With hardware innovation at a plateau, software gets smarter

It’s no great secret that designers have made huge advances in hardware that even 10 years ago was unimaginable. But with the industry flattening out somewhat in terms of new innovation—after all we can already perform complex tasks from anywhere with a swipe of our finger on fast, lightweight devices—the development of groundbreaking new software working in conjunction with these devices is quickly becoming a focus of the tech sector. Here are three trends in software technology:

• Making devices more “aware”: Using sensor-laden devices, programs such as Microsoft Kinect, combined with computational engines like Wolfram, can sense a users environment and instantly adjust sounds and graphics (automatically switching to vibrate mode in quiet situations for example, or alerting you that your flight is cancelled before you leave for the airport).

• Streamlining email: Managing and organizing email is becoming much easier with a host of new apps such as Mailbox for the iPhone, which seamlessly interfaces with Gmail accounts to clear away clutter and prioritize important messages with a single swipe.

• Expanding NFC: Near Field Communication works by interfacing with traditional objects that contain the same built-in components (think: exchanging contact information by touching phones.) But the same software technology that governs NFC is being expanded into everything from door handles to sidewalks, instantly gathering location and situational awareness. What does this mean in practical terms? Imagine loading up your cart at the grocery store and having the bill paid automatically as you walk out the door.

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