Predictions For 2013.

2012 has come to a close, a year full of hot new trends, buzz words and innovative disruption and the avoidance of the end of the world. Big Data was amongst hot topics throughout the year, although traction was only seen in predictive technology and social analytics. HTML5 saw its first year of serious penetration fuelled by the enhanced visual experience demands of Tablets and High Resolution Displays. Social Media's poster child made the move into mainstream capital as Facebook IPO'd after a USD 1 Billion acquisition of Instagram. Square pushed into Starbucks and a USD 4 Billion dollar valuation. Overall the cycles for disruption are shortening. Oh, Let's not forget Apple's ongoing lawsuits, and recent separation anxiety from Google Maps on iOS.

2013 is positioned to be a stellar year in the world of innovation and technology as innovators look to leverage more legacy disruption opportunities, mobile empowered connected lives, and digitised lifestyles services. So I give you my 5 predictions for 2013:

1. The Rise of Google

Google is hardly a small player in the world of technology, but some of you may have noticed their services are getting more integrated. YouTube edges closer to Play Video, Google+ deepens its native integration with Authorship, Gmail and Google Profile, Android Devices are out selling other Mobile Operating Systems' at accelerating rates, and enhancements to Maps, Search and Drive put Google frequently into our daily lives.

Google+ was criticised for its weak value proposition when it launched in mid 2011. But its' role amongst other google services has quietly risen at Facebook growth rates. Add this to Google Now's growth in recent Android releases, and Google is primed to fuse your Gmail, search and assistant in your pocket. Creating highly intelligent, context aware experiences. It's a tough act to follow. If only they could get the recipe right for Google Wallet. And then there is Ingress, a ground-breaking fusion of locality and gaming across physical and virtual worlds. A constant stream of reviews have rated this as the best augmented reality game ever. Expect Google to play a more significant role in daily life in 2013.

2. Serendipity

Big Data has been at the core of most buzz words and innovations for 2012, but the intentions of Big Data are yet to be truly felt in our daily lives. Concepts like drive train theory, contextually aware and predictive analytics each have compelling visions. But when fused together they have potential to unleash something immensely powerful, Serendipity. Creating moments or experiences that amaze, because they are insightful and unexpected. Examples exist already, Highlight & Ban.jo are already creating passive awareness recommendations in the physical world. It's only a matter of time before we se other context aware insights like deals, offers and experiences that are so insightful they will amaze us. Look for a series of serendipitous mobile apps in 2013.

3. Mobility Utility

We have become a mobile generation. The vast majority of people struggle without their mobile phone. They are everywhere. But we are only just discovering the power of mobile devices, including smart phones, tablets, and sensors. Today's mobile devices are immensely powerful and connected at bandwidth's that we could only dream of 5 years ago. Imbedding with sensors like GPS, Giro, Thermo, Video, Audio, and more, they have the potential to power insightful experiences in all contexts. The technology in today's mobile devices, when leveraged to their potential have amazing possibilities, bordering on the creation of a new sense. The power of this lies in unleashing the power of an intelligent utility, one that knows you intimately. The device can create experiences  give insight and feedback that even those closest to would struggle to deliver on. In 2013, expect your relationship with your mobile device to get more intimate, as it becomes your intelligent key to the world.

4. Physical Is Dead

History suggests that anything that can be digitized, will be. Books, Music, Movies, News are all examples of products or services that were previously dependant on the distribution something physical. Victims of naivety include Borders, Blockbuster, Britannica and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Legacy distribution models dependant on physical products or physicality which protected incumbents with scale, are now regularly revolutionised by the digital generation.

Several other industries still have elements of physicality that are now prone to digitization. Take banking for example, which is heavily dependant on physical branches, and the physical issuance of products like checks and cards. While banks remain bound to these, we will see more innovators like Square, Simple, or Dwolla that complete revolutionise the industry. Other industries are also open to digital innovators:

  • Malls are just condensed physical places for browsing products
  • Keys are just instruments to open locks
  • Passports & Drivers Licenses are just a trusted form of identity
  • Credit/Debit Cards & Merchant POS devices are just a means to pair two parties that want to transact
  • Books are just words, stories or pictures
  • Tickets are just proof you've paid for a service or experience

Expect in 2013 dozens more traditional industries to come under the pressures of digital disintermediation.

5. The Personal Cloud

In a world with broadband connectivity available on the move, the role for local storage drastically reduces. Dropbox, Google Drive and Webmail have all made their ways into our lives, but were always dependant on the leverage of physical connectivity points. With fast connections on mobile devices, the doors a wide open for more powerful cloud based services, where huge computational power are available on-demand. Whether is contacts & social network management, documents, media or photos, the possibilities are endless. The most complex Monte Carlo simulations can be called directly from your mobile device. Gone will be the need for large hard disk, or super fast CPU. As they are replaced by resources on demand. Expect more of your daily life to move into the cloud in 2013.

In summary, its' an exiting year ahead. I encourage you to embrace, explore and experiment with innovations. Don't be afraid, technology is no longer just for geeks. Technology is a part of life.

Happy New Year.

© Scott Bales 2014. All Rights Reserved.