So another year draws to a close and a new one begins. I know I say this every year but where did 2012 go? It seems like weeks ago I was sat here thinking about the major trends for 2012. Clearly it goes without saying that I was 100 per cent accurate in all my predictions (you don’t need to go back and check, just take my word for it…) and that you are now waiting with baited breath for this year’s pearls of wisdom…

Broadly I am inclined to agree with the bright sparks at Business Insider when they say basically…it’s more of the same (http://www.businessinsider.com/billion-dollar-tech-trends-2012-11?op=1). More mobile, more social, more Cloud and LOTS more big data… plus Star Trek (OK maybe I added that one).

Death of the laptop

2013 marks the beginning of the end for the laptop as we know it. The death knell has already sounded for the mouse and I suspect the keyboard will be next in line (something HP actually predicted back in 1985 when they launched the 150 – ironically it didn’t catch on). We have an entire generation that is growing up with the touch screen – just watch a toddler on an iPad and then try and present them with a keyboard. Even Microsoft has succumbed to the allure of touch and as voice and action recognition becomes more advanced and more accurate the way we interact with our devices is set to change. User interfaces will become increasingly tactile and engaging – more akin to the way we read a newspaper than the way we use a laptop

Big data to big insight

 Largely a concept hijacked by big IT companies to peddle their technologies – Big Data has to be up there competing for the award for most overused phrase of 2012. The fact is that knowing there is a lot of data around and having the ability to capture it and store it somewhere is largely useless unless you can actually figure out what to do with it. In 2013 we need to change the way we look at data. It is effectively a raw material. It’s a bit like hydrogen in that there is lots of it, but we need to know how to make it useful. Currently we are content rich but information poor, so how do we turn an inert gas into life giving water?

To make the magic happen we will see new start up technologies developing around new databases, new data grids in the cloud and especially new software that delivers insight in a more intuitive way. Big insight will start to become a competitive advantage in 2013, driven by a frustrated business user...who collaborates on Yammer, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Skype. The outcome for the business will be the growth of closed social networking and mobile driven collaboration in business. There will be more labs, skunk works, fast innovation and cultural change projects driven from the CEO down as they try to capture and develop more ideas to maintain/ gain competitive edge. 

Related:

From consumerisation to personalisation

2012 was the year of consumer power. Whether as employees or customers, it was consumer demands that set the agenda when it came to IT investment. Not content with the allocated leaden grey box and hand me down Blackberry, employees want the kind of kit, connectivity and ability to access and share information that they have in their personal lives. 2013 will see this trend evolve further into what I would call personalisation. In the business world this will mean employees being able not only to select the device that they want but everything they want on it. Business applications will become almost entirely Cloud based so employees can pick the ones relevant to them.

We have been banging on about Cloud for a LONG time but this year it has really started to come into its own and next year we will see if becoming even more ubiquitous. Ultimately what this will mean is that device and location will become irrelevant. You will be able to log on to anything, anywhere and everything that you need – personal and business – will be delivered to you. You-as-a-service.

 It’s a phone Jim… but not as we know it

 I bet you were wondering when we would get to Star Trek. I read a fascinating piece in The Ecomonist recently about mHealth (http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21567208-medical-technology-hand-held-diagnostic-devices-seen-star-trek-are-inspiring) and the evolution of the smartphone into a tricorder – those handheld devices that Dr McCoy would use to scan some poor unsuspecting alien before pronouncing imminent death. This idea of the evolving smartphone is a fascinating one. 

The evolution of the smartphone and the development of mobile healthcare devices is an area of great personal interest to me. Two years ago my son was diagnosed with a heart condition and since then I have been involved with CRY (Cardiac Arrest in the Young - http://www.c-r-y.org.uk/). The development of the mobile ECG is something that, thanks to the amazing work done on a football pitch 40 minutes into Bolton’s game against Tottenham, many of us will be aware of.

I wanted to finish the article by stepping away from the business world for a moment and remembering that technological innovation is not just about making businesses faster, better and richer. Sometimes it is about saving lives. I hope you all have a happy, prosperous and above all, healthy New Year.