Earlier this week, I looked back at a Web Worker Daily article I wrote in 2010 making tech predictions for 2011, then gave my early 2015 thoughts on each trend: Part 1 of My 2011 Tech Predictions, Revisited Today.
Here are some more trend predictions I made for 2011 and what I think about them now.
2011: Location, location, location.
This should have been on my 2010 list, but it was still early. Within months after my trends post, location exploded and I professed my love for Whrrl, Foursquare and the like, and I was recently blown away by Glympse: tip of iceberg stuff. I constantly use AroundMe and have started to use Foodspotting when I travel. And have you seen Path?
Announcing where you are at any given moment and what you’re doing? Not as kooky as it seemed a few years back.
I’ve talked and written about the concept of 360 degree marketing before, and how location plays a big part in creating an immersive, multi-touchpoint experience for our customers. Now we’re seeing sensing devices like BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy-enabled devices) and other technology like Bytelight creating virtual geofences around spaces to trigger user experiences and provide companies with customer data.
Location even plays a part in the new trends in wearable technology. Foursquare may have broken apart into a directory and it’s checkin app Swarm, but that’s not half as exciting as a bracelet that can measure how many steps you’ve taken and the calories you’ve burned.
2011: Semantic technologies.
Two words: Big Data. In 2011, I was looking at semantic technology through a consumer lens instead of enterprise. These days, C-level attention focused on semantic technologies and data science continues to grow.
2011: Crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, crowdproducing.
You ain’t seen nothing yet in terms of what crowds can do. Real time traffic from Waze, crowdfunding through Kickstarter and Profounder, and many more examples not yet built will be transforming business, creativity, production, process.
In my 2011 book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crowdsourcing, I introduced the principles, platforms and processes of crowdsourcing. The book had a single chapter devoted to the then-new concept of crowdfunding. In 2012, the US Jobs Act opened the possibility of equity crowdfunding. In 2013, an estimated $5.1 billion was crowdfunded online (Massolution). Crowdfunding has eclipsed the other types of crowdsourcing activities – at least in the media’s eye. But don’t ignore the strides in crowdsourcing for innovation, big data, crowd work, ideation and distributed problem solving, and activism and action.
2011: QR Codes.
I’m still wrapping my head around them, but they are worth watching, learning more about, and using.
QR Codes were never perfect and have almost never been adopted and deployed well. The few times someone gets QR Codes right can’t make up for the myriad of missteps, mishaps and general messes of poorly executed QR Code campaigns.
I’ve been hopeful about QR Codes and have not written them off entirely yet. I’ve provided recommendations such as QR Code marketing basics as well as an analysis of QR Codes and their destinations. Yes, I still frequently whip out my iPhone, fire up my QR Code scanner, and scan the QR Codes I come across. And I mostly cringe at the results.
So I may have to admit defeat here and say that QR Codes have so much potential but unless Apple or Android adds a QR Code reader to their operating systems, they may be limited in their value. What will successfully replace QR Codes? I think the answer to that is somewhere within Location technologies.
2011: iPad (and other tablets).
I’ll be honest: I don’t love my iPad. But really, it isn’t a lack of love for the device, which is sleek and uber-portable. The applications don’t do it justice. You can’t just port what was on the computer to the iPhone and then to the iPad. You have to think different. In 2011, some companies will do just that.
At this stage, my iPad is functional. I’ve loaded it with enough work-appropriate apps that it can stand in for my computer if necessary. But tablet sales are still strong, weakened only by the rise of “phablets” or “phone tablets.” (I swear I did not make up that word). Personally, I’ve just moved to a Macbook Air – bigger than a phablet and tablet but smaller and lighter than a regular laptop yet with all the computer capabilities I need to be produtive.
2011: Apps commerce and communities.
When was the last time you bought software in a box? That activity will continue to decrease. I’m pretty sure the Apple App Store will have plenty of competition cropping up in the next year, including the Chrome Web Store, Google Apps Marketplace, and all the mobile device-specific stores, as well as apps communities like OneForty.com. Developers will have more and more outlets for different versions of the apps they’re producing. Marketers will get into the game as well.
The trend isn’t just about apps. It is about SaaS – Software as a Service. A personal example: I just purchased InDesign software through Adobe Creative Cloud and pay an affordable monthly fee to access it online. So far, it has worked like a dream. Almost every business system I use today is a SaaS or cloud-based including Quickbooks Online for billing and bookkeeping, Bill.com for accounts payable, Asana for project management, and Google Apps for domain hosting, email management and shared documents. I think as more and more people and organizations trust Internet-hosted software and services, this trend will just keeping growing.
Trends for 2015
I hope you’ve enjoyed revisiting some predictions for 2011 through a 2015 lens. Here are a few things on my mind for 2015:
1. Micro-communities – I believe that brands will benefit from parsing their larger and broader social media fan base into small niche groups of Super Fans and cultivate deeper relationships with them beyond the surface connections of social networks.
2. Deep, rich storytelling – I’ve written about how Content Marketing Can Kill Your Community, but I’ve also been a big fan of the return to long-form content and storytelling online (Medium, Exposure, Hi). While it may sound like a contradiction, I think that people are hungry for content with substance and are only habituated to like or pass along bite sized pieces of content without any real connection to it. By moderating content in a more thoughtful way, brands can be much more effective in their online publishing than just posting for the sake of posting.
3. Brand uber-ubiquity – We’re still sussing out what 360 degree marketing really can look like and feel like. There is a sweet spot at the intersection of Location technologies and wearable technologies that will be especially interesting for companies looking to be “everywhere” with consumers, not to mention the power of presence on someone’s smartphone.