In 2013, we saw some major developments as major technology companies tried to wean us from our smart phone dependency and tempt us with wearable technology. What will 2014 bring? Which new technologies will thrive and what new ideas will burst onto the scene? Here are a few opinions selected from the many (often contradictory) that abound this time of year:
Opinion is divided on this one. Some tech experts see Google Glass leading the way, and consumers embracing the chance to wear glasses and watches that provide Internet hookup and other services we currently use on our smart phones. Others think Google doesn’t have the manufacturing capacity to go mainstream until late 2014. Allowing the wearer to get information like email, texts and driving directions within their field of vision, and with the capacity to take pictures and video, Google Glass will be a boon to certain professionals like doctors or surgeons. Industry observers expect to see some fierce competition develop as marketing efforts are directed toward specific market segments.
Most pundits include 3D printing in trends to watch in 2014. Some are notably more enthused than others. A sharp reduction in pricing is expected to spur interest.
Commentators suggest the industry needs to do more to promote its uses and to show how 3D printing can produce multilayered products that are useable. For the most part, industry experts see 2014 as the year businesses begin to recognize how the new technology will revolutionize their production plans.
Better, More Intuitive Search
The trend toward natural language search is expected to continue to overtake searches based on key words. In fact, the trend is toward information being delivered to you even before you have to ask for it. Apple’s Siri and Google’s Now (known as intelligent personal assistants) will be designed to learn from your patterns of activity to anticipate what you might need next.
The iPhone 5S gave us fingerprint security for the first time. Although we are a long way from fingerprint security as the norm, its launch was welcomed by many who recognized the pitfalls of written passwords. Touch ID technology uses a high resolution camera to scan your fingerprint and record your unique print. As security goes, it is pretty well fail-safe. Right now, the Apple application can be used only to make purchases in Apple Stores and to unlock the iPhone. Any switch over like this will take some time. But Apple is expected to take the lead on this, and to reveal additional retail and other applications where the fingerprint scanner will be accepted.
More Clouds on the Horizon
Industry observers expect both personal and business cloud technologies to continue to grow significantly, leading to a shift toward services rather than devices and equipment. Some researchers expect the worldwide cloud computing market to grow as much as 36 percent (compounded annual growth rate) over the next three years.