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7 most important tech trends of 2012

John Brandon | Nov. 27, 2012
Technology trends can come and go with little more than a (Google) Wave, but seven trends of 2012 are here to stay. Some came out of nowhere, while others emerged after years of development.

5. Super High-Resolution Displays

The Samsung Series 9 monitor is an example of a brilliantly crisp, colorful, and super high-resolution monitor, which runs at 2560 x 1440 resolution, makes photos pop and Word documents look like they were a printed page sitting in front of you. This past year, Apple jumped on the bandwagon as well, with so-called Retina displays on the MacBook Pro laptop and the new iPad. With an increase in resolution, employees can keep a Skype video screen in one corner, a Web browser to the side and another business app on the same screen, all without any loss of fidelity or workspace cramping.

6. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

You might call this a troubling development, but the reality for most enterprises these days is that employees are bringing their consumer devices to work and using them for work. This can include mainstream devices such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, which is mostly intended for reading books and watching movies but has a lightning fast Web browser that works perfectly fine for corporate Webmail.

Most IT executives have responded in kind, using services such as the Cisco Systems BYOD Smart Solution to control how employees can use device son corporate networks without restricting them entirely.

7. 3-D Printing

Rapid prototyping has helped large companies for the past decade. When General Motors needs a new part for an electric car prototype, it spins one in its own prototyping lab. Now, though, 3-D printing is now a viable option for companies of any size. For example, the MakerBot Replicator costs $1,749 but can easily generate a part for a new bicycle or a protective smartphone case. Another barrier to entry smashed this year: You don't need a degree in engineering or 3-D design skills. You can download part designs from Thingiverse.com in the morning and start printing by the afternoon.

 

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