Five Tech Trends Showing Real Staying Power
Technology moves at blurring speeds and leaves many entrepreneurs and small business owners with a deer in the headlights glaze. Only two of the ten things you're working on really matter. The 80:20 rule says they will deliver 80% of your results. That's one of the reasons why I love spotting trends.
It's looking into the future and grabbing the nuggets. As a long term marketer I've been able to see a lot of fads come and go. But the magical trends always prove they have staying power. You can still jump on them early enough to beat the majority. And you avoid some of the risk the early adopters love.
With that said here are some trend jewels in the world of technology. They have showed staying power and reveal no sign of slowing down. But don't sleep because they have the potential to turn lumps of coal into genuine diamonds.
1. Cloud Storage and Cloud Based Apps
Cloud storage is on the rise with sources like Google Drive, Apple Cloud, Dropbox, Carbonite, Amazon and a bunch of new players ready to host your data in the sky. Monthly fees range from free to thousands of dollars depending on your space requirements. With the increased adoption of these services by users, don't expect to see this business model going away. In addition the move to cloud apps will continue to gain steam and generate controversy. These apps function in the cloud with some of the characteristics of a pure desktop app and some of a pure web app. Historically apps resided on a single users PC or other local device. Web apps are stored on remote servers and require an internet connection.
2. Smart Cars, Homes, Machines
When a machine gets "smart" it is typically able to do without immediate human control, what it could previously only do while under human control. And now the machine does it even better. Smart machines impact jobs, standards of living, education, health and even war (remember "smart bombs"). Big ticket items like homes, cars and appliances will increasingly become smart. Home entry will be controlled by retina scanners. Meals will be planned with options displayed on the touch-screen kitchen table tops. And smart cars will offer hands-free driving as they move autonomously through the city. As for jobs, some will be lost while others will be created. Even a smart machine needs design and maintenance.
While individuals, entrepreneurs and companies are embracing new technologies and systems, they also need to secure those systems. Cyber attacks are becoming more prevalent, and today it takes more than a firewall and malware protection software to prevent information breaches. No longer is hacking into a system the quick and dirty act it once was. The challenge companies’ face is advanced persistent threats. Hackers will infiltrate a system simply through a phishing email or through a USB drive. Once in, these viruses can stay in the system undetected and steal data for an extended period of time.
4. 3D Printing
3D printing technology enables you to produce three-dimensional solid objects out of any shape from a digital model, almost like a Star Trek replicator. 3D printing has been around since the mid 1980's but you're hearing much more about it now because like all technology hardware the price drops over time and as it does, demand and popularity increase. Today low-cost 3D printers are about as much as a high-end washing machine ($1,375 for the Makerbot Replicator Mini). CES 2014 (Consumer Electronic Show) was the first year of the huge tradeshow to feature an area dedicated entirely to 3D printing. They're much further along now. Look for it to increasingly make its way into our daily lives.
5. Wearables - Wear Your Own Device (WYOD)
Get ready for wearable tech devices including eyewear like smart watches, health-monitoring devices and even smart contact lenses becoming part of a consumers daily apparel. The U.S. based Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) said recently that it expects industry sales to grow by 2.7% in 2016, with revenues reaching an all-time high of $228.8 billion. The acronym WYOD (Wear Your Own Device) is already making its way into the vernacular. Many scoffed in previous years when they thought of a camera being part of a telephone. So although there are doubters as to how many people want to wear a computer as eyewear, don't look too surprised when someone is staring at you with a camera mounted on their face.
BONUS! I just added five additional trends! They are emerging, powerful and explosive! Just share this content using a button below to uncover these added FIVE trends that will shape the world around you![wpsharely]
Gamification involves introducing and integrating game dynamics into your site, service, community, content or campaign, in order to drive participation. Tapping into social, mobile and gaming trends could help businesses activate their audience to action by providing incentives for more frequent and extended use. Social gaming components can help bridge the gap between brands’ needs and those of their consumers while increasing engagement and fun.
GeoTargeting determines the geographic location data of a website user based on the GPS location, IP address, country, zip code, organization or other criteria and delivers different content to that visitor based on their location. It's a new way to target users with digital or mobile advertising. Marketers can send a compelling offer to users who are near to, or who have visited, a competitor’s location. This valuable advertising tactic increases local market share, foot traffic and conversions. Location based advertising is especially effective for sales events, in-store events and grand openings.
8. Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality (AR) is basically superimposing computer-generated input over a real-life situation. Think of those yellow first-down lines projected during a televised football game. Now imagine being at the game live, and seeing those same type of projections, as advertisements, videos or GPS data. You may not be aware of Augmented Reality, but it's happening all around you. The Augmented World Expo (AWE) recently held it's 5th annual conference. More than 2,000 attendees joined the event which is focused on making the world more interactive.
9. Online Learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
Massive Open Online Courses
A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. Although there has been access to free online courses on the Internet for years, the quality and quantity of courses has changed. Today even elite universities are offering this version of free education. Carnegie Mellon's MOOC boasts, "no instructors, no credits, no charge." In most cases you open a free account with a user ID and password and you can be in class in minutes. So if you're a motivated learner, this approach can enable you to acquire new skills and maybe a high-paying job, without paying tuition or collecting a college degree. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive users that help build a community for students, professors, and teaching assistants.
10. On Demand Services
One of the hottest trends in 2014 is service on demand, where the idea is you can simply tap your phone or other digitally connected device and receive a range of products or services in the form of on-demand labor. It began with Software as a Service (SaaS) which is sometimes referred to as "On-demand software". But the consumer loves convenience so much that this business model is now being integrated into other areas. Think of massage, video, food, entertainment and having these things come to you "as a Service" or on demand. So now we're seeing XaaS (Anything as a Service) which refers to the exploding number of services and even products that are attempting to adapt this model and somehow integrate the cloud, rather than be local or onsite.