Big ideas for 2014: The year when the things get smart, the connections get faster and the technology gets personal


What an exciting year it has been. This industry never fails to amaze me with the breathless pace of innovation and transformation, and 2013 has been no different.

We have seen more cellular connections in the world than people, exciting advances in wearable technology and the continued shift, both in our homes and the workplace, allowing us to move away from the shackles of the traditional PC toward the freedom of smartphones and tablets.

So what does 2014 hold? I believe there are three big ideas that will dominate the agenda for the next year. Society, business, people and objects are going to get smart and connected, and technology will get personal.

Smart Things
In 2014, we will see the Internet-of-Things begin its move from concept to consumables, with everything from handbags to home-wares getting their own technological identity, and getting connected.

The foundation of the Internet-of-Things is machine-to-machine communications and we are already seeing how this technology is coming of age and blurring the boundaries between the digital and physical worlds.

Add superfast connectivity, and the smart future becomes a reality. From smartphones to electricity meters, from urban traffic systems and cars to sensors on all kinds of things from cattle to kettles, a wealth of data can be transmitted back and forth in real-time, enhancing our personal lives and enabling businesses to boost productivity and make better-informed smarter decisions.

It means we will be able to interact with the things around us, creating a whole new wave of cultural change – and huge opportunities for companies in connected industries.

Faster Connections
We will see almost ubiquitous superfast connectivity – mobile, fibre optic, fixed line and wi-fi – continue to transform and change our leisure time, the working environment, consumer activity and the way we live and work.

The PC’s influence continues to decline sharply and the smartphone and tablet are increasingly becoming the connected hub that controls our daily lives. Connected technologies such as 4G enables us to fully exploit the cloud and mobile app ecosystem for everything from videogames, films and social media to accessing business applications in real-time and on the go.

Personal Tech
Over the next 12 months I also expect to see continued innovation in the mobile form factors and devices that we use to live our connected lives.

For smartphones we are already seeing the first curved screen form factors and Smart Watches re-entered the market with a bang in 2013. Plus, we have the hugely exciting world of augmented and virtual reality on the horizon with the likes of Google Glass.

In fact, 2014 will be a massive year for a more personal kind of technology – the much lauded ‘wearable’ technology. From glasses to broaches, rings to wristbands, we’ll be pinning our technology to our very selves, making us more connected, and more integrated with networks and the world around us. But we’ve been here before. Smart Watches are nothing new – they’ve been around for decades. The question is, is the time right when connectivity, technology, and form factor collide and create enough of a force of innovation and excitement that consumers finally embrace wearable technology.

We shall see. What I am sure of is that connectivity and the network will remain the glue that will enable us to control our digital lives seamlessly across devices, whether for work or play, from the connected home to the mobile workplace of the future.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and commenting on my Linked In posts throughout 2014. There will be a few more before the end of the year. In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts about the big technology and communications trends you expect to see in 2014.

(article by O.Swantee)

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