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Tech trends: what to expect in 2016

“Cyber-security”, “encryption”, “the Cloud” and “machine learning” have been among the buzzwords of 2015. We expect them to be at least as trendy next year, with technology companies continuing to focus on innovative ways to make our lives better and safer. Here is a preview of some of the tech trends of 2016.

Machine learning technologies to be found in more and more products

Artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning, is everywhere these days. From Siri and Google Now to a plethora of apps and self-driving cars – software nowadays can develop and adapt when exposed to new data. Bitdefender uses advanced machine learning to learn malware patterns and anticipate and neutralize new threats anywhere in the world in just seconds.

“Machine learning amps up security,” writes InfoWorld’s Eric Knorr in a piece about enterprise tech trends for 2016 and beyond. The article mentions “flagging network anomalies, tracking user behavior, or detecting zero-day malware” among the security possibilities. “Advances will keep unfolding thanks to big data analytics in the cloud, but expect incremental gains, not miracles.”

The cloud keeps getting bigger

It’s not only the place where you keep your photos. Google has recently started to stream apps from the cloud – which means Android users can now run certain apps even if they are not installed on their smartphones. The apps actually load on virtual machines on Google’s cloud platform. Although limited to just nine apps for the moment, it will surely expand next year. The technology has tremendous implications; in the futures smartphones will be able to do more without huge computing power or storage capacity.

We at Bitdefender have dozens of proprietary technologies working together in the cloud to provide unmatched computing power and at the same time to take the strain off your computer’s resources, so performance remains unaffected.

More pixels per inch

Just as TV manufacturers try to lure in customers with higher and higher pixel density, many smartphone companies seem poised to engage in a screen resolution war. In 2016, expect 4K to come to some small(er) screens. After LG’s G3 debuted a quad HD (or 2K) screen, in 2015 most major smartphone manufacturers took the leap, offering twice the resolution of full HD in their flagship devices (with the notable exception of Apple, which sticks to the philosophy that ever-higher pixel counts are irrelevant to the naked eye). Sony Xperia Z5 Pemium recently became the first 4K smartphone, and it’s logical to assume that other makers will play catch-up in 2016.

3D Touch to expand

The latest major innovation found on iPhones, 3D Touch, is an amazing feature according to users. The iPhone senses how much pressure is applied to the display, which allows for new touch gestures and functions. As is customary in the mobile world, competitors will likely come up with their own versions, so keep an eye out – there’s a chance you might see the functionality in other flagship smartphones coming to market in 2016.

More devices to sport USB Type-C

We’ve seen the new USB Type-C connector this year on a few devices, such as Apple’s 2015 MacBook, Google’s second Chromebook Pixel and a handful of smartphones including the OnePlus 2 and the latest Nexus phones. Support for this reversible-plug connector seems almost universal in the industry, so expect to see it on a lot more devices in 2016.

Encryption: will controversy halt adoption?

It’s been one of the most important trends lately, as more turned to encryption to protect their privacy, especially since Edward Snowden’s revelations about widespread government surveillance.

With authorities trying to blame encryption for the failure to prevent terror attacks, it’s likely that governments will intensify the public campaign against privacy tools, and try to pass laws limiting encryption in 2016.

However, tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Samsung, Microsoft and others have already rejected calls to weaken encryption, saying this would actually help the bad guys. Apple’s iOS enables full encryption, and Google’s new iteration of Android, Marshmallow, makes full-disk encryption mandatory for most new devices. In conclusion, expect encryption to grow further in 2016.

IoT to gain more ground

Gartner fellow David Cearley, cited by PC Mag, says we need specific Internet of Things “platforms to bring together lots of different devices.” Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Google and GE have all started to offer such platforms, he says, adding he doesn’t see one dominant platform.

As people buy more smart devices for their homes, from intelligent thermostats to Internet-connected refrigerators, security for IoT is becoming a huge issue. The Box, an innovative security hub that guards your Wi-Fi network, could protect even those always-connected devices that can’t run antivirus protection.

“When Bitdefender says that the Box protects every device, they mean every device: Your printer, your desktop computer, your laptop, your sundry smartphones, your various tablets, your gaming consoles, your Nest smart thermostat, your smart fridge, your Philips Hue lights, and so on,” wrote PC Mag. “Many of these devices are completely closed to the user and can’t have antivirus protection installed.”

And, since we’ve mentioned encryption earlier, the Box lets you enable something called Private Line, which creates an encrypted connection for your mobile device, offering protection from viruses, hackers and privacy thieves even when you are away from home and using Wi-Fi hotspots.

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