My granddad died last year aged 94; he was born with the Model T Ford. We would often sit, talking about the monumental changes he had seen during his life.
Cars changed travel, offered freedom and mass manufacturing. Television spread ideas, changing entertainment and marketing forever. Personal Computers put power into everyone’s hands. The internet connected everyone and everything. I remember so well the first time I spoke to Granddad on a mobile phone; it was from the hospital as my first son was born. Granddad said we lived in a world of magic and mystery.
This was the 20th century, changes were gradual and he understood everything. For him, the world was just catching up with science fiction. As new things appeared in real life, he was comfortable, because he had been waiting for them.
His last 10-years were different. Reality caught up with science fiction and then sped past. eCommerce, social networks, smart phones, apps, complete libraries on eReaders, iPads and more. It was almost impossible for him to comprehend the changes. He no longer had the science fiction reference points to make sense of everything.
And this is how I feel, trying to predict what will be important in 2013. Who could really have predicted, only 12-months ago, that pictures would dominate the internet with Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat, that crowd-funding would make VC’s look old fashioned and that Android would take over from the iPhone because it was better, not because it was cheaper.
Having said all that, here are the three most important technology changes that I am excited about in 2013:
During 2013 more and more people will record their entire lives, life logging or LifeLog as I call it. This is possible by wearing miniature cameras, that constantly take photos and track every moment. Users can then go back and re-live their lives later. Check out Memoto and Autographer.
You can now manufacture almost anything you need at home. 3D printing is accessible to everyone; I call it HomeBuild. Not only can we print jewellery, chairs, human bones, organic chemicals, jet engine parts, washing machine parts and even guns; 3D printers can create items that are impossible to manufacture in any other way. Check out the Mojo 3D printer from Stratasys Ltd. (the post merged identity of Israeli Objet Ltd.) or the Form1 High Resolution Desktop 3D printer.
It seems like only yesterday that Google’s search results were garbage. Armies of search engine optimisation (SEO) experts, fooled the system to push any site to the top. Well, Google has been on the attack and in 2013 it will win. Google’s algorithms are now sophisticated enough to place the most compelling content at the top of the results. For a company to be visible, they need relevant and highly creative content, every day as part of their marketing strategies. You need to be telling stories, like in the good old days. Check out Oreos and Coca-Cola.
If my Granddad was still here, he would understand this second decade of the 21st century. This is no longer about science fiction or the unimaginable. Technology has advanced to where it fits smoothly into our lives. Helping us record and retrieve our memories, helping us build and design products, helping us find the information we want.
Still magical, but not so mysterious.
What do you think are going to be the top technology trends for this year? Let me know in the comments below.
Jon Sumroy is a Digital Mentor – he studies and scrutinises how businesses succeed in today’s digital world. Then he finds the best ways to teach these insights to others; using his experience to help companies succeed. He consults to large and small companies, coaching teams, individuals and entrepreneurs. Jon specialises in Online Reputation Management – the impression people get of a company/brand/individual when searching for them online; what he calls the ‘Digital Footprint’. Jon is writing a book about this: “Big Foot – Influence, Reputation and your Digital Footprint”. See more at www.jonsumroy.com.