BLTbytes 2013 Technology Trend Predictions

It is that time of year when everyone realizes how wrong they were about last year’s tech predictions and publish new predictions for the upcoming year. I can with 100% confidence, claim that last year none of my predictions were incorrect, so no egg on my face related to wild claims that never happened. I can claim this because last year, I didn’t make any predictions so how can they be wrong?

I don’t think many predictions are actually ever tangible or discrete.  Unless there are some seriously mitigating circumstances, most technology developments follow trends and come as no massive surprise when they evolve. This is why what I’ll be doing today is commenting on the trends rather than specific events, and these are my predictions:

5, Big Data will continue to overwhelm

Big Data was perhaps the most prominent buzzword of 2012. It will not go away in 2013. Volumes of data will continue to grow and growth will accelerate.  Companies are building gargantuan caches of information on customers, users and other companies… most of which has been auto-biographically generated by those customers and users themselves. This self-generated user data (web posts, social network activity, emails, etc) will continue to grow and will also be supplemented with the addition of machine generated data. Technologies such as mobile payment services and tracking will add to the mounds of data that needs to be stored, analyzed and understood. One to watch and an example of a company providing this type of machine generated data is 2Ergo. 2Ergo provides proprietary contact-less mobile technology called podifi™ which delivers coupons and vouchers, loyalty, proximity and payment solutions. Find out more at www.2Ergo.com

4, Cloud adoption will gain momentum

Cloud Computing as a concept has been around for many years now, but there has been much inertia both technically and politically. Medium term migration projects are continuing to come to fruition and organisations are now starting to complete their cost/benefits analysis of moving services to the cloud. As with the adoption of virtualization, I predict lower priority services will migrate in greater numbers to the cloud with Tier-1 mission critical services remaining on-premise until the model has been proven for those lower tiers. Who’s doing Cloud Stuff? Check out Canopy at www.canopy-cloud.com

3, VDI, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, continues to roll uphill

Like the 7-10 years before 2013, this will NOT be the year of VDI and I’m pretty sure there will never be a “year of VDI”. This however does not mean that VDI is going away, adoption is steadily progressing and the companies expending effort in this space are developing a solid base for the continual proliferation. We may see some peaks in adoption this year, but expect adoption to remain mostly gradual.

2, 3D Printing will NOT revolutionize manufacturing

The Tech press is awash with the virtue’s of 3D Printing and I must admit it’s pretty cool to be able to print a 3D object with a device you can buy for your home office for as little as £400. The reason it will not revolutionize manufacturing in 2013 is that it is currently too limited and mass production will be difficult to achieve. Material limitations are a problem at the moment, as are the constraints around producing moving/mechanical parts. Moving parts aren’t supported and you can mostly just print in low-resolution “plastic”. As with most embryonic innovations.. we need more stuff. When we can work at the atomic level and start teleporting stuff around.. then it will get really interesting.

1, Consumer device convergence will continue and surprise

10 years ago the buzz in telecoms was all about “convergence”. This was the convergence of the back-end networks to be able to provide both voice and data services on single converged networks and devices. This has happened for the most part. What I have found particularly interesting this year and hope to see more of next year is the convergence of devices used to consume content.

Let’s look at the devices we use for primary consumption of content:

  • Smartphone: Calls, Email, Games, Web Sites, Apps, Music, Movies, Books
  • Tablet: Calls, Email, Games, WebSites, Apps, Music, Movies, Books
  • Laptop: Calls, Email, Games, WebSites, Apps, Music, Movies, Books
  • PC: Calls, Email, Games, WebSites, Apps, Music, Movies, Books
  • TV: Movies, Radio
  • Games Console: Games
  • Blu-Ray/DVD Player: Movies
  • MP3 Stereo: Music

It should be pretty clear that we are mostly now using every device to consume every type of content. Where TVs and Games consoles are currently lagging behind.. the introduction of Smart TVs and additional games console features we can see manufacturers jockeying for position to fill those gaps. Did you know that you can now watch NetFlix movies through your Nintendo Wii?

In the future, I see significant movement everywhere to converge all content devices to singular vendors who provide a number of form-factors. Samsung and Apple are leading the way here. In the medium-term Blu-Ray Players, Stereos and Game Consoles will introduce more cross-content features but will gradually become obsolete. In the long term the range of devices will reduce to 3-4 form-factors which will provide all content. Once this has happened, those devices will inevitably become commoditized and the battlefield will be the platform for delivering content.. Android? Windows? iOS?.. Expect many skirmishes to happen in this space, companies to watch in this space.. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Samsung, Sony.

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