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As Software and Hardware Advance Together, the Next Innovation Wave Rises

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Some of the myriad items for with software updates are available.

Hardware innovations are being matches by innovations in software.

Credit: Clockwise from top left: Apple; Getty Images; Nest; Alamy

As processors and sensors have become smaller and found their way into everything from cars to traffic lights to smoke detectors, software developers have kept pace, so that hardware innovations are matched by innovations in software.

This fusion of software and hardware can be seen in Tesla Motors' Model S Sedan, which runs software every bit as impressive as its electric drive train and console-hogging touchscreen. One owner recounts an incident in which the touchscreen stopped working, but instead of needing a technician to work on it manually, the car's software enabled an engineer to log on remotely and solve the problem without ever touching the car.

Similar fusions of computer hardware and advanced software can be seen in the aerospace sector private company Space X, which uses commercial-grade hardware in its new rockets. General Electric is writing software to power the embedded devices in many of its products, from trains to jet engines. Meanwhile, Nest Labs makes smart appliances such as thermostats and smoke detectors.

Economists say this trend will continue and is likely to become one of the major drivers of the economy in the coming years, generating massive amounts of wealth.

From Bloomberg BusinessWeek
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