Digital TechnologyThe digital landscape for the coming year is going to be even more complex.

The rise of social media means public opinion matters more than ever and we are already seeing how new technology trends affect some of our daily interactions.

But behind the scenes, technology continues to improve. Here are some digital trends to watch out for.

Websites Vanish

In these days when the proliferation of smart devices has forced websites to reformat as mobile-responsive, that may be only a stop-gap measure. Companies are asking themselves whether a mobile app might get their message across better. Why bother trying to drive traffic to a site when you can reach out to thousands of users? Throw in geolocation and POS apps – better smart phone technology makes them easily the more powerful marketing platform.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing may be a little slower than local resources, but managed information in a virtual-server distributed environment is more reliable, while freeing up users from having to maintain and upgrade their own systems for every new program. Part of the resistance is that many people just don’t see the cloud as safe or reliable. But these concerns has seen a growth in a field known as information assurance, now offered by major schools. Someone with an information assurance masters is trained in the storage, processing, and transmission of data, and liable to be in high demand as the internet and Wi-Fi technology take over society.

Virtual Reality Arrives

With Samsung and Google releasing virtual reality glasses and finding a sustainable market, other companies and products will follow. Imagine sitting in the dentist’s waiting room but seeing the Palace of Versailles instead. VR is more than just entertainment. Computer-simulated models combined with technologies like ultrasound and laser-scanning can create virtual environments with amazing accuracy. Doctors and engineers can find themselves wandering through simulations of a diseased kidney or a faulty circuit board.

Event-Driven Media

Reality shows have been stealing bigger segments of prime time programming. The evening news seems determined to sensationalize and milk major headlines. Reality and news shows try to engage audiences through social media. At what point does all this merge? Staged reality is already news, and the line between the two is likely to become blurred as streaming media reaches out to your smartphone.

The only way to not be swept up in the rising tide of new gadgets and new apps is to just power off and walk away, but as the rest of the world connects, that begins to feel awfully lonely. These are just some of the biggest moves in technology you can’t avoid.