Responsive Design

Responsive web design is an approach that aims to provide the best possible user experience regardless of the size of the device being used. Responsive websites are built to automatically scale to the size of the visitor’s device, a more efficient option than building separate websites for each device or producing apps for mobile devices and a website for desktops. This approach is used in one of every eight websites today, and is gaining popularity. But experts caution that designers need to think mobile-first. Keep websites simple and small, such that any content “above the fold” (content that can be seen without scrolling) loads within a second.

MORE NECESSARY ELEMENTS: Why No One is Coming to Your Website »

Autonomous Cars

Self-driving or driverless cars can sense what’s around them and navigate without human input. They possess varying levels of autonomy, from automatic braking or electronic stability at the most basic to keeping in lanes to functions such as starting, stopping, parking, and steering. Google and more recently Apple, as well as major car manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW, Nissan, Tesla have been testing driverless cars or features. You will start to see at least some of these features come to market by 2016. A number of test cars have been spotted in California, New York, Detroit and other cities.

MORE AUTONOMY: The Massive Opportunity of Driverless Cars »

Drones

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are aircrafts without a human pilot on board. The basic concept goes back centuries, and has been used in military for a long time. More recently the toy industry and hobbyists have created cheaper drones. Equipped with autopilot or remote control, cameras and GPS, these machines are becoming more popular with government, companies and individuals. Organizations are using them for photography, search and rescue, virtual tours of real estate, and of course Amazon’s “Prime Air Project” where they are testing drones to deliver packages purchased online within half an hour. But note that Transport Canada has strict rules about flying an unmanned aircraft.

MORE UAVs: Welcome to the Age of the Drone »

Machine Learning

An evolution of pattern recognition with applications in artificial intelligence, this field of computer science creates algorithms that learn from past data to make future predictions and decisions. Current applications include spam filtering and search engines. Watch for this field to have further applications as businesses start to mine the reserves of Big Data they have been collecting.

MORE MACHINE LEARNING: The Tasks Automation Will Take Over Next »

4D Printing

In 2013, I had 3D printing on my list of the year’s popular buzzwords. This year’s term was coined to integrate a fourth dimension: time. The materials used in 4D printing are flexible, and transform in a pre-programmed way over time. Potential applications include or products that can adapt to temperature or moisture, or medical implants and tubes that can change without requiring surgery. Skylar Tibbits’ TED Talk is an insightful perspective on this topic.

Cybele Negris is president and co-founder of Vancouver-based Webnames.ca Inc., Canada’s original .ca registrar and one of the country’s leading providers of web hosting and other Internet solutions. She is a veteran of the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs.

MORE 2015 TECH TRENDS:

What buzzwords would you add to this list? Let us know by commenting below.

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