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Christmas Toys of the Future: Thoughts from the Office of the CTO at Extreme Networks

David Coleman Director, Wireless Networking at the Office of the CTO Published 13 Dec 2021

We have come a long way since I was a child in the 1960s when all I wanted for Christmas was a slinky and some Rock’Em – Sock’Em Robots. Now imagine we have traveled ten years into the future, and it is Christmas 2031. Alexa has replaced kids’ parents and Santa Claus. Every toy is connected to the Internet and looks like a robot version of the animal it represents. Clean thermonuclear Christmas trees will be providing us with radiant, gamma-ray energy for all our holiday needs. Pogo sticks have also made a comeback, but they are solar-powered and can leap entire city blocks.

And while I am busy pretending to be the Ghost of Christmas Future, I thought it would also be fun to ask the Office of the CTO team about their predictions for futuristic, technical toys. So, I posed these two questions:

  • What cool TECHNICAL toy or gadget would you like Santa to bring you this year in 2021?
  • As a participating member of the Office of the CTO, what cool TECHNICAL toy or gadget (that has not yet been invented) would you like Santa to bring you in 10 years from now in 2031?

christmas wishlist for the octo team overlay

You know what?  We just might see I see a sneak preview of some of these magical tech toys of the future in just a few weeks at the CES 2022 conference. In the meantime, take a look at the wish list from all of our Extreme technical gurus:

Marcus Burton – Wireless and Cloud Architect 

Christmas Wish 2021: Is a Tesla Cybertruck an option? I’ll even take a prototype. That will scratch several technology itches at the same time. Think about it…EV, autonomous driving, AI, 5G probably, cloud-connected, mobile-first, and all the best in materials sciences and mechanical engineering applied to trucks. What more could an outdoorsy tech guy want?

Christmas Wish 2031: I’m kinda thinking that while everyone else has their brain slurped out in the metaverse (with VR!), I will prefer to go to the actual mountains. But you know, I have a wife and kids, so I have to think about safety. So here’s my wish: a smart personal device that has a full week of battery life (using ultra-thin silicon wafers) with rapid solar charging, LEO satellite connectivity (for sending “eat your heart out” 3D pics to my friends from the “there’s no 6G here” wilderness), and ultra-HD terrain feature maps for modern navigation.

Carla Guzzetti – VP, Experience, Messaging & Enablement

Christmas Wish 2021: I want this: Meeting Owl Pro – 360-Degree, 1080p HD Smart Video Conference Camera, Microphone, and Speaker

Christmas Wish 2031: I want a gadget where we can have virtual meetings without the need for a wearable! Who wants to wear heavy goggles all day?

Doug McDonald – Director of Product Management

Christmas Wish 2021: As a technologist often looking for a balance between screen time and health and fitness I hope Santa brings me the Aura Strap. The Aura strap adds additional IoT sensory capabilities to compliment your Apple smartwatch.  Bioelectrical impedance analysis is the cutting-edge science behind the AURA Strap. This innovation provides a way to truly see how your body changes over the course of a day. Their body composition analysis includes fat, muscle mass, minerals, and hydration; providing personalized insights that improve the results of your workouts, diet, and your lifestyle as a whole.

Christmas Wish 2031: Hopefully, this innovation will be here sooner. Still, in the spirit of my first wish from Santa, I also hope to have a service engine warning light for me. The concept is utilizing advancements in biomedical sensory devices to pinpoint potential changes in your physical metrics that may help in seeking medical attention sooner than later if variances in health data occur. I spoke about this concept in the Digital Diagnosis episode of the Inflection Points podcast from the Office of the CTO.

Ed Koehler – Principal Engineer

Christmas Wish 2021: My answers are short and sweet. I want a nice drone with high-resolution pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) cameras.

Christmas Wish 2031: In ten years, I want a drone that I can sit inside and fly away!

Puneet Sehgal – Business Initiatives Program Manager 

Christmas Wish 2021: I have always wanted to enjoy the world from a bird’s eye view. Therefore, my wish is for Santa to bring me a good-quality drone camera this year. It is amazing how quickly drones have evolved from commercial /military use to becoming a personal gadget.

Christmas Wish 2031: In 2031, I wish Santa could get me a virtual reality (VR) trainer to help me internalize physical motion by looking at a simulation video while sending an electrical impulse to mimic it. It will open endless possibilities, and I could become an ice skater, a karate expert, or a pianist – all in one. Maybe similar research is already being done, but we are far away from something like this maturing for practical use. So, who knows – it’s Santa after all and we are talking 2031!

Tim Harrison – Director of Product Marketing, Service Provider

Christmas Wish 2021: This year, I would love to extend my audio recording setup and move from a digital 24 channel mixer to a control surface that integrates with my DAW (digital audio workstation) and allows me to use my outboard microphone pre-amps.  I’ve been looking at an ICON QCon Pro G2 plus one QCon EX G2 extender to give me direct control over 16 channels at once (I use 16 channels just for my drum kit).

