It’s November and technology observers around the world are looking ahead to 2014 identifying the key trends and developments. Gartner recently released their top 10 Strategic Technology Trends that appears to be largely based on the progress of the 40+ technologies they are focused upon in their “2013 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.” A Forbes contributor also recently released a more subjective list of seven trends to watch. The customer revolution and the consumer power that it brings continue to be a driving force for technology adoption and innovation. Here is what I see trending as my top three in technology, from a Consumer perspective. If you’d like a look at what I think is in store for B2B, check out this link http://blogs.aspect.com/2013/11/12/top-b2b-tech-trends-for-2014/ (available at 9am 12th Nov)
My Top Three Consumer Tech Trends for 2014
1. Online gaming steps up its efforts to own the online entertainment market
The console gaming industry has come a long way to become the multi-billion dollar industry that it is. Xbox Live has established itself as a premier global online community. Already, in addition to gaming, access to the web, rental or purchase TV episodes & movies, YouTube, Netflix and more are available. More is to come in 2014 with a special battle heating up.
Microsoft Xbox One, is leveraging of some of the most effective speech recognition (I said effective not necessarily best) and motion sensing in consumer products history through its Kinnect peripheral. Finally, at a level to challenge Xbox, Sony PS4 with its guaranteed 1080p game visuals and [touted] motion sense, are both launching in November 2013. We will see a shift in a world that was once a mere online gaming community as these two markets expand beyond the gaming industry to position themselves as entertainment portals.
For the first time since the PS1, Sony will be a real challenge against Microsoft’s hugely successful Xbox platform. New gaming titles of old favorites in the Battlefield and COD series, and newer titles taking full advantage of the underlying advances in console technology will hit the shelves. These platforms are taking the experience well beyond gaming, with advanced AI, increasing use of Kinect based technology for Xbox One, live TV, on-line game purchase and of course, Skype giving owners a golden opportunity to once and for all drop their home phone and consider video calls a part of everyday life.
Apple will probably continue to own the lucrative mobile device entertainment market through iTunes, but it will be watching its back as these giants compete. Why? Well, because being able to hook your home entertainment across devices and channels is very convenient compared to being tied to a computer or stuck within a device itself.
2. Online wallet transaction choices will expand into real-world trading
New companies are emerging finding their niche in this market. Here are a couple of examples:
Bitcoin. This is a non-central banking company out of Vancouver that is fast emerging as the latest way to blend online wallet currency and real-world cash. Just days ago the first Bitcoin ATM went live in the company’s home city. As these technologies emerge and risks are better understood and managed, we can expect to see better choices for the consumer and more interesting offerings for services and sales through various online channels and globally in the real-world.
Another company, Square (recently featured on Bloomberg), is providing a card reader in the US and Canada with simple 2.75%/transaction rates for swiped cards, slightly more for manually entered, enabling a more predictable cost of sales for small businesses in particular.
How long will it be before many more service and buying portals/payment methods are simply a word away on your Xbox One or PS4?
3. Expansion of smart phone market, Google Glass and other “Gear”
It almost goes without saying that we can expect more from the mobile consumer market, with a clear indication that Samsung and Apple are the present leaders.
The Samsung Galaxy Gear software retro fit to support Note 2 users is a smart move too. Other smart watch manufacturers like Pebble are trying to get into the mobile market.
Perhaps most anticipated from a gadget perspective, though at what cost is the Google Glass mystery release date slated for 2014. This has almost reached silence in the market (apart from the early adopter arrested for using it while driving recently). Perhaps Google is just trying to stay out of the console roar at present so there is less distraction prior to 2014 launch.
Glass offers a new experience bringing communications elements into a sci-fi like reality by providing the wearer (and as of Oct 2013 that includes prescription glasses users!) the ability to leverage speech to direct the device to interact with others, record videos, take photos and share socially.
Key to success will be how these devices deliver a different experience but maintain accessibility to traditionally commoditized capabilities (like making a call).
There are of course many initiatives in the technology world but these stood out for me as top trends to watch for in 2014. What do YOU see trending?
Check out this recent update http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/11/bitcoin-survival-guide/#!