The weekend review: tech in 2014, smart cities and more

It’s a new year, and that means one thing: forecasts for what we can look forward to over the next 12 months. Kicking things off is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, one of the biggest consumer and analyst events of the year. Our colleagues at Gigaom have already started speculating about what to expect at CES; stay tuned to Gigaom for updates and breaking news once the show kicks off on January 7. In the meantime, take a look at what our analysts are predicting for 2014 and beyond.

First, in “Tech trends for 2014,” six of our top Gigaom Research analysts and curators take a quick look back on 2013 and issue their predictions and shortlists of what trends and technologies to watch in 2014. Adam Lesser issues his predictions for cleantech, Colin Gibbs tackles mobile, Stowe Boyd issues his take on the future of work and collaboration, Jo Maitland and David Linthicum issue a joint forecast for cloud computing and data, and Paul Sweeting covers the consumer space – an especially apt cheat sheet for anyone attending CES in Vegas later this month.

Next, in “Smart cities: Opportunities for startups,” Shaun Abrahamson addresses the global urban population; with 5 billion people expected to live in urban areas within the next two decades (compared to today’s population of 3.5 million), cities are struggling with new challenges “in areas such as energy use, mobility, security, and governance.” Long the provenance of government agencies and major corporations, new developments in policy and technology have opened up the smart city sector to startups, “enabled by a growing ecosystem of consumer technologies, open data, supportive city policies, urban startup-focused programs, open procurement, and organizations involved in everything from funding to research.” Abrahamson analyzes how startups can gain a foothold and succeed in this ecosystem, including case studies from starts like Waze and Nest, and immediately actionable strategies and other opportunities and ideas.

Last, in “Why 2014 will be the year of cloud assimilation and confusion,” David Linthicum draws on his two decades of expertise in the cloud computing sector to make some assumptions and predictions for 2014. With broadband internet now a given throughout the enterprise, cloud computing is now a generally-understood term and technology. However, Linthicum notes that many companies still struggle with cloud assimilation, especially around “application migration best practices and approaches, what to do with PaaS, and security, compliance, and governance.” In his latest weekly update, Linthuicum provides his quick take on how to begin addressing the assimilation problem in the coming year.

Also popular this week:

Three emerging cloud computing trends for 2014

Network performance is the single most important characteristic of successful employees

Infrastructure-as-a-Service basics: a guide for IT pros