Tag Archives: UI

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.

Tablets’ Disruptive Transformation: Enabling Form to Follow Function

Article first published as Tablets’ Disruptive Transformation: Enabling Form to Follow Function on Technorati.

Everyone is talking about the rapid growth of the tablet market. Analysts are continually revising (upwards) the number of tablets that will be sold over the next few years. Hundreds of new tablets are competing for market leadership. Even our friends at the TSA now regularly ask us to “remove computers and tablets” for our carry-on luggage when going through airport security.

disruptive-200x150However, in the midst of this explosion, something big is changing right underneath our noses: millions of us are “re-wiring” how we interact with computers. We are discarding clumsy interface tools (physical keyboards, mice, thumb wheels and styluses) that get between us a computers in favor of the most advanced, flexible tool we possess: our fingers. We are not simply using our fingers to press “virtual” buttons. We now combine gesture with the context of what we are doing to interact in ways that are more natural than we have ever done before. This fundamental change in human-computer interaction allows software developers to design applications the way that architects design buildings, allowing form to follow function:

Tailored Utility: We can now tailor the user interface to provide exactly what controls are needed – and no more. We can provide a big, landscape keyboard for text-intensive applications; and eliminate it entirely, replacing it with buttons and sliders, for media-intensive applications. We can finally get rid of all those pesky “modifier keys” (e.g., Control, F1) and replace them with meaningful keys or buttons (like Play, Save, New, or Edit) Our customers can use their fingers – not multi-step menus – to work as they would in “real life” to turn pages, highlight text, select items, and more.

Environmental Adaptation: We can now – using built-in APIs – exploit accelerometers and embedded cameras to automatically adapt application the surrounding environment. We can let people use natural gestures to optimize the display to suit their needs, allowing them to switch from portrait to landscape, zoom in out, or scroll faster or slower. We can automatically incorporate the tablet’s location and orientation into work or play, saving customers the need of to enter this information themselves. We can use cameras to do everything from automatically adjusting contrast and color based on ambient lighting to automatically recognizing faces and bar codes.

Universal Localization. Providing customers hardware is a loss leader in many industries (e.g., smart phones), often subsidized through software and subscriptions. Doing this across multiple markets, with different languages and character sets, is even more expensive. Touch screen tablets allow localization of application to any language, without switching hardware. In addition, their environmental adaption (above) more naturally supports non-Western languages that use right-to-left and/or top-down orientation.

Yes, capacitive touch-based interaction is not yet perfect. Virtual keyboards are still not as fast as physical ones. Touch entry can be difficult when you have large fingers (or long fingernails). However, the capacitive touch-based tablet market is no longer a fringe market; it is now a growing, mainstream one. Competition will drive innovation, resulting in tablets with better surfaces, broader APIs and increased functionality. In time, tablets will make the keyboards and mice of today as obsolete as the physical buttons and gauges of the past.

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