Ah, the Holiday Season. In the U.S., we’ve just finished one holiday and are about to have a few more, but even more importantly, are at the tail end of 2012. This time of the year always brings out predictions for what we can expect in the coming year but there are reasons why 2013 will be an exceptional year. Here are our thoughts on why:
Domination of the smartphone
1. We’ve experienced the rise of the smartphone, led at first by the iPhone and now co-led by Android and iOS devices. These two will continue to dominate 2013 and we’re going to see a falling off of other models. But where it gets really interesting is in how smartphones will continue to become our portal to the connected world.
Think of it this way…a single device, running a single operating system, can play host to a world of applications that use a growing world of attachments, each one disrupting entire industries. Square disrupted the cash register. Alivecor is a personal ECG that allows doctors to record, display, store, transfer and evaluate electrocardiograms. This will accelerate.
These aren’t newfangled ideas looking for practical applications (a common problem of new tech). They are disrupters from the moment they arrive on the market and that’s the biggest expectation of 2013.
Internet of Things
2. The report put out by GE on the Industrial Internet was so disruptive that it had executives scrambling to change their keynote speeches at the last minute. We’ve talked about the Internet of Things as something upcoming, but GE’s report made it tangible and put industrial muscle and budget behind the idea.
2013 will see an acceleration toward the 50 billion connected machines that are being predicted in the next seven years. Cisco, who has an enormous stake in the outcome of this prediction, published a great infographic that gives examples like Swedish cows that transmit 200 mb of data per year. Machines and sensors will outnumber humans on the Internet by the end of 2013.
3. Carrying devices that need to be charged, upgraded, swiped and clicked is a legacy of another era and will begin to change significantly in 2013. Facial recognition software, proximity devices and other technologies make it extremely easy for many things we do now to be automatic and not require pulling devices out of the pocket. The coming year will see experimentation with shopping with a phone in your pocket and simply acknowledging on a system that can validate who you are by your appearance or fingerprint.
Upgrades are going to stop being a painful exercise and will happen in the background while other work is done.
Hurricane Sandy taught us that we’re in an increasingly fragile world unless we have ways to stay powered and connected. A hurricane doesn’t need to kick us off the information superhighway or let our batteries drain and there will be new technology to create resilience (thus simplicity) in the coming year. Expect more cloud and more ways to deliver and store power.
Disneyland every day
4. The way we’re embraced by a company trying to woo us to their products and services is about to take a big step higher in 2013. Think of the money spent on typical services like air travel, hotels, and shopping. We’ve plumbed the depths of loyalty programs in some awful ways but now are ready to make every customer experience a little like personalization Disneyland, where the smallest details are customized to the desires of the customer.
In the past, it was about limitations on speed and information, but Big Data technologies and ubiquitous wifi and cell data have changed this game. As more sellers face competition based on loyalty programs and customer experience, more will be invested in making this a differentiator.
2013 will be an enormous year for change.