6th February 2014


By Rebecca Parker on Thursday February 6, 2014

Last week I went to the Digital Swot event at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, to represent both The Juice Academy and Tangerine PR. Being the social and digital geek that I am it was right up my street!

Throughout the day there were nine talks given by representatives of big-name companies, such as Betfred, the BBC, Google and Experian. One talk in particular caught my eye – given by Martin Bryant from The Next Web, about the tools and trends that will shape 2014.

Martin started by explaining that apps have already changed a considerable amount, but are soon to develop even further. The first point he made about the developments is context; meaning that apps are now very clever and allowing you to search without searching. They give you information without you necessarily having to ask for it. A fine example of this clever technology is an app called Aviate – the contextual homescreen. This app changes the widgets on your homescreen depending on what you’re doing or where you are throughout the day.

The next point Martin made was one that is highly relevant in today’s society; he called it ‘quiet social’. This is something that has quickly become a trend, and will continue to be a big hit throughout 2014. Quiet social is a whole new approach that allows users to be social online while remaining anonymous. With apps such as Snapchat, Whisper and Kwikdesk becoming more and more popular, this development shows no sign of slowing down.

An interesting comment that Martin made here was just how anonymous can users be? Granted, fellow users have no idea who you are, but what about the servers? They hold all the information and data about users and the content they are posting, so in this respect the rise of anonymity will bring an increase in awareness about hackers. People will wake up to hackers and their own responsibility.

Now for the really good bit! The trends to look out for;

Wearable technology

Although this is a gradual process, with technology such as Google Glass becoming available, wearable technology will soon be the ‘next big thing’! Apps like The Narrative Clip (a clip on camera that automatically takes pictures every 30 seconds), fitness trackers and smartwatches will be seen a lot more.

The Internet of Stuff

From Nest (a Google owned thermostat and smoke detector) to The Smart Toothbrush, more and more things are becoming available to consumers. One rather funny example that Martin gave to portray the extent of this was the Withings Smart Baby (or pet) Monitor; he went on the app in front of us and let us know that both of his dogs were sound asleep in the kitchen. The app monitored the behaviour of the dogs and sent it through to his smartphone, and if he really felt like it, he could talk to them through the app! But as he stated himself, this would probably freak them out.

The Death of Computers

With the rise of various different technologies, 2014 will see the demise of the desktop computer and the rising popularity of the lightweight computer, eg Chromebook. Although there will be gradual evolution and refinement of smartphones and tablets, there will be no big innovations.

One final note from Martin – look out for conversations about:

  • Bitcoin
  • 3D printing
  • Robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) – “they’ll come for our jobs… and then they’ll come for us…” eek!