#Trending: a round-up of 2014’s biggest tech developments

3-D printing, wearable tech and robots doing cool things are just some of the things that have come to the fore in 2014. And there are many others. Here are Johan Chang’s top ten tech trends. 

10 – The rise of Bitcoin

From the “outing” of the cryptocurrency’s creator back in March to the numerous amounts of funds stolen by hackers, Bitcoin has seen its share of the rollercoaster ride this year. But there’s no denying the uptake of crypto-currency is certainly rising, and all these articles Idealog have run this year show it’s not just a fashion accessory in the business world, but potentially a must-have for all businesses large and small in the near future.

9 – The Internet of Things

It was one of 2014’s biggest buzz phrases and, as machines slowly take over every facet of our existence, it’s almost as an acknowledgement of the apocalyptic sci-fi films seen in the past. Yet the rise of machines also shows promise for a future where we live more like the Jetsons and less like Terminator. As the cost of technology comes down and more things become hooked up, we see a more positive, efficient future.

8 – Precious metal: the robots that save

In continuing the theme of positives, this year has also seen the development of robots specifically designed for helping people. They’re not quite at the bleeding edge of robotics pioneered by the likes of Boston Dynamics (or the dancing robots seen at CeBit), but they do help out with agriculturesearch and rescue, and to entertain sick children

7 – Augmenting our reality with the virtual

Augmented and virtual reality. We’ve all seen it before, in myriad ways, on films and in books; from the Matrix to Tron, our fascination with virtual and augmented realities have been around as long as technology hinted at its possibilities. It’s the promise of not only the likes of the Oculus headset’s potential, or the gloves similar to Minority Report, but also the amount of advertising possibility that business can look forward to that keep us at the edge of our seats. Oh, and Augview’s giant moa.

6 – Uber. Enough said.

They’re the de facto black sheep this year, having landed in Auckland in March last year to critical acclaim. But the company’s been through a bumpy patch of turbulence with lawsuits and taxi strikes around the world, and bad press over its company culture – none of which has stopped media writing (or talking) about them. It seems like they’ve become the darlings the media loves to hate.

5 – The games that define us Kiwis

It’s been an especially good couple of years for the New Zealand game developers association, with the launch of the first ever KiwiGameStarter and its winner Phantasmal, but it’s not just the numbers that are adding up for our keyboard warriors. Sports games, targeting little kids, harkening the old school days of arcade gaming, and even helping out with physio rehab, the industry has been dishing out some serious fun in a variety of ways. There’s even “Tinder for gamers”. Yeesh.

4 – Cyber security, or lack of it

From hacking CEOs staying in hotels to the attack on Sony, it’s been a scary year for everyone that lives on the internet. And that includes many here in New Zealand. Spyware, malware, hackers and deep web rats – we’re living in a very vulnerable era, and with the way things are going, 2015’s not looking pretty either. It might be time to contact your closest IT guy to make sure your system’s beefed up enough to handle whatever-is-coming in the New Year. Remember Y2K? Pfft, yea.

3 – To do the Cloud or not to do, that is the question

Okay, that’s really less of yes or no, and more a matter of when and how. 2014’s seen cloud technology boom in every part of business. Xero has come out calling for everyone to get on it, health and safety has an app for it, and our own startups have created whirlwind products for it. But as people keep drumming up the cloud, businesses might not know how to proceed. The solution? Here’s an infographic, and we’ve also got a guide, but ultimately it’s up to you to tackle it head on.

2 – Are you wearing technology or is technology wearing you?

Forget the famed Google Glass, Kiwi developers have got a dress telling your emotions, a schizophrenic awareness scarf, and even a lifestyle GoPro for the average Joe. Wearable tech has been attracting geeks and nerds from all parts of the world, and we’ve even got our own version of the Wearable Technologies picnic. But while the offerings—even for canines—have been stealing headlines this year, not that many people have actually embraced the whole concept. Maybe the Apple Watch will change that. 

1 – The world of printable 3D Art. And chocolate.

So did you know the history of 3D printing goes back to 1986? This year Kiwi 3D-printing innovators have managed to showcase an entry for the World of Wearable Art, a Tweety skull (yes, the cartoon bird), and around the world people have created model foetuses3D model-generator apps and prosthetic limbs. People call it a pillar of the “third industrial revolution”, but more importantly, for us, the ability to 3D print chocolate opens up a whole new world of possibilities. 

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