As digital technology continues to evolve, experts are predicting growth in a number of exciting new areas. This article looks at what 2014 may hold and where some of the biggest changes might be.
The Internet of Things
While still in its infancy overall, more progress is expected to be made in this exciting field during 2014 as more of the physical world becomes digitally connected. Existing sensory technologies such as Bluetooth, WiFi and QR codes continue to be perfected, and new ones are already in development, such as the increasing number of sensors being employed in automobiles to make them ‘smarter’ and safer by communicating with their environment and with each other. The Internet of Things is predicted to grow exponentially in the next few years, from the 1.9 billion devices already in use to around 9 billion devices by the year 2018.
Just as touch screens were once a breakthrough innovation, now touch-free technology is developing rapidly. A superior form of voice recognition software is already available in apps like Siri for iPhones and iPads and Google Now for Androids, giving users access to unlimited information entirely hands-free. This kind of smartphone use is predicted to be taken up by many more people during 2014 and beyond.
Devices that can be worn on the person are also expected to become more popular in the coming year. From Google Glass to smart watches, people are taking their technology with them more and more. And with cyborg technology already well under way in labs around the world, it is only a matter of time before we go from wearing our technology to embedding it within us for ultimate portability.
While the technology behind 3D printing is still highly expensive, it is expected that advances will also be made in this field during 2014. The number of 3D printers in use is expected to increase by 75% this year alone, and then by 200% in the following year. 3D printing has the potential to revolutionise design and turn manufacturing into a cottage industry.
As more and more individuals and businesses migrate their data to the cloud, demand for personal cloud services is expected to increase in 2014. Many new public-access cloud services will also appear, as people realise it is a cost-effective way to store and use data and is more secure than it has ever been before.
Other predictions for the coming year include an increased focus on data privacy and a greater use of social media by businesses, as they begin to realise the benefits it can bring. All in all, it should be another year of big changes and strong growth and an exciting time to be involved in the world of digital technology.