It's that time of year again where everyone looks across the tech landscape to predict the big trends coming in 2014.
Obviously, the most interesting events of 2014 can't be predicted. They will be left turns that no one expected. In 2013, it was things like Edward Snowden, the contract system admin who leaked secret documents about the NSA's spying tactics. Or Google buying eight robotics companies including one called Boston Dynamics that makes fascinating, but somewhat terrifying, animal robotics. (Tip: check out Steven Colbert's shtick on that.)
That said, Forrester Research's JP Gownder has come up with a list of some pretty interesting predictions for 2014. If these hold true, they could become next mega trends.
1. Consumer tech loyalty will die. The old rule book says if a consumer liked one flavor of a tech company's device or software, the person would want other flavors. This will pretty much end in 2014, says Gownder.
"Loyalty won't be achieved within ecosystems in 2014, though numerous players (Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft), will be trying to create stickiness across devices," he writes. In 2014, increasingly tech savvy consumers will simply "trade off between multiple devices and find ways to thrive across operating systems."
An Android phone, a Windows convertible PC/tablet for work, an iPad at home and a Sony PS4? Sure. Why not?
2. Computerized assistants will become a thing. Think Siri but across lots of apps in lots of different ways, not just voice command. "They'll help people shop, manage calendars, and surprise users by mining personal data. They'll start to reshape the way we compute altogether," he says.
3. Gesture computing will hit the enterprise. The Microsoft Kinect controller proved gesture could be popular for games. Leap Motion proved it can be embedded into your PC. Expect new commercial apps for business users to start arriving in 2014, "in particular the healthcare vertical (manipulating and navigating medical imaging)," he says.
4. Retail stores will start to get personal. "2014 will be the year in which you walk into a store and it 'knows you' and customizes your visit," Gownder predicts. Stores will experiment with tech ranging from things like Apple's iBeacon, which can send offers to smartphones as you shop, to potentially creepy facial recognition tech. They are trying to bring the best of online shopping to the real world.
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