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What’s The Future Of Computer Hardware?

When the question “What is the future of computer hardware?” is asked, one of the first answers for the past 50 years has been Moore’s Law. Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel predicted that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits would double every 2 years.

To put that in simpler terms, every 2 years the processing power we can pack into a square inch doubles. That growth rate is what allows manufacturers to jam more power into the smartphone in your pocket than they could into a supercomputer the size of a room 30 years ago.  

But, as they say, nothing lasts forever…

In all actuality, Moore’s “law” was really just a prediction, not a law of the universe. It was an exceptionally well thought out self-fulfilling prophecy that is coming to a close. Recently, the rate at which our processing power doubles has slowed to once every 2.5 years roughly with no expectation of things going back to normal.

Don’t panic just yet though! The reason for this gradual slowdown is because we’re gearing up for the next big explosion in computer hardware, quantum computing.

For more on that and what else to expect from computer hardware in years to come, we asked a group of industry experts…

What’s The Future Of Computer Hardware?

Their answers may surprise you…  

Achin Bhowmik, VP & GM of the Perceptual Computing Group at Intel Corporation

“I believe we are on the verge of an era of unprecedented evolution of computing devices and machines, one that is equivalent to the Cambrian Explosion of evolution that took place in nature over 500 million years ago and witnessed an exponential diversification of biological organisms. With breakthrough innovations in sensing and processing technologies, we are increasingly endowing devices and machines with the abilities to see, hear, feel and understand the world around them, autonomously navigate in the 3D world, and intelligently interact with humans and other machines in intuitive ways. Science fiction novels and movies have long depicted such devices, but now we are starting to transform the fictions into reality due to the rapid advances in technologies in the recent years. While some are nervous about the implications of this emergence of intelligent systems, I believe the benefits to the society will far outweigh the risks and downsides.”

Randy Copeland, Founder, President & CEO at Velocity Micro

“In 2027, technology is going to be more interactive. Voice control will reduce the reliance on small touchscreens, but not completely eliminate them. There will always be a device nearby to ask questions or commands using natural language voice recognition, and many devices will be networked around the environment that can work together to meet your requests. The compute device will be much smaller than today’s PC, except there will still be a place for higher powered devices that will be dramatically faster at computing, calculating, and designing, and a large screen display will still be the predominate interface for true creation and productivity, but voice commands will also manage simpler tasks like searches or opening files or apps.”

Sergio Flores, Technical Product Manager at Samsung Electronics HQ (Seoul)

“There is no doubt that the future of computers relies strongly on quantum computing and nanotechnology. Indeed, constantly increasing needs of faster computation speeds have forced experts to start looking at the possibility of using quantum mechanical phenomena to solve operations faster. It is expected that in about 20 years, quantum computing along with an advanced implementation of photonics, used to transfer information at very fast speeds, will allow computing to reach levels of computation never seen before. Similarly, constant efforts of reducing the size of computers will lead us to shrink components to subatomic levels and eventually begin a real era of nanotechnology where everything is worked at molecular levels. This also is opening the door to hundreds of use cases in health, science and the environment.”

Karolyn Hart , COO at InspireHUB Inc.

“Actions once only available through bulky laptops and computers can now be completed with ease through much smaller devices. The future of computers will continue to build on our desire to be connected anywhere with ease without tethers or roadblocks. On the hardware side we will come to pay less attention to the batteries on our phone as charging options become seamless and ubiquitous as we see items such as our desks to into wireless charging stations.”

Kuldip Pardesi, CTO at Sphre

“First, the continuing increase in hardware performance and the reduction in cost means we will be able to provide greater capability and scalability for much wider usage. This will allow small businesses and individuals to have access to more powerful environments. Dedicated hosting of solutions will become less common as solution providers will be able to achieve the same goals and performance within new agnostic cloud environments where the products will no longer need to be built for a specific system architecture or predetermined by their size or scale. Instead, we will focus on our application and expect the hardware fabric to cope.

Secondly, our approach to application development will continue to exploit software-as-a-service where open standards encourage development of compatible building blocks that allow quick assembly of solutions. Some of these cloud based components will require greater durability, performance and assured security. This means we have to look to technologies such as Blockchain, which mitigates some of these issues by introducing a distributed application and data environment.”

David Bourgeois , President & CEO of My IT

“The change isn’t having the latest greatest hardware anymore. In 10-15 years, it will be commonplace to see companies utilize a Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) or Hardware-as-a-Rental (HaaR) program to move away from large capital expenditures and to have fixed operating expenditures. We see high-growth and long-term minded companies doing this already.

For years we’ve replaced Email Exchange servers with web-based email services like Outlook 365. As our clients’ servers near end of life, most of them choose to use a cloud resource instead of opting for the expense of servers, licenses, and headaches owning the equipment themselves. The ROI makes it an easy decision.
IT service providers will become more of a managed solution provider (or IT broker) instead of fixing hardware.”

About the author

Nick Hastreiter

I write about the future of business. I approach this by interviewing founders, CEO's, and other game changers to share their vision for the future of their industry.

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