One year ago we wrote the first “The Best Is Yet To Come“, where we were expecting big innovations that were going to change the tech environment for the next year and so it was. In tech 2014, we are expecting the same, we want to see the future becoming the present, because this is what innovation is about. We’ll probably see a lot of interesting things through the year that are going to change the way we look at the world. People will start living on the internet and this big net will be at the centre of everything we do in life from eating to sleeping. It’s all about being connected to the same network.
Google Glass is still the first in the list. This is the technology that we were expecting in 2013. Google wanted to start shipping the device at the end of 2013, but they couldn’t make it. Further, they didn’t even say a word about it during the past Google I/O conference.
Everything seems a secret even though they are expanding their explorer program. In the beginning, you could have a Google Glass if you booked it at the Google I/O 2012, then it was friends of people who took part in the explorer program and now people who are subscribers of Play Music All Access can order a device.
The price is still the same $1,500. As the explorer program keeps growing, the shipping date comes closer. They might choose to start shipping it at Google I/O 2014 or at the end of the year close to christmas. The key to success is the price. We all know that $1,500 is too much to build a mainstream product, that’s why they need to price it under $500, if they want it to become the next big thing.
Another product that we want to see in the market in 2014 is the Oculus Rift. At the moment, as we have said dozens of times, you can only buy the Developer Kit at $300. The innovation that this product brings on the table is massive, but the question is “are we ready to use it?”. When I first tried to use the Oculus, I almost fainted.
The experience is so strange the first time that it seems to be in another world, then you start getting used to it. What it is remarkable about this device is that it can be integrated with other technologies. In the past months, several developers have started building things thanks to the Developer Kit. The two most interesting concepts are Elon Musk’s design software and Omni.
We have already covered the former, when we nominated Elon Musk as the best entrepreneur of the year. On the other hand, the latter is pretty new. Omni, thanks to a Kinect, the Oculus Rift, a static surface, and custom shoes, allows you to be in the game.
Amazon Prime Air
People are slow and inefficient in some cases, even though they do an excellent job from a human point of view. However in some cases, it could be much more useful to use drones. That’s what the Amazon Prime Air is about. Amazon is aiming at delivering packages in less than 30 minutes by using unmanned aerial vehicles. As they also say on their website:
Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take some number of years as we advance the technology and wait for the necessary FAA rules and regulations.
We wont’ see them flying in 2014, but the gold rush has just started. This year will be the one were more than one company will start working on drones and robots in order to try to figure out more efficient ways to produce and deliver stuff. Even Google who recently bought Boston Dynamics has set its eyes on this market. This will be the year where we see robots used not just in labs by researchers, but in real life situations.
Virgin Galactic Expected Flight
Richard Branson is the craziest person on earth. He doesn’t care if something might have technical issues or if it might take years to develop, following the “screw it, let’s do it” philosophy, Branson has founded more than 200 companies within the Virgin Groups. Starting from selling record labels to trying to manufacture Virgin Condoms and ending up in space.
In fact, one of those companies is Virgin Galactic, which aims to make space travels doable. This company for just $200,000 can bring you in space and let you try how it feels being in orbit without gravity. What it’s cool is that they say to be on track to deliver space travels in 2014 and NBCUniversal has recently closed a partnership with Virgin to film the first flight with Branson and his sons.
3D printing is not a product, but a technology trend that will keep expanding in the next twelve months. As soon as 3D printers’ prices will drop, we’ll see more of them in our houses.
The future is not about moving and transporting materials from country to country, the future is about building the things you need in your house. That’s why we desperately need to improve this technology and distribute it as much as possible. Costs are still a problem, but as the technology advances, things can be built in a cheaper way.