The definitive guide to 2014 innovation

As customary at this time of year most technology commentators publish their own forecasts of the top innovation solutions for the coming months.  I decided to take a good look around some of these key sources to identify general trends, scoring them according to the number of mentions.  Let’s see whether this stuff really happens in 2014!

Internet of things to the web of things  (high mention)

Reported in some sources as ‘connected homes’ and ‘connected cars’  – this is a theme that has been cropping up almost every year.  A full implementation of the Internet of Things is still a way off and is based on large part not just on the gadgets themselves (in reality the easy part of the technology) but on more basic stuff like universally accessible high speed internet connectivity.  No doubt we shall see more solutions becoming available in 2014, but universal implementation perhaps not quite.

Wearable technology (high mention)

We have already seen Google Glasses, smartwatches and so on.  Your gurus now predict we’ll be buying and wearing more and more of this stuff.  My guess is that this will depend on prices coming down, as well as trend setters using this technology.

Gamification of business life (low mention)

An interesting concept based on the development of easy and fun to use Apps that have a strict business purpose.

Super high definition TVs, curved too (high mention)

Well they are already around, though frightfully expensive, so it’s easy to predict that as prices will come down these gadgets will become more popular.  We never say no to a good TV set, especially an interactive one!

3D printing (high mention)

Need we say more on this point?

More portable devices, less PCs (medium mention)

Guess this is a trend that has been going on for a while now, so it’s more or less inevitable, hence the slightly lower number of mentions.  By 2015 large desktop units will be confined to specialist applications.

Machines (drones) in the sky (low mention)

Call me a sceptic, but I think the Amazon story was just a load of PR stuff… however, some commentators believe this technology may become popular in 2014 – let’s discuss again in a few months, shall we?

Biometrics sensors attached to devices (low mention)

We are all fed up of constant requests for passwords, but will biometrics really provide the answer to this problem, and just in twelve months?

Ads in everything (low mention)

…ehr… as in, now?

Nanotech advances (medium mention)

Well, why not?  There are already countless innovation firms working on this so it’s quite conceivable that more advances will hit the consumer market.

Cloud explosion (high mention)

More and more people will rely on cloud solutions provided by big companies such as Google, Microsoft or Amazon with less data stored in a local drive.  This will also affect standard IT architecture

The death of email in favour of social media platform (low mention)

Could this be something akin to the mythical paperless office?  Who knows, maybe in 10 years or so we’d consider email messages as we now think about faxes, but in twelve months?  Maybe not.

E government and E learning (medium mention)

facilitating access to government (including health care) and learning has been the holy grail of the last decade, but we all know how inefficient most governments are when it comes to the implementation of IT infrastructures, mostly out of dates, hugely expensive, and seldom user friendly.  Somehow, the E of efficiency and electronic doesn’t seem to fit in well with the G of big Government.

Memristors hit the market (low mention)

I must confess I didn’t know much about memristors (nanoscale devices with the ability to remember their resistance even when switched off) but clearly these devices could speed up communication exponentially.

The web will overcome TV as a form of entertainment (low mention)

…easily done given the quality of today’s TV programmes I say!

…in short

My take is that we will definitely see more wearable and faster devices and greater use of the internet as a channel for business, entertainment and communication on the go (hence more interactive TVs and of higher definition).  While on the one hand some tasks will become easier, others may get more complex and we’ll be scratching our heads with more convoluted security and ID access levels.  Catch up in 2015!

Some of the sources used for this article: