Technology is always evolving and therefore constantly changing the way businesses operate. Next year isn't expected to be any different. Here are the top tech trends you should look for in 2014:
1. Cloud computing
The cloud has done a lot for companies all over the world. According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, businesses that have moved to the cloud have been able to reduce electricity costs 30% by moving away from in-house server rooms. This move makes companies greener because dozens of businesses can use the same cloud data server. But in 2014, the cloud is expected to take businesses even further. Experts expect the cloud to become more secure in the next year and that businesses will use it as a platform for innovation, improving on their practices already in place such as recruiting, workforce training or collaboration with customers.
2. Wearable tech
A lot of wearable technology entered the market in 2013 from Google Glass to a number of smart watches, fitness bands and even articles of clothing. But experts predict more affordable wearables will enter the market in 2014, allowing them to be utilized on a larger scale. Studies have already shown that wearable tech improves productivity, and as the high-tech devices become more commonplace in the next year, companies are expected to optimize productivity through apps in wearables.
3. Tablet ordering systems
Tablets might be the biggest trend in the restaurant business for 2014. Several restaurants are experimenting with the idea of tablet ordering systems—placing tablets at each table so the customer can order and pay their bill without getting a waiter's attention. Chili's Grill & Bar has tested the device in 180 of its locations, finding that on-table ordering increased the size of the average bill, improved tips and sold more appetizers. It's planning on rolling out tablet ordering systems to most of its 1,266 locations in the first half of 2014. Applebee's and Uno Chicago Grill restaurants have also started placing tablets at tables. If success of the idea continues, more companies are likely to jump on the bandwagon.
4. Workplace transformation
The traditional boundaries of the workplace as defined by an office with a set schedule will likely continue to deteriorate in 2014. Cloud computing has enabled many workers to work remotely from anywhere, anytime. And as more and more millennials enter the workplace and baby boomers retire, expect to see further transformations in 2014. Next year, millennials will make up 36 percent of the workforce, according to Forbes. Because the generation grew up with technology, you're likely to see broader implementation of new technologies and ideas.
5. Drone delivery
Businesses looking for greener, more efficient package delivery ideas might want to take special note of Amazon's flying drone. Instead of delivery by truck, the company believes it can use all-electric drones to deliver packages under 5 pounds, which covers about 86 percent of its orders. Though the company doesn’t expect to launch delivery by drone until 2015—when the Federal Aviation Administration is mandated by Congress to develop a plan to integrate drones into U.S. airspace—other companies are likely to join the race to build drones in the coming year. For example, startup DroneDeploy is already building software capable of directing drones, which it believes may be able to one day handle everything from delivering pizza to personal shopping.