GRAND RAPIDS — Robots and the role they may play in the future of professional sports will be the highlight this year of the Tech Trends predictions made by Keith Brophy, long-time West Michigan information technology serial entrepreneur.
Brophy’s annual Tech Trends predictions have become a staple in the Grand Rapids tech community, drawing hundreds of people to the presentation each year. Because of the overflow crowd expected, aimWest, the event’s primary host for many years, has moved the Feb. 20 event to the Eve restaurant at the BOB.
Brophy speaks at 6:15 pm. Networking starts at 5:30 p.m.
“This is the twelfth year of delivering the trends so we’ve covered a lot of ground over the years — over 100 trends,” Brophy said. “Some have been on the mark, like the pre-release prediction of great iPhone success at a time when many were cynical of the need for another cell phone; the early prediction of the success of cloud computing at a time when many felt it didn’t have the security or performance for widespread adoption; the early prediction that mobile device usage would outstrip PC usage, which happened last year when mobile device sales surpassed PC and laptop sales; and the long-ago prediction that parts would be increasingly inserted in bodies, eventually with wireless connections, which now has happened on many fronts.”
Brophy admits, though, that other trends have fallen flat on their behind. Those include predictions about robots, chips in peoples’ arms for ID purposes, and the success of the Segway motorized scooter.
“This year’s trends will focus on areas including a prediction on the future of professional sports that I suspect will be quite controversial, looking at the evolving role of technology and the social impact of steroids, Lance Armstrong’s scandal, the one-legged Olympic sprinter, and other factors,” Brophy said. “The conclusions — and the return of robots into my predictions — may not be embraced by many, but it is a trend I am confident in.”
Another big emphasis trend, he said, will be on the role of 3-D printers to revolutionize everything from medicine to food. The 3-D printer will replace trips to the convenience store for consumers and the expense of customer-made parts of businesses, as well as provide a perfect way to mold insertable body parts for certain medical practices.
Brophy will talk about evolving smart technologies for defensive buildings that are increasingly built with a focus on preventing violence from bombings, shootings and even physical altercations. These environments will be expensive but highly effective and increasingly common, he said.
“Perhaps the most highly debated trend will be the prediction of the disappearance of the phone. It will happen,” Brophy said. “Unfortunately, it won’t free us from communication. Rather, it will just move it to a different platform that will be with us all the time.”
For more information, surf on over to www.aimwest.org.