2014 Trends in Technology

We’re just about 50% through the year and a few people have been releasing new reports on trends so I thought I’d highlight some things here:

  • Mobile – while the ability to make money from apps may be harder now, the use of mobile devices is only going up (1,2). The future of mobile is a more integrated society with more access to information formatted in new, useful ways.
  • Biofeedback/Quantified Self – from Fitbit to the new iPhone, sensors are becoming smaller and more ubiquitous. Accelerometers are now embedded in the processors themselves and the new iWatch may include advanced biosensor features.
  • Open Data – data.gov is the biggest example, but there are other examples, which you can find at http://www.opendatanow.com/. New businesses are being formed around analyzing and using this newly accessible data.
  • API Access – not only do sites like data.gov have open data, but now sites like http://open.fda.gov/ have API access to that data; and sites like IFTTT and Zapier make it easy for non-programmers to move data around in complex ways.
  • 3D Printing – CDW and Staples now sell 3D printers. Kids are designing and printing their own objects. If you want to ride the next PC-like wave, this is it. It’s hard to see now because it’s so new, but this is a new industry.

If this interests you, compare it to the trends I speculated about the 13 trends changing the world in 2013 to see how many of them stayed true:

  1. Crowdfunding – Kickstarter just raised funding for Reading Rainbow.
  2. Crowdsourcing – The Reddit hive mind is the best detective on the planet.
  3. Open Source – Firefox just took their codebase closed-source.
  4. Insourcing – Robotics is allowing manufacturing to be cheaper in America.
  5. Infilling – Inner cities are encouraging growth to raise tax income locally.
  6. Cloud Apps – Chromebooks have risen in popularity and use.
  7. Long Tail – HBO shows now available on Amazon Instant Video.
  8. 3D Printing – SEE above.
  9. Augmented Reality – Facebook just bought Oculus Rift.
  10. Electric Cars – California’s biggest car manufacturer is now Tesla*.
  11. Private Space Exploration – Virgin Galactic not yet having regular flights, but SpaceX* is.
  12. Mobile Computing – SEE above.
  13. Mobile Payment Processing – Square and Starbucks continue to innovate.

Out of the 13 trends, I’d say at least 10 are still going strong, but at least one has stagnated, replaced by Open Data and API Integrations.

*Both Elon Musk companies.