Plusnet Predictions 2014
I'm going to do the predictions a little differently this year. I'm still going to do 10 predictions for 2014 but I'm also going to look a bit further ahead to where some of those predictions will go in the years ahead. 1. 2014 will be the year of wearable tech. Whether it's video cameras, Google Glass, smart shoes with built in GPS and Bluetooth or smart watches. Smart will become the buzz word for wearable tech. It won't just be the humans wearing the tech, Cat Nav will be the must have pet accessory. The obvious extension of the wearable tech, is wearable tech for our furry friends that track their movement. The BBC made a documentary about the movement of cats in a village and you can bet some clever bod has been busy miniaturising the GPS to fit in a normal collar. By 2019 smart tech of some form will be woven into almost all clothing types. Hats will have headphones and microdot solar panels to wirelessly charge all your devices, shoes will have GPS, sleeves will have touch sensors and the choice of display will be glasses or 3D holographic watches. We'll even have "Borg" style implants to monitor our health! 2. The Internet of Things! Which leads naturally to the next set of smart devices and the smart home. If you can't wear it then you'll be able to control it via your smart phone, smart watch, smart glasses, smart ring or smart hat. In the shops for Christmas 2014 expect to see smart golf clubs/balls that will track your game, smart fridges and cupboards that will order your groceries and smart lights and heating/air con that turn themselves on and off based on the GPS location from your smart shoes. Software will get smarter. Everything will become smart. TVs are already smart but that intelligence will grow. The PVR/On Demand facility will predict the shows and films you like and it thinks you want to watch. You'll be able to use the TV to do multiple things at the same time watch the game, Skype your friends, see the weather and other scores and use your tablet/phone as a second screen for different angles, replays, to use as a remote control. Some of this is already there but it will just work seamlessly and be second nature. The smart technology will move on to other devices, the next big area after TV is cars. Google, Nissan and others are already developing self driving cars. Within 10 years self driving technology will start to take off and will be common place on roads. In order to help with the movement self driving cars will initially be allowed to use bus lanes and a lane will be dedicated for self driving cars (allowed to do 100mph) on the motorways. 3. Third year lucky, this year will finally be the year for the Apple television and iWatch. The first generation Apple TV will incorporate Siri and gesture controls, apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch to control the TV, so they can be used as a companion screen or to stream live or recorded TV. The Apple TV will support apps although it won't be touch screen the gesture control will mean existing iPhone/iPad apps will be playable. The iWatch will be sleek and sexy made from curvy thin touchscreen glass, in different sizes and colours for men and women. It will use proximity charging (see also prediction 10) and be able to interact with and control your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac. It will include an accelerometer so you can use it for gesture controls as well as a microphone for Siri (it'll be like you were Michael Knight, Apple please hire William Daniels to be the new voice of Siri). In 2015 the Apple TV 2 will launch and be available with a 4K 80 inch display. Could there also be a potential acquisition of a video streaming service to merge with iTunes and the Apple TV? 4. Big changes are ahead at Microsoft next year. The new Microsoft CEO will drop the Surface and focus the company on its core products of software (Windows, Office, Skype) Xbox and Nokia with Nokia picking up the Microsoft tablet production but under the Nokia brand. Windows 9 will be delayed until at least the end of 2015 so they can concentrate on streamlined and integrated user experience between Windows, Xbox and mobile. 5. Brazil will win the most watched World Cup of all times and that increase in viewers will be driven almost entirely by people streaming it. 6. There will be a content war in 2014 led by Amazon and Netflix trying to expand their market share by delivering content in a different way to traditional TV. Viewing will no longer be dictated by when the broadcasters want you to watch the shows but instead the whole series will be available to watch when you want. The BBC has already announced the launch of BBC1+1, iPlayer will expand to 30 days and that some shows will air first on iPlayer. They will begin to embrace the new model and next year one of Eastenders, Doctor Who, Top Gear or Masterchef will see episodes aired on iPlayer first before being on BBC1/2. Within 5 years the idea of sitting down to watch entertainment shows like Corrie at 7:30pm or Casualty on Saturday evening will become an alien concept. Some things like sporting events by their nature will remain a "live" event as will shows with viewer interaction like the finals of X Factor but dramas and sitcoms will begin to take the model of being available to watch when you want to watch them. 7. Indecision 2016 may still be over 2 years away but the prospective presidential candidates will start to emerge over the year and one of the key topics will be security and privacy due to the revelations from Edward Snowden. This focus will drive a sea-change in ad tracking, increased use of HTTPS, greater focus on data protection and how companies can use and sell personal data (and also data that isn't deemed to be personal like geo-location mapping), how much data we as users freely give away and how we can begin to move away from old fashioned passwords and move towards biometrics, 2 step logins, fobs, symbols, gestures and patterns. 