CES and beyond: 7 tech trends that will define 2014

6. The Smart Home, now minus silliness

Connected home technology is on the way and ready to set up base camp in your house. 

August Smart Lock

The last year has already seen the emergence of home automation tech like the August Smart Lock and Nest Protect smoke-alarm-cum-personal-guardian; the stumbling block has been the lack of a unified connectivity standard to get the disparate technologies talking to each other. As with wearable technology, Bluetooth 4.1 could just change all that, adding the ability to "daisy chain" devices together and communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. 

Meanwhile, Apple's iBeacons (and other similar Bluetooth LE transponder technologies) will serve up location-based information direct to your screen and enable more precise location tracking of your smartphone and other devices, within buildings. Which means that you'll be able to create a truly smart home; one where your smart lock opens as you approach the door and the lights in each room switch on and off as you move around the house; one that knows how far away from home you are, so that it can get the boiler started and the underfloor heating powered up before you get home.

It's the Internet of Things we've always been promised. 

More after the break...

7. Cars will become smartphone accessories

CEA analysts have predicted that factory-installed vehicle technologies will increase by nearly 20% in 2014, to an estimated US$11 billion – so in-car tech is already big business, and it's set to get bigger.

Many manufacturers already offer infotainment systems that either have their own apps and connectivity or borrow it from a paired smartphone, such as Ford SYNC. But CES 2014 will feature a record nine automotive firms exhibiting their latest creations; Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes and Toyota will all be out in force, and all will be touting their own solutions for getting the smartness we're used to having in our pockets on to our dashboards.

The other big automotive news for 2014 is the emergence of self-driving cars. Last year's CES saw showcases from Audi and Toyota; Google is pioneering the technology, which promises to reduce accidents, cut traffic jams and conserve fuel. Although self-driving cars aren't going to hit the road in 2014, advanced driver-assist technology has already appeared in the Mercedes S-Class, with GM and Volvo set to follow suit. Volvo is even planning to trial a fleet of 100 self-driving cars in Sweden by 2017. 

So, it won't be all that long before you can have your coffee and croissant as you drive witha far lower risk of getting a dangerously hot, wet and crumb-strewn lap.

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