Three tech trends to look out for in 2014

David Beatty 2The start of another year is always a time for us to reflect on the old and look towards the new.

2013 saw some technological advances which, without a doubt, helped businesses to work and communicate better than ever before, particularly with the roll out of 4G.

But what does 2014 have in store for us? What new technology will assist how local companies operate throughout the coming 12 months?

Industry experts tell us that trends which emerged in late 2013 will only develop further such as wearable technology and increasingly advanced smartphone and tablet technology.

David Beatty, Head of UK Networks and Systems Sales at Rainbow Communications, picks out three trends which he believes we will hear much more about in the not too distant future…

Wireless charging

I’m sure many of us have been in the situation when we are out of the office but our mobile phone battery is slowly but surely running low. 

Of course, it will be when you are waiting on an important phone call too.

It seems that charging without the need for a physical charger could soon become a widespread reality.

Already some smartphones have the ability to charge without wires, for example on a charging pad. 

But manufacturers are now working on ‘magnetic resonance wireless charging’, or to you and me, charging without the need for physical contact with wires or a pad. 

The trend is emerging with some “charging kiosks” in America, but further development of wireless charging points in public places such as airports and restaurants here will ensure that your employees will always be accessible to colleagues, customers or clients.

It could revolutionise smartphone technology, just as wireless WIFI public hotspots did a few years ago.

Bitcoin

You might have heard of bitcoins but are perhaps not too familiar with what they are. In simple terms, they are the very first virtual currency.

The take up has been relatively slow as people only now begin to understand what it is. For example, instead of paying with pounds, you pay with ‘bitcoins’ without the need for the transaction to go through a bank. 

More and more companies are now accepting the currency because transaction fees are lower than credit card payments, and it opens up more doors in terms of international business.

It may take a while before more firms come on board, but with news that Richard Branson and his company Virgin Galactic (which sells commercial space flights) embraced the use of bitcoins in November, interest could really ‘take off’.

He said: Virgin Galactic is one of the universe’s most exciting, futuristic companies. Bitcoin, the virtual currency, has really captured the imagination recently as one of the world’s most innovative businesses looking to the future. So we think it is about time Virgin Galactic customers can choose to pay with bitcoins.”

Two years ago, one bitcoin was valued at less than $10, now it’s about $900, so no doubt we’ll be hearing more about the currency in 2014. 

Internet of things

I often hear the term the ‘internet of things’ to describe how increasingly, everyday items are given the ability to log and transfer information and data.

Already we can monitor how many calories we have burnt running via a fitness watch or monitor how much oil we have left in our oil tanks via our smartphones, but as the year progresses, so will the ability for companies to collect additional information from all different types of objects and use that data to their advantage. 

Think about how businesses can use these revolutionary techniques in order to gain a better insight into customers and their needs, wants, tastes and requirements.

Internet-enabled sensors offer big benefits to companies, and no doubt this trend will continue to develop in 2014.

It also mightn’t be too long until every household has a smart-fridge which monitors the refrigerator’s contents and orders food online for us, or TVs which purchase whatever product appears on an advertisement if we simply touch the screen.

Ok, that may be a few years off yet, but no doubt, the technology ball is already rolling and will have an impact on our daily lives throughout and even beyond 2014.

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