It is common practice for me to look back midyear at what transpired over the last 12 months. In doing so, I try to predict what’s going to happen in the future. Honestly speaking, what’s the point of looking back, we should just look forward.
Predicting the future is a challenge but there are a few certainties for the future of technology that I will classify into four categories:
People have a desire to become more untethered by using mobile devices in a wireless and portable mode. That does not mean we will get off our butts and be more active, but instead it means having more things in the palm of our hand—and doing more things in ways that we are used to doing.
As we carry more devices, we will seek out more sources of electrical power, and we will expect the places we go to, such as hotels, to be equipped to supply us with this. But it might not always be for free.
Our mobile devices will carry more content such as movies, TV shows, magazines, books etc., and make us less reliant on accessing that content in traditional ways. The traditional way will morph itself into on-demand capabilities, allowing us to watch everything on our device whenever we want.
Our insatiable demand for bandwidth will continue—in all shapes and formats—whether at home, hotel lobbies, coffee shops or even on public transportation. We may be able to accomplish this with a BYOB (bring your own broadband) dongle or a general pocket radio service, but we prefer if it’s provided to us for free, as some hotels kindly do. Demand for upload speeds is as critical as download speeds based on the amount of video and photos we take of what we eat, our pets (especially cats) and loved ones.
Geo-placeshifting allows media stored on a device to be accessed from another place through another devices. And spoofing our location using our virtual private network will increase in popularity so we can circumvent geo-fencing of various Internet-protocol restrictions by certain apps such as BBC iPlayer, iTunes and Pandora.
We will use more cloud services not just for backup and access to music or email but for real work. This, however, brings with it certain security issues that will need to be overcome, especially when dealing with corporate compliance.
We will try to eliminate as many data cables as possible and continue to look for ways to wirelessly stream content to a playback device, such as a TV or audio system. The same requirement applies to printers and projectors.
3. User experience
Gesturing and touching things with our hands, or voicing controls and inputs are becoming the norm for the future.
4. Work/life balance
Where possible and practical we will remotely collaborate on a regular basis with co-workers and clients, opting to work from home and coffee shops. Not only is this a saving on boring and unnecessary commuting time, it also allows us to be more productive, and in some cases, saves cost to employers. Skype, WebEx, Telepresence, WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook and all manner of collaboration tools make all this possible.
Lastly, we will increasingly shop online seeking out deals, buying from the comfort of our homes and office. Services such as online Chinese marketplace Taobao, Amazon.com and the Apple Store will capture more and more of our disposable income.
Whatever this year brings, let’s hope it’s exciting, peaceful and filled with good health, joy and prosperity.