Juniper Research also expects tablets to flourish in the educational sector

Smart cities and a boost for wearable tech among 2014 tech predictions

Analyst Juniper Research has published its tech predictions for next year, including expectations of smart cities, a boost in wearable tech and a heavy adoption of tablets in the education sector.

Juniper, which is known as a mobile analyst, said of the more varied selection of predictions this year:

“With content and services becoming increasingly device agnostic, we have extended our scope to cover trends which range across an array of technologies and applications.”

“Many of these are indeed underpinned by wireless connectivity, but now such connectivity takes in an every-increasing range of verticals, impacting upon not merely the consumer and enterprise arenas, but on society as a whole.”

One such society-changing prediction is that 2014 will be “when cities get smarter”.

“The idea of connecting every physical object to the Internet and communicating with each other is not new,” the report explains, suggesting the popular ‘Internet of Things’ belief.

“But there has been an ever increasing activity within the industry over the past 12 months towards enabling a well-connected infrastructure via the evolution of efficient and intelligent systems.”

“As technology continues to enable a more economic and efficient living for the urban population next year, the need for municipal authorities to cut carbon footprints and reduce overall expenditure will provide additional pressures.”

“Smart cities look to address key issues arising from this evolution via efficient and intelligent systems including: ticketing applications, transport management, municipal management, smart metering and others including healthcare,” added the report, citing Singapore, Barcelona and Nice as example locations were smart technology was being implemented into urban living.

Not all smart technology will be deployed on as large a scale as a city, however, with wearable tech set for a “watershed year” for the sector.

“The entry of new players (including Qualcomm, HTC, Dell, and Asus) into the sector, together with both product launches and version upgrades by the earlier entrants (Samsung, Sony, Apple and Google) will provide an array of catalysts for substantial growth,” stated Juniper, adding that while “there are a number of social and legal barriers to the deployment of wearable devices, not all of these hurdles will apply to every device, or indeed, every type of device”.

The education sector is set for a boost too, with tablets such as the iPad that have been customised with parental controls and educational software expected to become a much bigger presence in schools.

“Juniper believes that the number of tablets used for educational settings will soar during 2014, both as complement to – and in place of – desktop PCs. As tablets can provide content to engage students and enrich their education, and increasingly, students are already accustomed to using a tablet outside of school,” the firm said.

Among the company’s other predictions was the suggestion that the gaming market may be disrupted by devices such as the Ouya and mini PCs aiming to “siphon off high and low end users”.

Juniper also forecasted that 3D printer shipments would surge over the next 12 months, NAS would become a popular choice for consumers looking to host their own personal Cloud and mobile fitness devices such as products from wearable health tech firm FitBit would diversify into a wider-reaching interest among consumers.

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