According to a report from the Ericsson ConsumerLab global research programme on anticipated trends for 2014, mobile apps will continue to transform society, the human body will be used more and more in place of passwords, and sensors will be increasingly present in our everyday lives.
Ericsson ConsumerLab identified ten major trends that it expects to characterise the communications technology market in 2014 and subsequent years.
Better living through apps
The report points out that we can expect apps to transform society in profound ways over the coming year.
According to Michael Björn, Head of Research at ConsumerLab, "the most important trend we see is the mass demand for apps and services across all industries and societal sectors - which has the potential to fundamentally change everyday life".
The rapid adoption of smartphones around the globe has transformed the way we communicate and access the internet. Going forward, the apps will be more important than the phone itself.
The report highlights a growing interest in mobile apps that allow users to quantify their personal health, often through sensors detecting blood pressure, heart rate or steps per day, for example.
The report stated that "40 per cent of smartphone users want their phone to log all of their physical activities and 56 per cent would like to monitor their blood pressure and pulse using a ring".
In addition to sensors on their bodies, consumers expect to see sensors in other places in the near future, making their surroundings as interactive and connected as their phones.
Ericsson ConsumerLab reports that 60 per cent of smartphone owners surveyed predict that "sensors will be used in everything from healthcare and public transport, to cars, homes and our places of work" by the end of 2016.
From next year, the human body is expected to replace passwords on a growing number of gadgets. Ericsson indicates that "52 per cent of smartphone users want to use their fingerprints instead of passwords and 48 per cent are interested in using eye-recognition to unlock their screen".
A strong majority of those surveyed (74 per cent) estimated that biometric smartphones would become mainstream devices during 2014.