TECH TO WATCH: 2020 EDITION

Chanel Turner

Technology is an essential part of life – from communication to visualisation and professional services… it’s hard to imagine a life without it. Join us as we detail some tech to watch that is yet again, pushing the boundaries of what #tech can add to our quality of life.

Technology – we’ve all heard of it; ‘The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.’ From work to home life, to new car features and smart phones aplenty, technology is well and truly an integral part of modern society.

Alexa can lock your front door, Siri can answer any question, your car’s entertainment system can text with voice command… I mean, we’re living in the future, right? Well, that’s what we think until the NEXT technology comes out. The new-er iPhone, the driverless cars, the foldable plasma screens, the immersive technology zones, even the branch-less banks that can transfer money to the other side of the world in a matter of minutes, and the list could go on and on. We live in a world where technology is synonymous with everyday life, and so is its constant evolution.

I for one feel incredibly lucky to be in a world where innovation, invention and ambition are part of how we approach life.

It hasn’t been tried before? I’ll try it.

It hasn’t been built before? We’ll build it.

It doesn’t exist yet? Don’t mind me, it does now!

As February is a month dedicated to emerging technology and innovation in our sector, with the likes of ISE opening their doors to the who’s who of world AV, we felt it was an ideal time to bring attention to some exciting emerging tech we have our eyes on. And who better to recommend these hot new inventions, than some of our experts at Pufferfish.

See below 6 key emerging technologies we feel are worth shouting from the roof tops… “Okay Google, list the tech!”

#1 from Bjorn Hulman, Head of Design

Apis Cor, 3D Printed Architecture:

With construction being one of the busiest sectors globally, there have been examples of 3D printed architecture for years, but never on this scale – insert excited emoji here! The robotic construction company, Apis Cor have now used the technology to build the ‘world’s largest 3D-printed building’, a two-storey office in Dubai. “Measuring 9.5 metres high with a floor area of 640 square metres, Apis Cor built the structure for the Dubai Municipality. The company claims it is the largest 3D-printed building ever built.” (dezeen)

Better yet, this innovative answer to construction is quoted as ‘reducing construction waste by 60%’ (techradar) as well as delivering huge cost savings. It even allows for more complex architectural shapes to be constructed. So not only technologically brilliant, but increases creative capabilities and it’s environmentally friendly. Win win!

#2 from Shelley Mullen, BD Specialist

British Airways / BotsAndUs, Airport Robotics:

Ever found yourself wondering what the future of airport check-ins looks like? Will the queues ever get shorter, will the frustrated travellers ever find peace. Well imagine no longer. Welcome the British Airways answer to better efficiency and customer service in Heathrow Airport – the BotsAndUs autonomous robots. Programmed to interact with passengers in multiple different languages, offering a 360° radius, geo-location technology, dozens of sensors, and more; the robots will ‘move around the airport terminal freely and safely, escorting customers to specific locations such as the airline’s dedicated Special Assistance and Family Check-In zones.’

“In the latest stage of British Airways’ investment in airport automation, the airline has announced that from 2020 it will trial AI-powered autonomous robots at its home at Heathrow Terminal 5 to help some of the 90,000 customers who travel through the terminal each day navigate through the airport, freeing up the airlines’ award-winning airport hosts to help customers with more complex queries.”

I don’t know about you, but suddenly I’m feeling a trip via-Heathrow Terminal 5 coming on!

#3 from Steve Graur, Software Engineer

Looking Glass Factory, 8K Holographic Display:

We’ve spoken about this technology before, and to say we’re obsessed with it is an understatement. But here we go again!

One to watch (and buy ASAP) is ‘the world’s largest, highest-resolution holographic display’, Looking Glass Factory’s 8K Holographic Display. Coming in two sizes, 8.9” or 15.6”, this incredible invention even offers features like VR peripherals. In other words, you have a 3D holographic projection on screen, you hold a VR torch in real time towards the screen, it will react accordingly - as if the light were shining into the holograph. Mind blowing technology, and such a creative approach to holographic projection.

“The Looking Glass powers creators and businesses seeking to bring the science fiction dream of holograms to life.”

We couldn’t agree more!

#4 from Ben Allan, Head of Sales

Barco, UDM Laser Projectors:

The experts at Barco always have a special place with us at Pufferfish, but when they continue to innovate their endlessly top-quality laser projection technology – they should have a special place with everyone! We are thrilled to highlight their new ‘game changing UDM platform’. Offering ‘technical superiority, maximum ease-of-use’ and ‘astonishing versatility’ the UDM comes in 15K and 22K, and in true Barco style, never compromises on the image quality or brightness your content deserves.

Its small in size, but don’t let the size fool you - you won’t have to compromise on quality, colour, or well… anything!

So why choose UDM?


  • Create impactful experiences with the light-weight and compact UDM which never compromises on the image quality or brightness of your projection.

  • Trust the UDM's robustness to withstand hard life on the road, and deliver superior quality in the most diverse setups due to its exceptional flexibility.

  • Enjoy complete peace-of-mind thanks to the modular design ensuring fast and simple serviceability.

  • Keep track of your projectors anywhere and anytime thanks to the Barco Insights' efficient remote management platform.


We’re a fan, you’re a fan. We’re all a fan!

#5 from Andrew Johnson, Software Developer

Boston Dynamics, SPOT the Mobile Robot:

With their slogan of; ‘Changing your idea of what robots do’, Boston Dynamics have always been a step ahead when it comes to robotics. From developing human-like robots that can run, jump, back flip (yes, I said back flip!) and as I would describe it, full on parkour – their robots have pushed the limits of what is possible for machine mobility.

Then came SPOT the dog, ‘the mobile robot designed for sensing, inspection and remote operation.’ Able to open doors, walk up and down stairs, walk across rough terrain and even pull heavy vehicles.

It’s insane, it’s brilliant, and it’s 100% stronger than me, so it’s one to watch!

#6 from Adam Kale, Software Developer

Cirque du Soleil, VR and AR:

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality feel like they’ve been around for some time now, but they’re still very much being worked on and improved upon each year. And while you tend to recognise this in the format of VR headsets and filters on Snapchat (we’ve all tried the dog filter… don’t lie!), they’re now also being used by the biggest name in global circus performance – the giants at Cirque du Soleil.

With the purpose of bringing their incredible shows to every corner of the globe, they developed their own VR application to allow everyone to experience their shows like they’d ‘never been seen or felt before’, outside of their big top tents. “Get onstage and step straight into the heart of Cirque du Soleil’s most thrilling moments, now all together in one eye-opening universe.” And with the purpose of designing innovative, never seen before stages that can tour around the world, they’re also using AR software to test stage designs, props and choreograph scenes. With high risk stunts and stages that require dynamism on a mind-boggling scale, AR has been a hugely positive addition to their creative design and planning process.

I don’t know about you, but the world of live theatre adopting VR and AR makes us VERY excited for what immersive creations can be innovated. Watch this space… literally!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be desperate to go out and buy yourself some new toys or book a Cirque du Soleil show (or two!)... And we would encourage it! Long may February stay the month of all thing emerging technology, and long may we have the opportunity to talk about it, experiment with it, and use it for R&D.

Thank you to our brilliant team for sharing their insights, they are some of the geniuses behind everything we do, so remember those faces!

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