Ok so I’m going to join the bandwagon of people trying to predict what tech advancements we are going to see in 2014. It is a bit of an impossible game and often some of the big hits are very hard to predict. For example who would have predicted the Nintendo Wii, Twitter or Snapchat? Certainly not me but thought it would be good to have a go. People can get carried away with this, technology is advancing at a record rate but a year isn’t that long. A mere 365 days or 8,760 hours. With that in mind lets get started:
- Bitcoin, or cyrto currency as it is sometimes generically referred to. This is a sort of currency for the internet, although there is no reason why it can’t work in the outside world too. The key is it is a decentralised system with no government or owner overseeing it. Crucially it is much easier to transact and doesn’t need a finical institution to be involved making any transaction fee much smaller. Bitcoin hit the limelight in 2013 and many people have invested in it meaning a single bitcoin went from around £6 at the start of the year to around £550 by the end. This is all on the potential adoption of bitcoin by retailers and people actually using it to buy stuff, which isn’t really happening as yet. So my prediction is bitcoin will start to become more widely accepted currency (although it’s not technically a currency) by the end of 2014, I doubt whether it will have gone fully mainstream but will be headed in that direction.
- Actual Smart Televisions. I think we’ll continue to see the shift to watching TV over the internet and there may be even a tipping point where some channels or shows are watched more on the internet than regular broadcast. Being a bit more bold with my prediction I reckon one of the big tech giants launches a truly smart TV. I’m talking one with built in camera for facial and gesture recognition, voice commands and no remote, utilising your phone or tablet instead. Heck Sony and Microsoft already have the technology in their games systems and Apple have bought up companies with this sort of expertise so it seems entirely probable. Because of this I also think video chat will become more popular, the ease of having it there in your living room on a big screen will make it much more appealing to many.
- Security – The internet security system is broken. Usernames and passwords are not secure enough and people have far too many to remember them. Programs like Lastpass and Safe in Cloud, help with this but don’t fundamentally move us forward. There are then the seemingly daily reported hacks of customer data, we need a better, common system, perhaps decentralised like Bitcoin to encrypt at extremely high levels, identify suspicious behaviour and two factor authentication as standard. This won’t be solved in 2014 but I hope somebody kick starts something.
- Continuing Social Media shift – Facebook has dominated social media for a while with penetration at unbelievable levels but I think they have hit saturation point and they certainly have a big issue with teenagers. What teenager wants to go onto a social media site which has their parents on there? Not cool. There are already a wider range of relatively small but established alternative systems and I think we’ll see more of this happening.
- Internet of things – Ok I know that everybody is predicting this one so not exactly ground breaking but that is not a reason to discount it. We’ll start to see more and more of our devices connected to the internet from our plants to tell us when they need watering, to our heating so we can monitor it remotely or even our fridge so we can update our shopping list with a scan of a barcode.
- Smart Watches – Yeah I know I was only going to do 5 but then I thought of this one too, hedging my bets I guess. It’s no secret that all the big players are developing smart watches and I think it will be fascinating to see. Voice recognition is key to these working with the small display screens and I’m betting that just like mobile phones we’ll end up with many different sizes depending on your needs and budget. They’ll probably start off as a bit of a novelty but as app developers get into them I think they could be on many people’s Christmas list this year
Ok that’s mine, let me know your thoughts and I’ll review at the end of the year so see what actually happened.