These ten innovations prove we have come a long way since 2013 WHO'S HOT A lot has changed since 2013. Three years ago, it was hard to image the tech and tech-habits that are now normal today. These innovations have become intrinsic parts of our lives today and have changed so much – from the way we pay for groceries to the way we stay fit. We decided to take a short trip down memory lane and compile the 10 most exciting tech advances that have not only revolutionised our lifestyles, but have also allowed us to live fuller lives. 1. Tracking fitness with a watch A perfect example of when tech meets fashion, the smart watches can do anything its developers decree. It can connect to your phone and display mobile notifications, flashing up anything from texts to messaging apps, social account notifications to calendar reminders. These watches even allow owners to make calls and reply to messages using only their voice. And back in 2013, who would have thought that a watch could help you stay fit by tracking your heart rate and steps, standing time and daily activity, and reminding you to stand up regularly? 2. Experiencing something without actually being there Virtual reality devices are so much more than funny-looking goggles. While they were initially marketed purely as a gaming device, but in their short time in our consciousness they have already offered a lot of practical uses. VR headsets are being used for making the virtual experience feel so real that you forget the computer, headgear and accessories and act exactly as we would in the real world. Three years ago, nobody could imagine standing on Mars while wearing some intricate goggles in your kitchen. You can take virtual tours of the dream home you’ve been eyeing to buy, defend a goal for your favourite professional football team, and even help yourself overcome anxiety over public speaking. 3. Paying without having cash or cards Mobile wallets are getting more and more popular among the youth in the India. Digital payments are moving beyond recharges – they can now pay for everything from online food delivery to cab rides to even booking a new home. 4. Sending photo messages that automatically delete themselves In 2013, this may have sounded like a ridiculous idea, but it has become a new normal these days. The most popular social media network among teenagers, Snapchat allows users to send photo messages that automatically delete themselves shortly after being viewed. The app has kept itself fresh and interesting by expanding features such as more video and picture filters, Stories, as well as the popular face-swapping feature. It has also engaged users with the platform’s Discover channels, which feature content from well-known publishers like Mashable, and debuting live coverage at widely watched TV events. 5. Being in a picture that you took yourself Selfie was merely a buzzword in 2013, but it went on to become a cultural phenomenon within a year. These unique photos have exploded in popularity among a wide variety of people, such as business leaders, A-list celebrities and even the President of the United States. One product that has made this photo technique even more attainable is the selfie stick, which enables you to position your smartphone beyond arms’ reach to get better photo angles. Even though in the short time they’ve been around they have annoyed many people, selfie-specific products aren’t going anywhere. In fact, selfie drones, aka “dronies,” are poised to become the next big thing. 6. Choosing the angle you want to watch an online video from Facebook introduced a new and immersive way for sharing compelling stories by bringing the viewer inside a different world through 360 photos and videos. A 360 video allows audience to choose exactly which angle they want to see a visual. So, if you’re watching a 360 video on your laptop/ PC, you need to drag it with your cursor. On mobile devices, you can drag it using your finger – or even just by turning your device. If you want to share a 360 photo, simply take a panorama with your phone or capture a 360-degree photo using a 360 photo app or 360 camera, and then post it on Facebook as you would a normal photo. Your friends will be able to experience the moments in 360 as if they were actually there with you, from trekking to a hilltop, to wandering through a heritage site, to attending a wedding. 7. Downloading videos at a lightning speed Over the years, download speeds have gotten faster and faster, and the ultimate in speed these days is 4G technology. The fact that 4G is relatively new to India hasn’t affected its popularity. 4G not only boosts your upload and download speeds, but also minimises your buffering time even while streaming HD videos. After all it is five times faster than existing 3G services. 8. Creating your own movie scenes and music videos with your phone You used to need a hefty amount of money to pull off these kind of things. Luckily, now we have Dubsmash, an app that lets you seamlessly mouth words to famous quotes and lyrics from movies or songs. This typically results in hilarious videos and provides endless hours of entertainment. You can actually choose your favourite excerpts from popular TV shows, cult movies, popular chart hits, musicals, and even operas, and star in them. You can then share the ‘dub’ via social media networks. 9. Chatting with computers through written or spoken text Bots are simple artificial intelligence software that can converse with you to answer questions or simply natter to you in an extremely lifelike way. Most of us have used chatbots; we just don’t know them. If you have ever asked Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana for a movie show time, you have conversed unknowingly with a bot. Facebook recently made its own bot news when it announced that companies will eventually be able to build and release their own chatbots into Messenger to interact with customers. Bots are meant to make people’s lives easier, but there’s still much to be learned about harnessing the technology and applying it. And we’re pretty excited about the possibilities. 10. Being able to pay your mobile bill only for the services you used Remember how most of us dreaded the idea of having a post-paid connection till about a few years ago? Receiving a bill that was way too expensive because the plan offered ‘benefits’ that were actually of no use to you was a major setback. Thankfully, now there are ways of paying for only what you need in a post-paid plan. For example, consider Airtel’s MyPlan, which ensures you get the flexibility to opt for benefits that you need as against a pre-set benefits that you may never even use. So if you’re someone primarily using mobile apps like WhatsApp or Hike for texting, there’s not point to having hundreds of free SMS in the plan. Why not have the options of trading the free SMS of the existing plan for talk time or Internet data? While we couldn’t have imagined this kind of freedom three years ago, we’re glad that this advancement exists now. If there are things in this list you haven’t tried before, go ahead and try them. We hope they make your life easier and smarter.