Businesses are constantly looking for any possible advantage over their competition and over the last several years, many of those opportunities have come directly from emerging technology. That’s why we’ve decided to take a close look at research labs across the globe to see where the next great innovations will come from and how they will affect our everyday business transactions.

Below, we have listed the top five tech inventions that will become available on the open market over the next year. Each of them will empower today’s business professional in a unique way so hopefully you enjoy this special sneak preview-

Google Glass

google glassOne of the most anticipated innovations of the 21st century definitely has to be Google Glass, even though many of us have very little understanding of the ultimate goal of these strange-looking wearable devices. Part computer, part smartphone/GPS/hi-definition camera, these digital glasses have already been widely accepted by the general public even though only a few thousand evaluation models have been made available worldwide. Part of the anticipation behind this product is not what it can do today, but what its overall potential will be over the next several years.

While the initial launch of Google Glass may be met some disappointment, similar devices will eventually replace the smartphone and many of the battery-powered devices that we covet in today’s society. There are a tremendous amount of developers on the Glass bandwagon as well so expect many of the biggest tech innovations in 2014 and beyond to revolve around this product.

Leap Motionleap motion'

A similar product that’s revolutionizing how we communicate with our digital devices isLeap Motion, and it allows users to control their digital screens without the aid of a mouse or a keyboard. Instead, an intelligent sensor captures your every move and grants you virtual hands inside your desktop for endless possibilities. The best news is that Leap Motion is already available for immediate purchase and with a $79.99 retail price; it is definitely affordable enough to see what all the fuss has been about.

While you may have come across demonstrations of this cool tech toy at one of this year’s tech conferences, we assure you that Leap Motion is about a lot more than playing video games like Fruit Ninja. Be prepared to see this name more and more in the future because its ease of use will make it a must-have device in the coming years.

Eye Tribe

eye tribeThen again, why use your fingers to control digital devices when Eye Tribe allows the same luxuries with your eyes? This game-changing media device that originated at the IT University of Copenhagen tracks retina movement through a sensor illumination system that can detect even the smallest of eye movements. The technology uses this information to let the user scan web pages, move the cursor or dozens of other applications. Already a developer favorite, the Eye Tribe definitely is here to stay since it’s the perfect complement to the next generation of smart devices.

Even though Eye Tribe is currently available for pre-order for developers, most tech fanatics will likely want to hold off until more applications are built to work with this device. In the coming years though, this technology will be integrated within smartphones, cameras, laptops and more to make digital devices much more interactive.

SmartThingssmart things

While SmartThings wasn’t necessarily designed with businesses in mind, its wide range of applications makes it a must-have for any busy professional. Why? Imagine taking everyday items around your office and connecting them with the Internet so that they can be controlled from anywhere. We’re not just talking computers and printers either; because this innovative company has created expansion modules that will allow users to program everything from light switches to coffee pots to automobiles.

Once customers purchase the SmartThings sensor to work with their office devices, millions of different applications can be created and controlled via smartphone from a handy app. The potential for this product is near limitless and if the tech community embraces it, we could be talking the innovation of the decade here.

Form 1

form 1While 3-D printers have been on the market for some time now, Form Labs is the first company to simplify the interface, automate much of the programming process, and delivering a working 3-D printer that most businesses could afford. The implications of such a device are ground-breaking in so many different ways because the average entrepreneur will be able to create working models of their creations in mere hours, compared to several months from traditional processes.

The Form 1 3-D printer will hit retail stores this December with a pre-order price of $3299.00. With the ability to make almost anything, it is certainly a business essential that we look forward to playing with.