From where I see things, that is the wrong question! The proper question is, or should be: "What technologies will combine to make the next big change in the way we live and work?"
Over a decade ago, the events of 9/11 slowed down many technology development efforts around the world as resources got diverted. Just as we began to emerge from that slump, the financial crisis brought about by the collapse of the housing market pulled the rug out from under the technology evolution for the second time. Once again we are at the threshold where multiple technology initiatives are just about ready to achieve critical mass -- together.
[ What future tech excites the government? Read In-Q-Tel Bets On 3 Hot Technologies. ]
However, this time it is different. There are three areas of advancing technologies that will all reach the rapid advancement phase of evolution at the same time. The foundation has been laid for all three promising technological advancements. While each of these pieces of technological advancement can stand by itself, the picture becomes very exciting when you look at how the three complement each other and create a flywheel effect. The result, in total impact, will be far greater than the sum of the three individual areas.
Smart City Proliferation
There are many definitions of a smart city. Most definitions are formed around the notion of integrating mobility, society, growth and environment consciousness into a framework foundation of technologies that provide effectiveness and efficiencies. At this point in time, the smart city construct would fall in the "early adopters" stage in the evolutionary cycle. That being said, having monitored and researched the progression of smart cities around the world, it is very encouraging to see the maturing of the movement, as well as the regular infusion of new technology.
The fundamental objective of smart cities is to significantly enhance the effectiveness and efficiency with which the city operates and interacts. These capabilities will be driven by two supporting technologies. First is what has been termed ambient intelligence, which is the sensing and response to the presence of a specific individual or individuals. The second is the rapid evolution of wearable computing. This goes far beyond Google Glass, the current icon of this technology movement. All of this capability will be highly integrated and create systems that understand who we are as people and what we want to do.