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Three Terrifying Technologies That Nobody is Talking About

What’s the so-called “Holy Grail” for a technology company?

It boils down to three key ingredients…

First, create an in-demand, breakthrough product or service.

Second, make sure it’s so good that it scares the hell out of the competition.

Then capture the mass market before anyone else. (They don’t call it a “first-mover advantage” for nothing!)

Simple, right?

It’s a formula that has minted billions for today’s top tech companies.

For example, when Google (GOOG) captured online search… when Apple (AAPL) captured the smartphone market… and when Amazon (AMZN) captured online retail.

So at the risk of sounding cliché, what’s the “next big thing” in technology?

Well, industry giants are currently hammering away on terrifying new technologies that they hope will be the next big game changers.

We’ve talked about some of the major ones – like Big Data and wearable technology.

But today, I’m going to examine three emerging technologies coming in 2014 that nobody else is talking about…

~Terrifying Tech #1: Small-Cell Technology

Talk about scary, but lucrative…

Keep an eye on small-cell technology in 2014. It’s going to be huge.

As more data flies across mobile networks, the existing infrastructure is buckling under the increased demand.

Small-cells solve two major problems that result from this…

  1. They enhance your signal strength in areas where reception is spotty.
  2. They enhance your signal strength in busy places (like stadiums), where thousands of people are all connected to the same server, which weakens the signal strength.

Why is this technology so damned scary?

Well, simply put, these wireless receivers work like regular cellphone towers – except they’re much smaller. So small, in fact, you can place them in office buildings or apartment blocks.

Once set up, they amplify and enhance your existing cellphone signal. So good luck trying to use the old “I must have been in a bad cell” excuse ever again.

The technology is still only just emerging, but companies like Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) already have working prototypes.

With today’s ever-increasing strain on mobile network capacity, small-cells enhance the infrastructure and help keep us connected.

~Terrifying Tech #2: Supercomputers and Do-It-Yourself Open Sourcing

Remember IBM’s (IBM) supercomputers, Deep Blue and Watson?

Deep Blue gained worldwide notoriety for the company when it defeated world chess champion, Garry Kasparov in a widely publicized human versus computer match.

Scary, wasn’t it?

Then Watson hit the small screen, knocking off two all-time champions (including Ken Jennings) in the game show, “Jeopardy.”

The latter was a far more difficult task, since it required greater interaction and a much broader knowledge base. But it served to underline the massive strides being made in artificial intelligence. Or what the company calls “cognitive computing.”

In short, machines that think like humans – but with infinitely more capacity.

Well, with such success, it’s no surprise that Watson is still around today.

However, he’s being deployed in much more serious work – the fight against cancer.

And this is where it gets really scary. Scary good, that is!

IBM is inviting outside developers to work with Watson. For example…

  • It’s already partnered with MD Buyline to help streamline purchasing at hospitals…
  • It’s collaborating with Welltok to provide healthcare advice to consumers…
  • It’s working with Fluid to help make retail recommendations.

IBM will also expand the program by offering development tools to anyone who wants to work with its platform.

That will only extend its reach further, as anybody with a viable idea will be able to tap into Watson’s power and solve problems through supercomputer innovation.

~Terrifying Tech #3: Advanced Detection

The industrialization of food production has led to faster, more streamlined, efficient processes and greater yields. It’s also opened the door to careers outside of traditional farming.

However, it’s also encouraged some food companies and restaurants to cut corners by using low-cost ingredients that taste and look good, but are typically unhealthy and unnatural.

This has potentially disastrous implications for people with food allergies, or diet-related diseases, like celiac and diabetes. For them, eating foods with unknown ingredients carries a very high risk.

Even worse… Many diseases like these are rising in both the United States and other developed countries.

Scary, right?

Well, fortunately, we no longer live in the Stone Age! And guess what? Technology is here to help…

Toronto company TellSpec has developed a hand-held spectrometer that detects exactly what’s in your food and displays it on your smartphone.

The device is a breakthrough. Until recently, spectrometers were large and expensive. But now, they’re available as tiny, affordable chips.

TellSpec is testing its software using off-the-shelf spectrometers. And it recently completed an Indiegogo campaign to contract production of its prototyped device that features a laser beam and batteries that can recharge through a USB port.

So how does it work with food?

Using the spectrometer’s laser beam, some of the photons from the beam are absorbed, which raises the state of energy of the molecules in the food and replaces them with lower energy photons.

TellSpec then sorts these photons by wavelength and counts them. The resulting numbers, called a “spectrum,” describe the chemical compounds in the food.

TellSpec’s algorithm takes the spectrum data and beams the information back to the user via the smartphone app. This information includes details about common allergens, trans fats, sugars, mercury and other toxic contaminants. It also provides sodium and calorie counts, which expands TellSpec’s appeal to a broader audience.

Is it accurate? You bet.

The scanner correctly identifies foods and ingredients 97.7% of the time – providing vital information for people with dietary diseases or allergies.

These three emerging technologies aren’t ones that you hear a great deal about in the media. But that doesn’t mean they’re not important – far from it. They’re all helping to solve pressing, real-world problems – and we’ll keep you posted on their progress in 2014.

Your eyes in the Pipeline,

Marty Biancuzzo

Marty Biancuzzo

, Technology Analyst

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