In Part 1 of this 4-part series on game-changing trends and technologies, I discussed the first ten of twenty-one trends identified by Daniel Burrus, CEO of Burrus Research. He claims these trends are going to create both disruptions and opportunities in the years ahead. ["20 Game-Changing Technology Trends That Will Create Both Disruption and Opportunity on a Global Level," The Raddon Report, 20 March 2013] In this post, I'll discuss the final eleven trends identified by Burrus as well as one additional trend.
Trend 11. Intelligent Electronic Agents.
"Intelligent Electronic Agents using natural language voice commands ... will become [commonplace] on your smart devices including your phone, tablet, and television. Soon retailers will have a Siri-like sales assistant, and maintenance workers will have a Siri-like assistant. The possibilities are endless."
Intelligent electronic agents will also be put to work helping companies with real-time data that can help them prevent or mitigate disruptions to their operations. Intelligent agents are always working, always alert, and always learning.
Trend 12. Digital Identity Management.
"Digital Identity Management will become increasingly important to both organizations and individuals. ... Next Generation Biometrics integrated into your smart phone and tablet will play a key role in both identity management and security."
This is obviously a problem. There are over a hundred cell phones lost or stolen every minute in the U.S. One out of every three robberies involves theft of a smartphone. Identification theft also remains a serious problem and some form of biometric ID will likely provide a basic solution to many of the challenges such theft presents.
Trend 13. Visual Communications.
"Visual Communications takes video conferencing to a new level with programs like SKYPE, FaceTime, and others giving us video communication on phones, tablets, and home televisions. Visual Communications will be integrated with current video conferencing systems, fueling this as a main relationship-building tool for businesses of all sizes."
AT&T first introduced the concept of a picture phone at the 1964 New York World's Fair. What was then a distant dream, is now daily reality. Back in 1964, people never imagined that one could carry a "picturephone" in one's pocket. At that time, television cameras were huge and miniaturization had only begun to catch the attention of futurists.
Trend 14. Enhanced Location Awareness.
"Enhanced Location Awareness will accelerate the number of business-to-consumer apps for smart phones and tablets that will take geo-social marketing and sales to a new level of creative application, driving rapid growth. In addition, Geo-Spatial Visualization combines geographic information systems (GIS) with location-aware data, RFID (radio frequency identification), and other location-aware sensors (including the current location of users from the use of their mobile devices) to create new insights and competitive advantage. Early enterprise applications include logistics and supply chain to name a few."
Enhanced location awareness coupled with targeted marketing will provide retailers with a new way to reach consumers and provide consumers with timely opportunities to take advantage of bargains while they are in or near a retailer. To learn more about the importance of location, read my post entitled In the Era of Big Data, Location Still Matters.
Trend 15. Mobile Banking.
"Mobile Banking using smart phones as an eWallet is already being used in a few countries and will finally take off on a larger scale thanks to an increasing number of phones with Near Field Communications (NFC) chips. More important, banks and credit card companies are already starting to see non-bank competitors jump in to the mobile payment race, including Google Wallet and Apple's iOS 6 Passbook to name a few."
The concept has already proven feasible in emerging market countries. This a good case of reverse innovation, where concepts are proven in emerging markets, where the need is greatest, and then make their way into the developing world.
Trend 16. Smart Television.
"Smart TV Using Apps will get a major boost in the marketplace, fueling a major shift in home viewing. Ever wonder how you could have over 500 cable or satellite channels and nothing to watch? You didn't have apps on your TV allowing you to personalize the experience. This is the beginning of a major shift that will take place in living rooms globally."
Since the introduction of televisions, viewers have yelled at the screen. Now they can do their "yelling" interactively and someone might actually be listening; and, because of today's advanced applications, people can now watch their favorite television programs on their smartphones, tablets, and PCs as well.
Trend 17. Multiple Application Stores.
"Multiple App Stores for all smart phone, tablet, and television operating systems (Android, Blackberry, Windows, and others) will grow rapidly, creating an abundant distribution and sales ecosystem for all. In addition, there will be an increasing focus on Business App Stores within companies using apps for sales support, maintenance, purchasing, logistics, and much more."
This should come as no surprise since there will always be entrepreneurs ready to make a buck if the opportunity presents itself.
Trend 18. 3D Displays for Mobile Devices.
"3D Displays for Smart Phones and Tablets will be the breakthrough that will drive wide-scale consumer acceptance of 3D computing. This trend has already started with hand-held gaming systems and, thanks to the need to visualize ever increasing amounts of rich data, we will see 3D data simulations for the enterprise grow rapidly starting with the military and then to medicine, fashion, architecture, and entertainment to name a few."
It's not hard to imagine how this could be a game-changer in the medical field.
Trend 19. eMedia.
"eBooks, eNewspapers, eMagazines and Interactive Multimedia eTextbooks pass the Tipping Point due to the abundance of smart phones and tablets that provide a full color experience, and publishers providing apps that give a better-than-paper experience by including cut, copy, paste, print, and multimedia capabilities."
It's possible that mobile devices could actually be the saviors of "print" media such as magazines and newspapers rather than their executioners. The business model still needs to be proven. As Burrus points out, interactive media can provide a "better-than-paper" experience for readers.
Trend 20. Advanced Automation and Robotics.
"Advanced Automation and Robotics will take a giant leap forward after decades of promise but slow growth thanks to exponential advances in processing power, storage, and bandwidth. Also, thanks to better sensors, artificial intelligence, and Siri-like voice communications, robots will work with humans in new and productive ways."
Robots working with humans, rather than replacing them, sounds a bit optimistic; however, a robot named Baxter is already doing it (see my post entitled Meet Baxter -- Your New Co-worker).
Trend 21. The Internet of Things.
"Machine-to-Machine Communications using chips, micro sensors and both wired and wireless networks will create a rapidly growing 'internet of things' sharing real-time data, performing diagnostics, and making virtual repairs all without human intervention."
The Internet of Things is predicted to grow much larger than the World Wide Web as more than 30 billion machines connect to it. For more on this topic, read my post entitled Machine-to-Machine Communication.
Another Trend Worth Noting.
When it comes to business trends, Burrus' list was pretty comprehensive and I agree with him that they are all trends to watch. So what, if anything, did he miss? Linda Rottenberg, Co-founder & CEO of Endeavor-Global, told Huang, "Forget B2B and B2C, it's all about E2E (emerging market to emerging market)."
Trend 22. Emerging Market to Emerging Market Relationships.
Rottenberg stated, "It's astounding how many tech-powered companies are adapting to emerging market contexts. Often, they're finding that what works in Brazil can work in the Middle East, or what works in India can work in Africa. ... Emerging market visionaries are quick to realize their competitive advantage over companies from the so-called G8 economies."
Also missing on Burrus' list were trends relating to things like agriculture, energy, and healthcare. You could probably list at least a dozen trends in those areas as well. In the next two posts, I'll discuss some of the technologies that are driving the trends discussed above as well as others.