Aki’s eye

Aki Anastasiou hosts the tech show Technobyte on Talk Radio 702. Follow @AkiAnastasiou

The ‘Greek Geek’ speaks about some of the stories from the worlds of science and tech that have recently caught his attention.

Glow in the dark road s become reality

Poorly painted roads can be frustrating especially when driving at night and not being able to clearly see the road markings. That’s about to change. What started off as an idea by designer Daan Roosegaarde has now turned into reality after collaboration with Dutch construction company Heijmans. The Glowing Lines project uses a special paint that charges during the day using solar energy and then glows during the night making the road markings clearly visible. The technology lights up when a vehicle is detected and dims when there is no traffic to conserve energy. The project, which initially ran in a test phase, has now gone live on the N329 in Oss, in the Netherlands. The team hope to roll out this futuristic technology internationally as well as to use the Glowing Lines for marking bicycle lanes.

WiFi, WiFi everywhere

By 2018 there will be nearly one Wi-Fi hotspot for every twenty people on earth, so says iPass, a company that builds and manages WiFi networks. According to the latest research one hotspot is added every second. Currently there are over 47 million hotspots around the world. The French are the hotspot kings, and currently have over 13 million hotspots across the country, followed by USA (9.8 million) and UK (5.7 million). Interestingly 50 percent of commercial hotspots are controlled by brands. According to iPass, the total number of hotspots globally is set to grow to over 340 million hotspots by 2018. Hotspot growth is expected to happen mostly in public areas with a strong retail presence and in residential areas. Massive growth is also expected in trains and airplanes. Driven by consumer demand for data and connectivity the internet is fast becoming a ubiquitous experience, and in the next decade hotspots will be like electricity and water – they’ll be everywhere!

Is the novelty wearing off?

Do you have a wearable device like a Fitbit or a smartwatch? Are still wearing it after three months? Do your eyes still light up when you show off your fancy wearable gadget to your friends or has the fad passed? The adoption rate of these wearables is certainly gaining in traction. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Wearable Future report around 20 percent of Americans own some kind of wearable device. Around 53 percent of those owners are millennials and early adopters of this new technology. The interesting part of the survey shows that 33 percent of surveyed consumers who purchased a wearable technology device more than a year ago now say they no longer use the device at all or use it infrequently.

Come to think of it I am in the same situation. The truth is the excitement does ‘wear’ off if I use the pun. Nobody has quite cracked the user interface yet and battery life can be cumbersome, and that is probably the biggest issue. Who wants to recharge something every day!

Phablets, watches and record sales

Much speculation and anticipation was finally quelled when Apple revealed a slew of product releases, including a sneak preview of its foray into the smartwatch (expected in 2015). With new iPhones, an iPad and a 27-inch iMac also launched at the September event these new products are already producing robust sales. The company is set for record revenues heading into the festive season, having sold 10 million iPhones in the first three days on sale – a new record for the company.

The popularity of the new iPhones has been astounding locally as well, with diehard fans queuing up to get their upgrades when the devices went on sale in South Africa on 24 October.

The two new models, the iPhone 6 and the 6+ feature a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch respectively and are both larger than previous iPhones, with the iPhone 6+ falling into the phablet category.

Phablets are the fastest growing sector in mobility, and network operators have been surprised by the demand. Initial expectations were an 80/20 split in iPhone sales with most consumers opting for the smaller iPhone. But since the launch of the latest iPhone iterations, that split seems to be changing to almost a 50/50 split. These numbers coincide with Accenture’s Digital Consumer Tech Survey 2014 where over half (51 percent) of US consumers surveyed plan to buy a smartphone in the next year would prefer a phablet.

Consuming more video and browsing more, phablet users also use much more data, which is probably why networks think that phablet users are fab. Okay, that was weak.

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