What’s new for the new year? Well, everyone wants a crystal ball, and some are clearer than others but there are a few trends for the new year that you should keep your eye on, the most likely movers and shakers —
1. Wearables. Yep, we’re already tired of this one but it’s picking up steam. It won’t be confined to Glass knockoffs and watches either. Fitness and health is going to be a big category for wearables, monitoring everything from heart rate and distance schlepped to other vitals. At least until you can be convinced to swallow a monitor for the health stuff (and perhaps some nefarious NSA tracking scheme) that will live inside you for however long they can keep it from being spit out the back.
2. Driveables. Your car is fair game and a fairly lucrative one at that. We’ve already heard reports of the GPS/nav system manufacturers sharing information without real permission so we can only imagine what kind of tracking opportunities will abound when users decide to download and install their own selection of apps to use while driving.
3. Location based marketing. With the release of the iBeacon and all of its competitors, no one will be able to go anywhere without someone offering something at a discount or reminding you that it’s time to purchase new underwear since its been a year since you stopped in to pick up a new supply of tighty whities. The combination location/easy payment probably won’t surface this year as a widely accepted mechanism, but it should make inroads into the early adopter population as long as the data can be stored securely and a Target sized data breach doesn’t occur in the e-wallet ecosystem.
4. The demise of Blackberry (finally). While sad to see it go, the functionality just stopped being there when compared to phones like the Galaxy or iPhone, though we’re hopeful that someone will be able to make an attachable keyboard that emulates the good old days of Blackberry. I don’t think the BBM as a standalone app is going to be enough to generate the kind of revenue the company needs to stay alive and viable.
5. Net neutrality. The topic is sitting in limbo in a couple of courtrooms, but we’re betting the big providers like ATT, Comcast, Time Warner, etc are going to use all their might (and lobbying) to tier price the net into one big advertisement paid for by those with deep pockets and the little guy will get shut out again.
6. Internet of Things. Ouch. This is really like the ‘cloud’. Of course we want to connect things to the internet so we can communicate with them – like turn by turn traffic avoidance directions in our cars – but hopefully the idea that the fridge needs the internet so it can text you an updated shopping list based on the expiry date of the milk is a bit overly much, especially until IP v6 really gets going and we can afford IP addresses for our entire household inventory. I’m not against the IoT, but I think there will be some silliness to wade through before we’re really at the core of exactly what should talk to what, how it should be allowed to communicate while we’re not actively engaging and what permissions things should have entrusted to them when it comes to our home security and comfort. Device security is going to be huge here, since a hacker could (and probably will) successfully lock people out of their homes, cars, neighborhood gates, or maliciously manipulate the washing machine so that everything was washed in hot and got no fabric softener!