Five tech trends everyone should stay on top of

Think Progress Team

Wednesday 2 July 2014

The fast pace of technological change makes separating the fads from the game changers increasingly difficult. Here are five current trends you should follow.

1. The Internet of Things

Technology that could unlock more than €8.22 trillion in value to the business community over the next decade can’t be underestimated. That’s Cisco’s evaluation of the Internet of Things (IoT), and much research supports that prediction.

The IoT is the expansion of data networks, or advanced connectivity of almost every kind of device – from gaming consoles to motor vehicles and household appliances.

While the concept is not new, businesses need to understand its value and applications. Microsoft is trialling loT to provide faster access to patient data for doctors, while Tesla is testing loT support vehicle maintenance.

According to ABI Research, more than 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020.

2. Biometrics

Imagine passwords are obsolete and the shape of your eye or voice is needed to use an ATM. It sounds sci-fi, but the value of biometrics and its potential for business is obvious.

Smartphone developers are adding fingerprint scanners to devices, financial institutions are testing voice and facial recognition security to identify customers, and the British government already uses the technology for residency applications.

BCC Research predicts that the global biometrics market will grow to nearly €16.15 billion by 2019, with annual growth of 19.8 per cent.

However, not surprisingly, privacy remains a discussion point.

3. 3D printing

Although still beyond the reach of most consumers, 3D printers have the potential to change markets in a way we’re only starting to grasp. Broke your coffee cup? Just print another one.

A PwC report suggests manufacturers that print parts otherwise warehoused, could make big savings and get products to customers faster.

The technology will allow companies to rethink inventory, especially low-volume obsolete parts which still need to be available.

4. Wearables

Smart watches, glasses, bracelets and other devices have brought technology into situations beyond the reach of PCs, laptops, and even smartphones. What Deloitte has termed ‘just in time digital logistics’ has the potential to give companies a much deeper understanding of their customers, while allowing them to interact in a more personalised way.

We are still in the early days, but Gartner values the wearable fitness and personal health devices market at €2.94 billion by 2016.

5. Big data

If you’re not across the explosion in digital data and its value for businesses, you are living under a rock.

The key is understanding how to leverage big data in your business – for example by crunching sales patterns to plan inventory levels, cutting staff expenses by analysing employee overtime and rearranging work schedules or using social media data to gauge what customers think about your business and competitors.

For the tech-savvy business leader, these hot tech trends offer opportunities and solutions that shouldn’t be ignored.

Find out more about the technology trends set to shape business and IT in 2015 by downloading our free ebook.