Tag Archives: CES

Ten Tech Trends for Your 2012 New Year’s Resolutions List

Article first published as Ten Tech Trends for Your 2012 New Year’s Resolutions List on Technorati

BabyNewYearOne of the most exciting things about working in tech is using it to create new ways to work, play—and even live. We have seen many great technology innovations develop over the past few years. Over 2012, ten of them will complete the jump from “new concept” to “mainstream trend.” How many of them are your ready for?

1. Everything Will Be Portable. The move to portable computing (smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks) will accelerate. Thick laptops and—even worse—desktops will be a relic of the past (except for those with high-power computing needs). If you are not yet mobile- and portable-ready, you better get there very soon.

2. Augmented Reality Will Go Mainstream. Augmented Reality (AR) is no longer a science fiction concept. Smartphones and (especially) tablets are mass-market platforms for everyday augmented reality. We are already seeing the first applications at Tech Meetups, CES and more. At least three innovators will exploit this, gaining mainstream adoption, by the end of 2012.

3. Touch Will Be Ubiquitous. Over the past five years, capacitive touch interfaces have re-programmed how millions of us interact with technology. As more devices are now sold today with touch than without, it is time to begin optimizing your user interface and user experience for touch (instead of a two-button mouse and keyboard).

4. Voice Will Be Next. While the intuitiveness of touch is a leapfrog improvement over mouse-and-keyboard, it still ties up our hands. Voice-based interaction is where we need to go. Apple’s Siri began the move of voice-driven interaction into the mainstream. This year, we’ll see SDKs for iOS and Android that harness the creativity of thousands to explode use of voice.

5. Fat Will Be the New Thin. Over a decade ago, broadband Internet enabled browsers to replace thick client applications. Now, portable computing usage across low power, lossy networks (e.g., mobile, WiFi, Bluetooth) coupled with AppStore Model has brought locally installed apps back in vogue. Building web apps is not enough; you need AppStore apps too.

6. Location-based Privacy Will Be Solved. Over the last two years location-based services became really hot. Unfortunately location-related privacy issues became hot too. The move of these services into mainstream populations of tens of millions will expand anecdotal security scares into weekly news stories, forcing adoption of safer location-based privacy policies.

7. Cloud Will Be the New Norm. Cloud computing is no longer an “edge market.” It is now adopted by big enterprises, public sector agencies—and even consumer tech providers. The cost, convenience and flexibility advantages of cloud computing will make it too hard for everyone not to use—everyday—by the end of this year.

8. …So Will Twitter. While people still love to debate the reasons to use Twitter, everything from the Arab Spring to the Charlie Sheen Meltdown showed that Twitter is now a well-recognized media channel. #Election2012 will accelerate mainstream use of Twitter—with the same overwhelming intensity we have seen for years in “traditional” campaign advertising.

9. ‘Consumerization of IT’ Planned and Budgeted. Consumer tech has become so sophisticated (without sacrificing ease-of-use and intuitiveness) that we began last year to demand its use in the enterprise. 2012—the first year in which most enterprise budgets include planned projects to support the consumerization of IT—will both accelerate and “lock in” this new tech trend.

10. 2012 Will Be Declared the Begin of “The ‘Big Data’ Era.” This year we will see another 40% increase in data we need to manage. This growth, coupled with recent releases of enterprise-ready high-scale NoSQL products will begin adoption of this tech by the entire industry. Looking back, 2012 will represent the start of the global, cross-industry Big Data era.

If you haven’t started embracing these already, now is a great time to add them to your “2012 Technology New Year’s Resolution List.” Sponsor a few pilot projects in your enterprise. Buy one or two Post-CES products to help you work more efficiently at the office. Or—if you want to include the whole family—buy one to use while you shop online, watch TV or manage your household.

“PII” also means “Privacy is important”

In the technology industry, “PII” stands for “Personally Identifiable Information.” However, anyone who provides technology to customers should also think of it as standing for “Privacy Is Important.” Two important events this week—one regarding Google and one regarding Facebook—underscored the importance of this and served as reminders of how important protection of privacy is to mainstream adoption of technology.

Protection of privacy has proven vital to technology adoption

security-icon-bigFrom its inception, use of Information Technology (IT) presented the potential for enormous productivity and convenience benefits. However, this potential was not realized on a widespread basis until technology companies packaged technology into products that were 1) easy-to-use and 2) safe-to-use.Everyone remembers that making technology easy-to-use is vital to success. Fewer remember that making it safe-to-use if vital to making it a success on a ubiquitous basis. However, one only has to look at a few examples to see how important protection of privacy and security has been to the widespread adoption of IT:

  • “Techies” were happy using the World Wide Web to browse for content. However, mainstream use by families did not occur until Parental Controls became readily available.
  • Consumers were comfortable using the Browser to look for information. However, they not comfortable using it for commerce until use of SSL and multi-step authentication became standard.
  • Companies were interested in using mobile devices to provide greater productivity to their staff. However, they did not do this on a widespread basis until they had access to enterprise technology that enabled them to fully control mobile access to company data.
  • Students widely enjoyed sharing information about themselves on social networks. However, the broader public was not comfortable doing this until companies enabled social network members to control who could see their information.

This is because your identity is your most important asset in an information economy

These are just a few examples. However they underscore the importance of enabling people to protect their identity and personal information when using connected (i.e., online and mobile) information technology. This is because of circular phenomenon:

As use of IT has become more widespread, we have become an Information Economy. In an Information Economy, who we are—and what we know—is our most important asset. Protection of this asset is paramount to each person’s value. As such, the ability to protect the privacy of our information vital for continued expansion of the technologies enabling our Information Economy.

Two events this week highlighted sensitivity to privacy

Two rather public, albeit very different, events this week highlighted our sensitivity to protection of privacy and PII:

Google announced their successful defense of Gmail accounts to penetration attacks origination from IP addresses in China. This led to reinforcement of their commitment to protecting Gmail accounts in pursuit of their mission of making information useful; something met with broad mainstream approval.

At CES, Facebook suggested that consumers “no longer cared about [their] privacy.” While on face value this appeared to marginalize the importance of privacy, upon more care reading it actually highlighted the importance of enabling people to control sharing of different levels of information for distinct purposes.

These remind us what we need to do to protect privacy and PII

These two events—and the reactions of everyone from technologists to reports to mainstream consumers to them—serve as a reminder of what we need to do to protect privacy and foster widespread adoption of technology:

  1. Assume all information you customer provides you is private unless explicitly told otherwise.
  2. Secure access to this information—both with technology and policies for access control
  3. Enable your customers to determine who can see what information about them and when and how they can see it.

If you do this, you customers will feel safe and comfortable using your technology (for more thoughts on this, see my prior post on “Creating Safe Environments for Staff and Consumers.”) This will leader to wider and deeper adoption of it and growth of your market. (It is also, quite simply, this is “the right thing to do.”)

Are we approaching the point where this needs to be a global standard?

The rise of the Internet increased use of IT in everyday life several thousand-fold. The rapid adoption of more and more powerful smart phones (and their connectivity to everything from bank accounts to corporate systems to social networks) is increasing our connectivity (and access to private information) even faster.

As such, it may be time to create simple, but effective overarching standards for general protection of PII. (Similar but what the US government did for health care with creation of the Privacy Rule in HIPPA Part II in 2003.) The benefit of this is that all consumers would have much greater trust in their privacy, leading to increased adoption of IT—regardless of vendor or application. The price would be industry-wide increases in cost due to compliance and validation. The trick would be to develop a standard that encourages the right outcomes—without unduly restricting speed and innovation.