It’s that time of year again, when tech companies gather in Las Vegas, the most hallowed of cities, to show off their newest marvels. 2013 was the year that Chinese tech brands showed their potential alongside Japanese and Korean contenders. So what does this year’s show have in store? Here are three tech trends that made waves in 2013, and will no doubt continue to be big news in 2014:
One of the main issues which many are expecting to be addressed at CES 2014 is that of wearable tech. We’ve been talking about wearables for what feels like ages now, without any real success stories to speak of. I recently predicted that 2014 will be the year that smart garments and accessories finally cross over into the mainstream and garner broad appeal; ideally, brands at CES will be able to show us products that everyday consumers will want to wear, as well as trend-chasing early adopters.
As Darrell Etherington at TechCrunch points out; “Gadgets don’t interest general users by virtue of their potential or their value as objects unto themselves, they appeal because of their use value, and because they answer a specific question consumers have.”
Meanwhile, Pete Pachal at Mashable is convinced that tech companies will bring their wearable A-game to Vegas this year, predicting smaller firms will take this opportunity to showcase variations on fitness gadgets. “Don’t expect any splashy unveilings from big names, however,” he warns, as “any serious smartwatch will be introduced at its own event.”
It is also reasonable to anticipate a greater focus on biometric passwords in tech products, following the launch of the thumbprint-locking iPhone 5s last year; I recently caved and treated myself to one, and can definitely appreciate the added convenience and security. Companies in this space exhibiting at CES will include Agnitio and EyeLock, specialists in speech recognition software and iris-scanning technology respectively.
2013 was undoubtedly the year that 3D printing took off, revolutionising the manufacturing process and democratising the design world in one fell swoop. But it remains an expensive and intricate concept, and it is logical to presume that tech companies will be working on cheaper, more accessible avenues.