Five consumer technology trends for 2014

Americans like technology. Although it makes our lives better, technology keeps moving so fast that we hardly have time to stop and reflect on where it's taking us. Here’s what you need to know to stay on top of the consumer technology trends in the coming year.

1. Simplicity will rule

Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor/File
Technician Jimmie Profeta Jr. services Internet servers at Switch and Data PAIX in Palo Alto, Calif. The Web is generating so much data that users will need ways to simplify how users streamline access data.

If you feel overloaded with data, there's a reason. The digital universe is doubling roughly every two years.  There are more than 600 million websites. Apple's App Store alone contains more than 1 million apps. By 2020, every person on earth will have to carry more than 5,200 gigabytes of data to equal the world's information, according to International Data Corp. (In 1986, with that carrying capacity, the residents of Cleveland could have held the world's data.)

At this pace, consumers can’t hope to keep up using today's strategies. As a consequence, we’ll observe the rise of simplicity, with an increasing number of services offering a more comprehensive, simplified, and integrated experience.

Clearly, Google and Apple value simplicity – and so do the current fastest-growing technology startups. Services such as Uber streamline the tasks to book car rides. Dropbox re-imagines how people access and share files; Square reinvents the payment process; and Theneeds transforms how users discover the Web based on personal interests.

Expect more such convenience services. In all cases, they will be simple – a couple of clicks and users get what they want, when they want it, with little effort.

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