History warns us in vivid – often excruciating – detail that the business of making predictions can be a dangerous game.
Take the great silent movie legend Charlie Chaplin who once famously claimed that cinema was little more than a passing fad. Or Hollwood executive Darryl Zanuck who believed that television would flounder after just six months, proclaiming: “People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
Ken Olson, the president and Chairman of Digital Equipment Corps, was convinced there was no reason to believe that anyone would want a computer in their homes. And even Microsoft founder Bill Gates is on record as saying: “We will never make a 32-bit operating system.”
So as the clock ticks ever onward and we begin the great adventure that is 2014, only the bravest of the brave would dare to predict where the online digital world is heading.
But we are going to give it a go, dear reader. So, strap yourself in for the Top 10 most likely technology predictions for 2014 (we think!)
1) Social Advertising: We predict an explosion in social media advertising in the next 12 months. It’s already a billion dollar industry with promoted Tweets expected to dominate in 2014. Mobile phones will accelerate this trend because social ads take up less space and fit screens better.
2) Smart TVs: Expect to see major advances with this technology as well as fierce competition from major players like Samsung, Panasonic, and LG. Tech savvy consumers will demand to access their web browsers via the TV and many are waiting with eager anticipation for the release of Apple’s much-publicised iTV facility.
3) Video Sharing: Most young ‘millennials’, have grown up with online video and these days like to create and share choice clips with social networking friends. We’re already enjoying ‘Vine’ – brief, tweetable video clips – and we’re sure this will be taken up by leading brands who are starting to recognize video marketing as a key promotional tool.
4) Even smarter ‘smart’ watches: It sounds like the stuff of Star Trek, but before long you will need only to glance at your wristwatch to access email, text and social media updates. Look out for ‘Google Watch’ a nifty little device which will integrate with ‘Google Now’ to give you everything you need to know, whenever you want it. Expect to see ultra-intuitive notifications too based on our daily activity and behaviour patterns. Scary stuff!
5) Social Media in the Workplace: Many employers are now scouring social media outlets to connect with suitable job candidates and save on conventional recruitment costs. In 2014 companies will embrace social media strategies to empower their employees to be better heard at work, giving bosses valuable real-time insight into what’s happening inside their own four walls .
6) Social Media in Schools: Forward-thinking teachers around the world are already bringing social media into the classroom to better equip their students for the real world. By establishing social media as a business asset, you can expect to see digital skills included more and more within the core curriculum.
7) Fingerprint security: The iPhone5S has already made on-the-go fingerprint security a reality, so we can expect an explosion of Touch ID technology in the next year or so. This uses a hi rez camera to scan your fingerprint, providing ultra-security for your iPhone. Other devices are likely to be included soon.
8) Gaming and Entertainment: Players will be able integrate even more effectively in 2014, bringing an ever more lifelike dimension to the entertainment experience. The Xbox One and PS4 already incorporate social media-like connectivity, but soon we’ll see equally-skilled players competing as well as players having followers or working together to achieve shared goals.
9) 3D Printing: This is becoming increasingly popular as prices have continued to tumble, though it may be a year or two before companies begin to recognise the value of producing multi-layered products at home. Eventually, countries like China may appear less appealing as a manufacturing source, given the high cost of shipping and managing overseas contracts.
10) Natural Language Searches: Believe it or not, the days of actively searching for online content via traditional keywords may be numbered. Increasingly, we’ll see a move towards ‘natural language searches’ where information is intuitively and passively delivered to you – often without you ever needing to ask for it! Check out Google Hummingbird for the lowdown on how all this may work.
So there it is – our Top 10 online predictions for 2014. And remember, if some of these prove a little over-ambitious, remember that even the great Albert Einstein once said that mankind would never be able to harness nuclear energy. Honest, he did.
Happy New Year!