There has been some interesting tech trends that emerged in 2013, or set a foundation in 2013 to setup for a breakout 2014.
1.) 3D Printing Will Show How Valuable It Can Be
There have been plenty of naysayers (and controversy) surrounding 3D printing. I think what you’ll see in 2014 is the healthcare industry being flooded with solutions that can be easily solved with a 3D printer (see here and here). Of course, without the understanding of stem cells, none of this would be possible (shoutout to UW-Madison and Dolly the Sheep!).
3D printing in Healthcare isn’t necessarily a new trend in 2014, but will be a strengthening one. 3D printing solutions in manufacturing will begin to gain more traction than it has ever before. Which is exactly where all of the 3D printing naysayers live. Many of them were quick to say that 3D printing will never replace full, end-to-end manufacturing plants. And at this moment, that’s still a valid point. But as pointed out by executives of major manufacturers, additive manufacturing is an excellent place for 3D printing to add value and begin expanding to more areas within product manufacturing. Here’s a quote from the CEO of a manufacturer:
“We’re able to build shapes that you can’t mould cast or forge – pieces you can’t make in any other way but through additive manufacturing.” All this means specialist parts now cost a fraction of what they once did. “This allows us to avoid fixed costs and it means we don’t have to carry stock because we can manufacture parts on demand,” says Doe.
2.) Quantifying of Self Movement Will Begin To Explore Alternatives and Become More Personal
As mentioned in a previous post, many companies like Fitbit and Jawbone benefited from consumers’ interests in collecting data. These products proved to only pique interest in more accurate data on ourselves. This will lend nicely to new technology for us to be collecting that data more accurately (e.g. wireless EMG used by Athos).
But what I think is more interesting is all of this data collection on ourselves will hopefully lead to healthier lives and preventative healthcare that not only our doctors can use, but also educating our own selves on our health. We have yet to see what action hospitals and insurance companies will take once we have this data, but hopefully this helps improve the overall health of our society.
3.) The Internet of Things Will Gain Steam, Leading To a Smarter Home
It’s still a mystery to me why we aren’t able to control and monitor our homes from our smartphone. If you can today, it’s a very fragmented experience. None of these things talk to each other: August’s Smart Lock to remotely open/lock your door is one app, setting the heat with Nest is another, etc. etc. What you’ll begin to see are systems that A.) condense all of these experiences into one via a central hub B.) companies offering a “smart home” package (locks, thermostat, water, gas, lights, etc.).
4.) Quantifying the Farm
If you think about all of the spaces and industries that have been disrupted by technology in the last few years, it’s hard to think of which ones are left. One part of the economy untouched is agriculture. Sure, there has been innovation in the machines farmers use, but what about incorporating the latest innovations in technology to help farmers understand their operations (crops, demand, futures prices, etc.)?
With all of this talk of drones, wouldn’t the farm be the perfect testing grounds before they deliver our Amazon packages? I think so. Next year I think this drone technology will start rearing its head in agriculture so farmers can evaluate their crops for weeds, pests and natural disaster, while a small number of American livestock producers use the drones to check on their animals’ health and numbers.
2014 should be an exciting year as technology continues to eat current processes, and in turn, jobs! Can’t stress enough, learn how to code and understand how things work. Some numbers suggest as many as 40% of today’s jobs will be replaced by 2030…..all due to technology.