As the year draws to a close, we take a look at the technologies that organisations should keep an eye on in 2014. We reported that the BYOD movement, the launch of Windows 8 and the onset of cross-platform mobile applications would be three key business drivers for 2013. Let’s take a look at the emerging technologies set to take off in 2014.

 

Figure above: Emerging technologies set to take-off in 2014 include smart TV’s, smartwatches, augmented reality glasses and NFC.

With technological and manufacturing developments, these technology trends are worth keeping an eye on in 2014:

    1. Near Field Communication (NFC) – enables devices or objects with an NFC tag to communicate via radio connection when they are in proximity of 8 inches of each other. Most contactless payment systems use this technology. There is potential to expand this to transportation tickets and mobile payments.
    2. iBeacon – enables a beacon or wireless sensor to transmit data via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to other BLE-enabled devices and allows the devices to communicate back to the beacon, within a range of 50 metres. This technology would allow retailers to send promotions directly to BLE-enabled phones as soon as they step within a zone. Other possibilities include mobile payments and internal navigation within stores, airports, museums etc.
    3. Smartwatches – connects a smartwatch with a smart device such as a smartphone or tablet. These wrist watches allow users to view incoming email, text messages and social media updates at a moment’s glance without needing to take out their smartphone from their bag or pocket.
    4. Smart TV apps – the ability for users to use their smartphone or tablet apps on their TV’s, browse the web and download movies directly from their TV. Apple is expected to enter this market with an iTV.
    5. Augmented reality applications – applications that overlay information or graphics such as email, text messages, map directions and language translations either through a phone’s camera in real time or a pair of glasses such as Google Glass.
    6. Home automation – applications that allow you to remotely control your home devices/appliances and lights. Some applications can perform a diagnosis of the appliance and relays any issues to the user; sends information from the internet such as weather forecasts to the appliance; and automatically downloads additional features.

Which of these technologies has the potential to impact organisations? Kareem Tawansi, CEO of software development provider predicts that smartwatches will change the way we work, “I believe smartwatches will increase in popularity in the corporate world, particularly for those who are constantly on the move, as it assists in improving productivity and increasing responsiveness.

“Smartwatches allow the user to view incoming messages and emails instantaneously while away from their desk. This enables them to respond to requests faster as they are able to immediately see the nature of each message and respond accordingly. This frees them from having to constantly login to their phone and trawl through emails,” continued Tawansi.

“I have been following and using these technologies, particularly smartwatches and home automation for a while now and am excited about the impending increased competition in 2014 that will drive further innovations in these fields,” commented Tawansi.

Devices from watches, glasses and home appliances are being connected to the internet. The way we view and use these devices and appliances is changing. These changes are opening up opportunities for organisations to develop new business initiatives and improve business productivity in more ways than ever before. 2014 will be an exciting year as organisations expand their focus to include non-traditional smart devices, whether for their own internal uses or to complement existing services for their customers.