Tech Trends to Watch in 2014 (continued)

More trends I’m looking out for this year (continued from

  • Home Automation (and the Internet of Things)
    • The Internet of Things is another concept that folks have been talking about for a while, but previous initiatives like Buglabs or Android@Home haven’t seemed to take off yet. Still, I think home automation will be the first area where this field starts to see some depth, and the $3.2 billion Nest acquisition certainly kicked off the year with a bang in this respect. Other large projects such as Songdo International Business District are also nearing completion, and last year finally saw IPv6, a prerequisite for massive inter-networking, start to roll out more seriously.
  • Living Room Tech
    • Perhaps serving as a driving force for Home Automation, companies continue to pour development resources into our home media experience. All the major game consoles have now been updated, and have features designed to help control the entire living room entertainment experience rather than just play games. At the same time, the traditional players are being challenged by relative newcomers—with a particularly anticipated new effort from Apple expected to be unveiled as well. Finally, while new video technologies like OLED screens and UHD/4K LCD formats have come to market, buying a TV now seems a bit like buying the first 780i-capable  TV back when HD was first rolling out. I’m hoping that by the end of the year we’ll start to see things like OLED 4K (and hopefully not with nonsensically curved screens either).
  • Drones
    • The FAA has set up test sites to study rules for civilian & commercial drone use, Amazon is working on delivery by drone, Quadcopters are getting amazing, and even larger UAV prototypes seem to be cropping up.
  • Alternative energy
    • Between Solar City and Tesla Elon Musk is driving a lot of the most visible progress in this area, but this is a global trend. Coal still costs pretty much the same, while the cost of alternative energy has dropped 50% over the past four years. Given the recent draft UN report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, let’s hope for a lot more progress in this area this year.
  • “Personal Logistics”
    • The field of on-demand personal services has been exploding recently, with various degrees of success. Uber is the poster child, whereas errand companies like Exec, Taskrabbit, and Cherry have struggled, pivoted, or folded. On the other hand, same-day delivery is still heating up, with heavyweights like Amazon and Google entering the fray with startups like Instacart. While I’m not sure most in the space have hit on them yet, I think there are a lot more models that, like Uber, can make a lot of money while providing a new level of convenience for consumers.
  • Privacy/Encryption
    • While the general public hasn’t seemed to care as much as one might expect, there is nonetheless a lot of outrage stemming from Snowden’s NSA revelations, which should provide a major boost for great new ideas that can increase consumer privacy. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the NSA’s practices have really hurt America’s image and competitiveness internationally.

So those are my main 11 trends to watch this year. Which ones do you think I missed?