The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which is the trade association/lobbying group for the electronics industry, as well as the organization that brings us the epic Consumer Electronics Show (CES) every January, today released its 2014 edition of Five Technology Trends to Watch.
So what’s CEA have its eye on? Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT). The report looks at driverless cars, digital healthcare, robotics and the future of video distribution and consumption.
Here are the 5 trends that are on CEA’s radar, sprinkled with a few unsolicited and probably misguided attempts at humor from yours truly:
* How the IoT is using “vast webs of information to ‘learn’ consumer habits and needs and enrich our lives.” The downside? “As more digital devices replace their analog forbearers, there are growing opportunities for electronics to take over many of the analog tasks now handled by humans.” Hopefully innovation and jobs won’t be mutually exclusive endeavors going forward, but that statement does not bode well for the job market. However, it does bode well for our experiences in the digital world.
* How automakers “are testing and refining driverless vehicles, and the legal and social implications of ceding the open road to science.” Wait, driverless vehicles, you say? Does that mean we can finally text and drive without accidentally maiming someone?
* The potential for digital health technologies, particularly aging in place solutions, to drive down healthcare costs. Says CEA, “The key to the success of these technologies is in the hands of consumers, who must be willing to make the life changes needed to successfully self-monitor and feel comfortable sharing this information with their health care providers… living rooms may begin to rival doctors’ offices as a first choice for quality health care and treatment.” One thing is for certain: There will likely be better stuff to read at home than in a doctor’s office, which is a huge plus.
* Robots! “In the not too distant future, robots in the home will be common,” writes CEA. “You will have more free time as they do daily chores and may even have a pleasant conversation with one.” I want to see a robot that can carry trash down 14 flights of stairs, and then cattily gossip about the neighbors with me.
* The future of video distribution and consumption. I’m going to print this paragraph verbatim because I couldn’t agree more:
In an ideal future, a consumer can sit on the couch and enjoy a film without having a clue where it comes from. It may be served from a streaming video service such as Netflix, or their cable provider, or recorded on their streaming DVR or requested on demand. More, that video will able to be paused and picked back up again on a mobile device while the viewer sits in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Viewers don’t need to be mired in content source and delivery methods, and it will be bliss when someone takes the reins and unites the wide array of available content in a meaningful way.
How’s their track record, you may ask? Last year’s list consisted of 3D printing, next-gen TVs and displays, the evolution of audio, the mobile revolution in Africa and education tech.