LOS ALAMITOS, USA: In the coming year, mobile cloud convergence will lead to an explosion of new services, the Internet of Things will evolve into the Web of Things, new analytics tools will be introduced to handle the Big Data deluge, and innovative business models will emerge for 3D printing.
Those are just some of the technological advances that experts from IEEE Computer Society, the community for technology leaders, foresee in 2014.
"The year 2014 will mark transition from hype to maturity and broader adoption of many promising technologies, such as mobile cloud services, Big Data analytics, Internet of Things, 3D printing, and MOOCs," said incoming IEEE Computer Society president, Dejan Milojicic, a senior research manager at HP Labs.
Among the advances that IEEE Computer Society experts forecast:
Mobile cloud convergence will lead to an explosion of new services: Mobile and cloud computing are converging to create a new platform-one that will allow for better synchronization of data, improved reliability and scalability, increased ease of integration, anytime-anywhere access, rich user experiences, and an explosion of new services.
Internet of Things will evolve into the Web of Things: Going beyond the Internet of Things, where identifiable objects are seamlessly integrated into the information network, the Web of Things will take advantage of mobile devices' and sensors' ability to observe and monitor their environments, increasing the coordination between things in the real world and their counterparts on the Web.
New analytics tools will emerge to handle the Big Data deluge: The technology world hasn't quite caught up with the need for trained data scientists and the demand for easy-to-use tools that can give industries the ability to analyze the data they gather. The current level of extreme data demands new data management technologies and processes and new leaders will emerge in this arena in 2014.
New tools and techniques will bring 3D printing power to corporations and the masses: A future where digital functionality can be "printed into" a physical object will continue to be built on in 2014, driven by new toolkits, services, and platforms and innovative business models and processes, such as online 3D printing bureaus and crowdfunding sites.
Online courses demand new technological approaches: As interest in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) continues to explode, there will be a corresponding need for technology to support these new learning systems, and the development of seamless, ubiquitous, and contextual learning styles.
Mobile infrastructure must catch up with user needs and demands: Mobile computing systems must rise to the demands being placed on them by consumers, businesses, and emergency responders. Many systems operate within degraded network, power, or computing environments. Researchers must develop tools, middleware, and applications that can help with these quality-of-service issues.
New risks and concerns about social network privacy: Although social networks offer tremendous opportunities, widespread interest in and growth of these systems raises new risks and concerns. For instance, social network users can be bullied, their pictures can be stolen, or their status posts can reach unwanted audiences. A battle now exists between individual privacy and the interests of the system at large. Researchers are searching for new solutions to these challenges.
Intelligent systems and assistive devices will advance smart healthcare: Individual health is encouraged with the development of intelligent systems, apps, gadgets, and mobile systems that focus on diet, exercise, and information provision. There's also a proliferation in the use of intelligent systems for large-scale analysis of biomedical data, socially relevant data, and metadata, such as the spread of disease or certain habits in populations.
Agencies will attempt to tackle e-government interoperability issues: Interoperability is essential to broad success in e-government. Challenges emerging in this area focus on e-government interoperability in cloud computing, open government, and smart city initiatives.
Scientific cloud computing will further change how science is done: Scientific computing is the key to solving "grand challenges" in many domains and providing breakthroughs in new knowledge, and it comes in many shapes and forms. Not surprisingly, it becomes increasingly difficult to design and operate large scale systems capable of addressing these grand challenges.