to indicate the parts of articles to be read aloud by Google Assistant, so the later can respond to a user’s query with the most relevant excerpt and then ask a user if they want to hear the rest of the text.
This app development trend has also good perspectives in the long run since chatbots which can recognize and reply to voice commands will eventually replace customer service agents and even the sellers in shopping centers.
Building digital twins is a software development trend that has good chances to conquer the manufacturing and engineering industries in the nearest 3–5 years. In simple words, a digital twin is a virtual model of physical buildings, products, systems and processes. Thanks to the numerous sensors and the application of artificial intelligence, digital twins are closely linked to the original objects that allow companies to track the changes in assets and optimize their performance.
Digital twins are widely used in the space industry as the whole idea was developed to help maintain and repair spacecraft, however, it’s expected that about 50% of large manufacturers will use this technology by 2021. Hence, exploiting digital twins is turning from a trend in software development into a must-have tool for any business that wants to stand out from competitors.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been used by companies for a few years now, but it seems their popularity hasn’t reached its peak yet. According to International Data Corporation, in 2021, total spending on VR and AR projects will constitute around $160 billion that is almost twenty times more than total spending on similar products was in 2017.
Such rapid growth of these new technologies in software development may be explained by the fact that the immersive solutions have already proved their commercial relevance and not only in the gaming industry. Businesses no longer look at VR and AR as at interesting-to-try things; companies start considering them as tools to reshape their business activity and take interaction with customers to the next level. Many big brands such as Ikea, Lego, Audi, Toyota and Farber have already followed this trend in software development by building AR/VR apps, so it will unlikely take other businesses much time to do the same.
If you want to read more about software development trends 2017–2018, see our article on this topic.