2014’s Technology Trends

What's on the cutting edge of decoration and Internet technology, and how it can help you sell

Technology. As Homer Simpson would say, “The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”

It can be strange to think about how much our work lives hinge on technology. A crashed computer, a lost smartphone, a hacked website—all can derail your business for days, if not longer. These are problems that no one ever had to worry about 50, or even 20, years ago, but it’s equally true that businesses 20 years ago didn’t have the technological opportunities we have today.

Augmented reality, e-commerce, digital printing—there is plenty of new technology for 2014 that can take your business to the next level.


Augmented reality (AR) is the slightly clumsy name for materials that have been digitally augmented to display interactive material when scanned by the camera of a smartphone or tablet. The interactive material will appear on the device’s screen, giving users an interactive experience complete with new features such as video, slideshows or web links. The “materials” augmented can be anything from logos to magazine pages to outdoor landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge.

To see these features, users must first download the app used to create the AR enhancements and follow instructions. To view this month’s augmented cover of Print+Promo, for instance, just download and use the Layar app, a popular AR application used for magazines (see page 3 for instructions).

AR is essentially photo-recognition technology tied to an interactive web interface. Those who wish to create AR pieces will usually do so through the app’s desktop website. There they can upload photographs or PDFs of material they wish to augment, then assign the features they would like to appear on the user’s screen, as well as view usage and download statistics.

Statistics and Trends

• CNBC cited a recent Juniper Research report that projected AR apps will earn more than $300 million in 2013, and that by 2017, the apps will be downloaded at a rate of 2.5 billion per year.

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