Written by Simon Wraith - 11 October 2019

 

Simon Wraith – Head of Innovation at Symec – always has an eye out for emerging technologies and is trying to integrate them into different industries to help find creative business solutions. He shares his insights with his 5 most interesting emerging and developing technologies.

 

Magnesium Batteries - Twice the Amount of Energy Produced

Magnesium batteries are being investigated by scientists to see if they could be a more sustainable replacement for the Lithium Battery, as Magnesium has the potential to deliver twice as much power than a Lithium battery of the same size. Furthermore, the extraction of lithium has an environmental impact while Magnesium is more abundant and would have less impact on the environment. These salt water super cars are a bit of science fun and they use a magnesium fuel cell. Imagine if we could use that power in our mobile phones!

 

 

5G – Improving Connectivity Everywhere

5G promises to change the world, however I believe where it will make the most impact initially is as a replacement for poor fixed line broadband. In my experience even today, there are many small business units that have a very slow & unstable broadband. Options for upgrading the cable infrastructure are expensive, labour intensive, and have a lengthy installation time. 5G routers could be a viable replacement and an inexpensive solution, with no need to dig up the road. Small businesses aside, 5G will bring new Internet of Things (IOT) capabilities and improvements to connectivity when there are a lot of people/devices in proximity of each other (on a train or at a festival for example).

5G frequencies in the UK in a smart city

 

RFID - Seasoned Technology that’s Still Evolving

Although RFID has been around for decades it is continually developing. So far adoption of the technology has been slow, but I believe we are at a turning point with the latest Ultra High Frequency (UHF) technology. This is highlighted as we see a rapid increase in demand in the retail sector for RFID technology, especially in clothing retailers. In the future, the personalised advertising seen in Minority Report could become a reality with RFID loyalty cards.

 

 

Smart Dust (MEMS) - ‘Pushing the Envelope’ for IoT

Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) this is an emerging technology and will likely take a while before there is widespread adoption; however, I believe it’s one to keep an eye on. Simply, they’re micro sensors that work in a network and can communicate back to base or to each other. These sensors can measure everything and collect data on movement, sound pressure, temperature, humidity and a whole host of other elements.

Smart dust - future technology

 

The use cases are endless, and they could be applied across most industries from inventory tracking to agriculture to smart cities.

Autonomous Vehicles - The Smart Warehouse

Just like RFID, the use of autonomous vehicles in the warehouse has been around for a while; although, the number of businesses using these machines is growing and they are getting smarter. The Ocado warehouse is a prime example of how robots are making grocery delivery profitable, as shown below.

 

Drones are another example of autonomous vehicles that can cut costs. They could be programmed to follow a predefined route for checking inventory, thus reducing the need for valuable human resource and saving time.

Warehouse management drone doing a stock check

 

Other technologies Simon is actively exploring are Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Gesture control, eSIM, Narrowband-IOT, and more!