8. The end of 2013 in the gaming world was all about the PS4 and the Xbox One, but the launch of the new consoles has seen increased sales of the Wii U. 2014 will see a battle between Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony and Valve for the crown of best console and biggest sales. If Nintendo cut the price of the Wii U to less than £150 they could claw themselves back into the game but I think the PS4 will sell the most in 2014 but it won't be far ahead of the Xbox One. The Xbox will win in the long run. Once developers start coming up with new and innovative uses for the Kinect (Xbox Fitness could do as much for the Xbox as Wii Fit did) and especially if the indie developers publish lots of titles on the Xbox it will become the runaway winner. 9. Ever go to a shop and can't find which shelf the item you want is on? Running late for a train and need to know how to get to the right platform quickly? Tesco already have a Smartphone app that will tell you which shelf the beans are on, but there's no map to go with it. The Trainline app will tell you which platform the train is on but not which way to get to the platform. If you take the combined power of these apps and then do what Google and others have done for outdoor mapping you can create indoor maps too and use technology like Google Glass to plot you a visible sat-nav style route to the beans. The advertisers will love it because they know you're looking for beans so can point out where the sausages are and give you a special discount code if you buy both products. This will also bring a further increase in automated shopping where you can go in the store pick up what you want, pay via the app and walk out. Queuing at the tills, even the self service tills will start to become a thing of the past. 10. Wireless proximity charging will become commonplace in 2014. Most device charging today relies on having to plug the device into a wire, some devices use induction charging but still need contact with the charging point. Proximity charging will allow the device to be charged within a certain distance (e.g. 1 metre) of the charging point so can potentially charge wearable tech without having to take it off. What are we missing? Feel free to post your own predictions here or on our forum.
How did we do last year?
So that's 2014 wrapped up, how did we do in 2013. 1. 2013 will see LTE services launching from at least three more providers in the UK Yep, EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three have all launched in parts of the UK. I don’t expect to see multi-device shared data contracts this year but they will be common place in 2014. EE decided to get ahead of me and launched theirs in 2013 so expect to see more in 2014 1/1 2. The Alfa 4C will go in to production and be available to buy in Europe for less than £40,000 this year. It's in production but starting at £45k 1.5/2 3. Someone will launch a hat phone. Grr, still no hat phone 1.5/3 4. Apple will surprise people expecting them to launch the Apple Television by launching the iWatch… only to then launch the television as well. Missed out again but the rumours persist so I've kept in for next year. 1.5/4 5. 2013 will be see 3D printing start to take off. Maplin are selling 3D printers for £699, now they are in the high street I'd say they were starting to take off. I expect the price to drop by 1/3rd over the next year. 2.5/5 6. Expect a evening of Doctor Who on Saturday 23rd November Yep, we did and Paul McGann even returned to the role of The Doctor. 3.5/6 7. PS4 and Xbox 720 available before Christmas. OK, didn't get the name right for the Xbox One but they did launch and I got the order right. 4.5/7 8. Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford will be announced as making appearances in Star Wars Episode VII. It's not confirmed yet but we may have to retroactively award a point here if they do get announced next year. 4.5/8 9. One state in the US or a city in Japan will have a driverless taxi service operating on the normal roads. Not quite unfortunately, but they will be testing in Milton Keynes in 2015. 4.5/9 10. The UK will spend over £9bn on online Christmas shopping next year and a total of more than £80bn across the year. At the time of going to press the figures have yet to be released so we'll retroactively score this one once we know the numbers. 4.5/10 And one bonus one Everton will be in the Champions League next season and you’ll be able to see the results on your bluetooth enabled augmented reality glasses which pull the data from your smartphone. Well Google Glass is still being trialled but it's not quite out for public consumption yet and sadly Everton aren't in the Champions League.
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