Recently, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the largest professional tech association in the world, came out with their predictions of the top 10 tech trends for 2014. The announcement comes from the IEEE Computer Society journals, magazine, and conference section.
If you have been paying attention to Engineering.com, much of these predictions will be familiar to you. I have included some links, though, for a little more depth.
1. The Mobile Cloud
IEEE notes that the biggest limiting factors of mobile devices are the battery life, memory, and processors. If your phone or iPad can connect to your work on the cloud, however, all the hard work is done off the mobile device.
You can access your data anywhere, anytime without synchronizing. And better yet you may not need to recharge your mobile device everyday when the hard work is performed off-device.
2. The Web-of-Things
The internet-of-things is growing into a web all of its own. Mobile devices and sensors can be integrated onto a network allowing your data to work for you wherever you are.
As the interconnections continue to grow, our world will become more and more coordinated. Perhaps this web-of-things is what Asimov thought of when creating the idea of Multivac?
3. Extreme Data
With the web-of-things collecting massive amounts of data, it is no surprise that analytical tools and experts will be necessary to make sense of it all. Data Management is a growing industry; directly related to the growth of technology.
Data analysis is particularly hard for smaller companies, though, who can easily drown in the sea of a dataset. Cheaper, more efficient solutions must be found.
4. 3D Printing
It is no coincidence that Engineering.com dedicates a whole section to 3D Printing; the technology is advancing by leaps and bounds every day.
With 3D printing, design and production times can be cut to a fraction of what they were before. Furthermore, materials are no longer wasted like they are in subtractive manufacturing, saving money on raw materials.
As the prices drop and/or access increases, 3D Printing is making a larger impact on both manufacturing and do-it-yourselfers around the world.
5. Online Learning
As you may already know, online education is one of my personal interests.
Tuition and location are no longer limiting factors in getting a degree from your dream school. Highly recognizable institutions are adding courses to the web at ever-increasing rates, and some courses are even offered for free as a massive open online course (MOOC), making access to higher education easier than ever before.
I myself recently decided to jump on the bandwagon and take on a MOOC.
6. Mobile Networks
Mobile networks need to improve as we use the internet more and more on the go. Performance can often degrade in high traffic areas or situations. It is also important that lines don’t go down, both in rural areas and in cases of emergencies.
Network companies have a lot of work cut out for them to ensure that their networks advances in line with user demand. After all, as soon as you introduce Internet somewhere new (the subway for example) people will expect it to work without fail.
7. Social Networks vs. Privacy
A war started at Harvard in 2004 and it wages on today, the war between social networks and your personal privacy.
Today, a picture of your friends partying in high school has the potential to affect your interview prospects 10 years down the line. While at the same time data miners infer your marketing preferences, even if you don’t “like” anything, and sell it to the highest bidder.
Social media is a powerful but volatile landscape yet, and long-term solutions would find widespread support.
8. Plugged-in Healthcare
The healthcare sector gets more technical with every passing day.
Companies like TI are creating microchips designed to assess the health of a patient on the go and even update doctors on their mobile phones. The Internet-of-things can be setup to
ensure the lights, temperature, and machines keep a patient comfortable in their hospital bed. Even your whole medical history will be available for doctors with just a swipe of a health card.
As the baby-boomers continue to age, expect to see more tech in the doctor’s office, if only to alleviate the strain in demand.
9. Plugged-in Government
Technology is important to all levels of government, not just the NSA.
With added technology, government services can be improved and voters can get their opinions to the people that matter. Furthermore, with sites like Wikileaks inspiring front-page news, the concept of open government is more important than ever.
It is important, however, as recent history shows, to ensure that these technical advances are incorporated into the system correctly, or good policies can easily come under attack.
10. Scientific Cloud Analysis
For years, SETI has been promoting their application that allows home computers around the world to help analyze radio transmissions. Since then, the concept of scientific cloud analysis has exploded in popularity.
Engineering.com has been reporting on the growing trend of cloud simulation and the possibilities seem endless. No longer do you need to bog down your own systems to analyze a large simulation, when you can easily run multiple and interconnected simulations at once through the cloud.
If the IEEE predictions tell us just one thing, it is that we live in an exciting, technical time, and in the coming years you can expect this fact to increase exponentially.