2013 promises to be a ground-breaking one, filled with exciting new technological developments that not only change the business world but will also begin to have a greater impact on everyone.
Here are ten emerging areas to look out for this year:
1. The Internet of Things
Whilst the Internet of Things is not a new concept to many of us, 2013 will together see major developments that will change the way that we live. The IoT merges the physical and digital worlds to bring the most up to date technology to our daily lives through the 'things' that we use. The developments will see big changes in both the business and social environments, enabling 'interaction' with objects or 'smart things' as they are commonly referred to. A smart thing is basically a physical object that has a tiny computer linking information about the object to the Internet. For example, it can inform a product supplier that a customer is running low on a particular type of stock. Expect to see some huge advances in this area.
2. Even smarter Smartphones
Over the last decade we have seen the capabilities and features of mobile devices grow to the extent you can use your mobile for practically anything. The Economist predicts that in 2013, the Internet will be predominantly accessed by mobile devices. From social interaction, to paying your parking charges, more and more of us are using mobile devices for simple transactions. Near Field Communication has been adopted by the likes of McDonalds and Starbucks - will the world follow? This year should see even more brands providing services for Smartphone users.
3. Cyber security
One of the main disadvantages of developments in the technology field, is the increasing threat of internet fraud and ever evolving scams. In October, TechRadar published some useful tips for preventing online fraud after reporting that a quarter of UK small businesses had been affected in the last year. Phishing scams are becoming more common and whilst people are more aware of these scams, the fraudsters are introducing more sophisticated techniques, such as cloning bank websites. There will be a huge investment this year in improving cyber security, with particular focus on protection against viruses and malware. If you would like more information on virus removal, SpecTronics UK can advise you on the best available options.
4. Personal Cloud
The ability to link our devices together is becoming increasingly important to consumers. We are more aware that synchronisation of phones, tablets and laptops makes a range of activities a lot simpler and saves time. Popular examples include the Google Apps for Business solution provided by SpecTronics UK.
5. Television transformation
The opportunities that Internet connection brings to television developments can be exploited to the maximum. iPlayer, Netflix and YouTube allow viewers to instantly view programmes, films and video footage from TVs with an integrated Internet connection. Many rivals are emerging with improved features.
6. Big Data Developments
Companies are looking for more efficient data management and an area that has been heavily focussed on is visualisation of data. Maintaining an on site server can seem like a great idea and is very flexible, but very expensive and less resilient than cloud solutions. Google Drive which is part of Google Apps is a great way to store, share and collaborate on company data with colleagues. Big data presents big problems, so expect 2013 to see a huge amount of research into solutions.
7. App Stores
There's an app for that' has progressed from being a marketing campaign to an everyday phrase for many. App development is one of the fastest growing technologies and it is estimated that by 2014 there will be over 70 billion mobile app downloads.
8. 3D Printing
Progress in the 3D printing world is expanding enabling quicker and cheaper manufacture of products, by using printers that can build layers using plastic or metal in most cases. Forbes recently revealed that 3D Printing is now helping NASA get to space. And I bet you didn't know that the Aston Martin DB5's blown up in James Bond's Skyfall were 3D printed?!
9. Visual Communications
With businesses looking increasingly to reduce costs, visual communications will be introduced more frequently as a means to connect remote workers. Existing software like Skype and FaceTime are commonly used, but further developments should save company resources by removing the need to travel, offering cheaper ways to communicate 'face to face' by virtual meetings and conferences. Over the last couple of months, SpecTronics has worked hard to introduce Video Conferencing functionality into our Hosted VoIP systems so that we can pass these benefits directly to our customers. All you need is a compatible handset and a broadband connection!
10. Actionable Analytics
In the marketing sector, analytics developments will see improved customer relationship building through more effective analysis of consumer behaviour. Google Analytics offers a free service that provides statistics for website owners, but more advanced techniques such as mouse tracking will become the norm. Be careful where you point that mouse!
Image credit: Voxeljet