CNN iReport – May 26, 2014
Most people want to know what’s going to happen in the future, or at least have a hint – especially when it comes to technology trends that will shape the upcoming sales and finances (or lack thereof) of business owners and consumers around the globe.
As a freelance writer who covers a lot of technology trends and one who is privy to a plethora of information in the online world, I’ve learned of the following tech trends to look out for in 2014:
Outsourcing of technology services gets personal
Back in 2004, when I worked in the technology department of a large financial services firm, the trend of corporations hiring workers from around the world with lower costs and lots of knowledge was a new thing. Now it’s an accepted practice that is making the rounds in the entrepreneurial world as well.
For example, if a small business owner who runs a blog decides he wants to turn an idea for an app into reality, he could relatively easily hire a developer to create the code and even submit it to the iTunes App Store for him, all without knowing how to program the app himself. Several sites – like oDesk or Elance – feature programmers around the world who are highly skilled to accomplish such tasks. Or, a woman who runs her own architecture firm could outsource her design planning to an international firm like IndiaCADworks if she didn’t have the time to create them all on her own.
Expect outsourcing to continue to get more individualistic and specific in 2014 and beyond.
Wider Wi-Fi on the way
The days when we were tethered to our online connections via dial-up connections are long gone, and new Wi-Fi technology is giving us an even wider girth than we expect. Kiplinger reports that users will enjoy the ability to connect to the web at such farther distances that lots of office workers and home occupants will be able to access the Internet truly wirelessly. This will make way for companies like RST Fiber to swoop in with lower rates than conventional wire service firms.
More grocery store shopping online
In 2014, approximately $102 million of the $340-billion grocery market is generated from online sales of groceries, representing only 3% of the astronomical market. Expect that first number to climb to $578 million in online grocery sales by 2024, leaping from 3% to 17% within a decade.
Advanced technological techniques are making it easier for shoppers who are busy to refill their grocery needs – such as barcode scanners that help remind people when they are running low on their favorite gluten-free foods to cameras that help skeptical buyers get a look at produce remotely to examine the look and freshness of the items.
The brick-and-mortar grocery stores that either partner with those successful online grocers already in the game – or figure out a way to do it favorably on their own – may thrive in the Internet grocery game. Retailers such as FreshDirect, Peapod, Amazon, Trader Joe’s and Wal-Mart are all hoping to come out on top.