Christmas Wish 2031: Ten years from now, I sincerely hope to receive an anti-gravity platform.  First, I’ll be old, and climbing stairs will have become more challenging for these creaky old bones.  Secondly, who hasn’t hoped for a REAL hoverboard?  Once we know what gravity is “made of,” we can start making it easier to manipulate objects on earth and make space more habitable for human physiology.  Either that or a puppy.

Puppy sitting

Divya Balu Pazhayannur – Director of Business Initiatives

Christmas Wish 2021: I’m upgrading parts of my house over the holidays and browsing online for kitchen and laundry appliances. If you had told me that I would be spending three hours reading blogs on choosing the right cooktop for me, I would not have believed you. Does it have the right power, is it reliable, is it Wi-Fi enabled, can you talk to it – I’m kidding on that last one. Having said that, I’d love to get the Bosch Benchmark Gas Stovetop. Although I can’t speak to my appliance, its minimalist look has me writing it down on my wish list for Santa. I’ll even offer him some crispy dosas in exchange.

Christmas Wish 2031: Apart from flying cars and personal robot assistants, I’d love to get the gift of better connectivity. I miss my family and friends in India, and it would be amazing to engage with them through holographic technology. I imagine it would allow for a much higher level of communication than today’s ‘talking head’ approach. Although do I want my family sitting with me in my living room? Still – I’d like to think a holograph would be just fantastic.

Yury Ostrovsky – Sr. Technology Manager

Christmas Wish 2021: I believe 2022 will be the year of VR toys. Virtual Reality is already popular, but I believe more applications will be developed in this area. We might see radio waves coming from different sources (Wi-Fi, LTE, 5G, BT, etc.) and visualize propagation in real-time.

Christmas Wish 2031: “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future” – Niels Bohr

Kurt Semba – Principal Architect

Christmas Wish 2021: The Crown from Neurosity. It helps you get and stay in a deep focus to improve your work and gaming results.

Christmas Wish 2031: A non-evasive health device that can quickly look deep into your body and cells and explain why you are not feeling well today.

Jon Filson – Senior Producer, Content

Christmas Wish 2021: I want a large rollable TV by LG. In part because I watch a lot of football. And while I have a Smart TV, I still can’t get it to connect to my Bluetooth speaker … so while I love it, I want it to work better, and isn’t that so often the way with tech? But more than that, I don’t like and have never liked that rooms have to be designed around TVs. They are big, which is fine, but they are often in the way, which is less so. They should disappear when not in use. It’s $100,000 so I don’t expect it any time soon.  But it’s an idea whose time has come.

Christmas Wish 2031: I cheated on this one and asked my 12-year-old son Jack what he would want. It’s the portal gun, from Rick and Morty, a show in which a crazed scientist named Rick takes his grandson Morty on wacky adventures in a multi-verse. That last part is important to me. Kids today are already well into multi-verses, while we adults are just struggling to make one decent Metaverse. The next generation is already way ahead of us digitally speaking, it’s clear.

Alexey Reznik – Senior UX Designer

Christmas Wish 2021: This awesome toy: DJI Mavic 2 Pro – Drone Quadcopter UAV with Hasselblad Camera 3-Axis Gimbal HDR 4K Video Adjustable Aperture 20MP 1″ CMOS Sensor, up to 48mph, Gray

Christmas Wish 2031: Something along these lines: BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100

BMW Motorcycle

Michael Rash – Distinguished Engineer – Security

Christmas Wish 2021: Satechi USB-C Multiport MX Adapter – Dual 4K HDMI.

Christmas Wish 2031: A virtual reality headset that actually works.

Alena Amir – Senior Content and Communications Manager

Christmas Wish 2021: With conversations around VR/AR and the metaverse taking the world by storm, Santa could help out with an Oculus Quest. Purely for research purposes of course!

Christmas Wish 2031: The 1985 movie, Back to the Future, was a family favorite and sure we didn’t get it all exactly right by 2015 but hey, it’s almost 2022! About time we get those hoverboards!

David Coleman – Director of Wireless

Christmas Wish 2021: Well, it looks like drones are the #1 wish item for 2021, and I am no exception. My wife and I just bought a home in the mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia, where there is an abundance of wildlife. I want a state-of-the-art drone for bear surveillance.

Christmas Wish 2031: In ten years, I will be 71 years old, and I hope to be at least semi-retired and savoring the fruits of my long tech career. Even though we are looking to the future, I want a time machine to revisit the past. I would travel back to July 16th, 1969, and watch Apollo 11 liftoff from Cape Kennedy to the moon. I actually did that as a nine-year-old kid. Oh, and I would also travel back to 1966 and play with my Rock’Em – Sock’Em Robots.

Rock'em Sock'em Robots

To summarize, our peeps in the Office of the CTO all envision Christmas 2031, where the way we interact as a society will have progressed. In 2021, we already have unlimited access to information, so future tech toys might depend less on magical new technologies and more on the kinds of experiences these new technologies can create. And when those experiences can be shared across the globe in real-time, the world gains an opportunity to learn from each other and grow together in ways that would never have been possible.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Office of the CTO at Extreme Networks

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