Think 2013 was a fun and exciting year in technology? Wait till you hear why 2014 will be even more awesome for the technology and startup community. From larger and thinner mobile devices to gesture-based navigation to new reforms in funding regulations, the new year will be by far the best ever.
Mobile and Touch Devices
“This will be the year of mobile” has been a headline of major publications for the past few years. What mobile means to our industry has not only changed from time to time, but people interpret it differently, depending on their industry. Does it mean devices that can function without wires and are therefore mobile? Or does it mean devices that are small enough to put in our pockets? Or, since the first iPad, does mobile mean any device that doesn’t have a physical keyboard? Think about it: the last few questions pretty much summarized the past six years or so of mobile innovation. In that time, entire companies shifted markets while others perished due to their lack of innovation and adoption by consumers. Think Blackberry and Nokia. Think Windows mobile from Microsoft, and iOS from Apple. Which one did better and set the standard for consumer expectation?
2014 will definitely be an important year for mobile, but with an emphasis on touch technology. Larger screens that can handle touch capabilities at a cheaper cost will become the norm. They will also be thinner and lighter. We are already seeing televisions at lower price points, making them more affordable than ever before. At one point, “all-in-one” desktops were known as being space savers, with large displays. Then computer manufacturers introduced touch screens and most recently, began to include built in batteries, making the all-in-one ‘desktop’ yet another mobile device. Does a 23″ tablet sound crazy? Get used to it in the new year.
Gesture Based Navigation
Early in 2013, I was extremely excited to see a video from Leap Motion that promoted gesture based navigation for computers. It was as if I was using a miniature version of Microsoft XBOX Kinnect for my computer rather than for games. I immediately pre-ordered a few to test. Soon thereafter, I saw Thalmic Labs’ video, which showcased their latest innovation, MYO. Unlike the Leap, MYO is an armband that helps you navigate in mid air. Now that was truly amazing to imagine our being able to use our arms to control computers, drones and so much more. Could we call 2014 the year of wearable technology as well?
As we head into 2014, the gesture based navigation industry is going to be ever more competitive, with more companies joining the effort. Naturally, price points will come down and improvements will be made to the early technology. For some people, it will be akin to just a few decades before, when the mouse was introduced for navigating computers and improvements made to the keyboard for input. 2014 may just eliminate the mouse as well as the physical keyboard. Now that would be truly awesome!
Crowdfunding and Startups
I personally have raised funding for my startup, Canvs+, from angel investors in 2013 but knew of other ways of fund raising as well. Most notably, crowdfunding, made popular by such platforms as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. With the JOBS Act, more and more people will be able to not only fund projects, but also invest in early stage companies. Before, only a few select people who met the requirements to be considered “accredited” had the ability to invest. As we head into 2014, new means of fundraising for startups may allow more entrepreneurs to build companies at a faster pace. Companies such as Return on Change, a platform for crowdfunding startups, will help in facilitating such investments. Go entrepreneurs!