Cloud computing services:
This should come as no real revelation. Cloud computing and everything cloud-related will explode from here on out. I'm also going to make the assumption that my readership already knows about cloud computing. If not, go here and get your learning on.
However I think it’s important to note not simply what cloud computing represents, but what it eliminates. It removes the need for storage in the physical, conventional sense. Ergo services like Carbonite (arguably one the best early-adopting cloud services) will flourish and hard drives, flash drives and countless firmware companies will take a photon torpedo direct to the face and die.
Lastly on cloud computing, watch telecom explode because of the need to improve data speeds for all the virtual data flying back and forth between end users and data centers. IT of today will be the stewards of the virtual world tomorrow.
Everything in "Real Time:”
Remember that selfish little bitch Veruca Salt in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?”
“I want it NOW, Daddy!”
In our own little nerdy way, we’re all Veruca Salt (you should see me in a little, red dress). Because we want – no, we need – things to happen “now” in order to facilitate effective business practices.
I firmly believe that the expectation over the next three years will be that of "real-time" content. There is an existing baseline that we already accept as the norm, including things such as SMS, Tweets and e-mail. But look for other things that are more entrenched in your business practices. We will experience real-time analytics for decision-making and collaborative messaging. Thoughts won't wait to be e-mailed. They will flow into instant incubation think-tanks for immediate ideation. We will have a need to disseminate information quickly and simplify it for the most critical requirements.
Integrated digital marketers such as me will need to think in real time for campaigns. We must think about the way technology can fit into people’s lives and add value, but still attach to a brand. The directive is to create location-based applications, deals, proximity marketing and anything to lift your brand, product or service further up the "consideration set.”
This is not to say that marketers will back off on social media initiatives. In fact, I predict that the next five years will see social "agents" become commonplace for large brands. These agents will react in real time to not simply engagement, but also to customer service, communities and related niche involvement such as meetings and groups and industry awareness. All as a way to increase brand lift.
Voice / Face Recognition Software:
With the iPhone4s, Apple introduced the first mainstream voice recognition "system" with Siri. Therefore, much like all things Apple, 2012 will be the year of knockoff voice and facial recognition software. For the time being, I think quite highly of Nuance.com. The Dragon software and iPhone apps provide a great bridge if you don’t have an iPhone4s at this time.
And with emerging in-car voice technology like speech-to-text and speech-to-Facebook, integration with On-Star and similar services will not be far behind.
Some also proselytize that Siri and its counterparts, while mainly in mobile currently, will be the backbone for device communication with interactive televisions and increased shortcut commands in future operating systems. Personally, I think there’s something tragically ironic with speech-recognition-to-text when one can simply dial the person directly and actually “speak” to them. But I digress.
I think the joy of passing notes in class has simply evolved, how long it will stay in vogue I cannot say. Frankly, I thought texting would have been passe by now, but it has stood its ground for while. That being said, I think it's still notable for business to build SMS lists, just as you would e-mail and snail-mail contact as well.
Mobile commerce explodes:
"Hey, Justice, we saw this on last year’s predictions!"
Yeah … well, Rome wasn't made in a day, bitch. And some technologies just take time to ferment like cheese or something that gets better and older.
BTW: Watch as mobile payment solutions become the standard for freelance and consulting services. On-the-go payments will not feel strange, but will increase in expectation as a cost of entry for services that used to be unprotected with check and invoice payments.
Near Field Communications (NFC) gains ground (payments and controls):
Yes, yes, more intel from last year’s communication that I assumed would have flourished this year. But with Apple’s lack of gravitas toward this subject, it appears we'll need to wait a tad longer. The reason I'm confident there will be mass adoption is that we're the last to adapt to it as a standard, and I feel we will do so out of obligation.
Immediately affected industries will include:
- Electronic ticketing
- Electronic business card exchange
- Products and services paid in a flash
- Easy pick-up of conference literature, exhibit brochures, course notes and other digital documents. For meeting planners, trade shows and related practices, the days of booths filled with tchotchkes are just about over. Roaming representatives armed with tablets will take their place and serve lucrative data designed to increase consideration around their particular product or services.
Tablet expansion into laptop takeover:
"Pro-level" (larger-sized) tablets are coming. Yes, tablets will get bigger, better, faster and possibly offer an array of pro-level applications and features. We’re exiting the phase where the general population considered tablets to be simply oversized hand-held gaming devices and eBook readers. The market is starting to understand that tablets will soon be the norm in business.
Marketers have even begun to leverage this attitude shift by making people feel obsolete if they don’t use a computer (more than likely a tablet) as their go-to resource. Pity the poor schmuck who shows up at a meeting with nothing more than a smart phone. But I bet he has an awesome collection of VHS movies at home!
With iPad set to hit 20 million in 2012, there's nothing stopping businesses from adopting the tablet as a convenient and cost-effective tool for business computing.
UI Becomes Part of your Brand Fabric:
There are a couple of things at play here when it comes to user interface (UI) and your user-experience (UX). There was a time when these were simply subjective off-shouts of design revisions within a given iteration of your online presence.
Long before that time, there was brand-standards documentation to codify the importance of your brand cohesion and consistency. Rigid SOP documentation showed you how to use your logos, imagery, content and "brand voice" when writing for your company. The new chapter of that document should include your UI and UX, wire-framing, and in some instances the information architecture.
Icons, colors, definitions (in the more distant future, UIs with windows, icons, menus, and pointers will be replaced by mobile-centric interfaces emphasizing touch, gesture, search, and voice commands), SEO conventions and many other factors might find their way into your brand structure.
Responsive design to your online properties:
Responsive Web design means creating and coding your site in such a way that it will visually and physically scale in layout, design and content based upon the screen size. Therefore "code once; use many." It will work on a Web browser, tablet or mobile phone. And unless your clients, boss or associated vendors want to pay a digital form three times (God bless America) to serve up the same content, this will soon be the MANDATED baseline.
Flash is dead – HTML5's rise to power:
Despite all the smack we heard from Apple haters over the years, many of us on the other side of the fence never saw this as a concern. But there's no way around the fact that a TON of the Internet is mired in what will be considered a dated legacy application. I won't bore you with my full dissertation on the topic. But it’s safe to say that Adobe and many of its competitors will rapidly deploy applications that allow users of all skill levels to work with and exploit the HTML5 platform.
Well like it or not I think I've got one more pontificated download of goodness before the years end. So stay tuned and give me your feedback on what you've read to date! All my best!