I love prediction lists, so I was delighted when Tom Garrison sent me the 10 Trends for 2010 by the CEO of Mashable. So what’s going to be hot? And how is broadband going to support or be a barrier to trends reaching all corners of Minnesota?
First, the here and now are hot and getting hotter. Applications such as Twitter and Facebook paired with the prevalence of handheld devices have driven the real-time aspect of online life. This trend will continue as devices become more ubiquitous and provide more services – such as better quality video. Along with the real time, apps such as Foursquare and growing use of GPS in other apps have increased the focus on location. The article painted a fun picture:
Enabled by GPS, mapping data from the likes of Google and the accelerometer technology in modern phones, AR [augmented reality] involves overlaying data on your environment; imagine walking around a city and seeing it come to life with reviews of the restaurants you walk past and Wikipedia entries about the sights you see.
When using Layar, for instance, the picture from your phone’s video camera is overlaid with bubbles of information from Yelp, Wikipedia, Google Search and Twitter. The challenge for such services is to prove their utility: They have the “cool factor,” but can they be truly useful?
You know when that can be useful? When you’re visiting a new city, especially where you don’t speak the language! But it also makes the case that if your town isn’t on the wireless/cell/mobile broadband grid, you are out of luck. Not only will your citizens be handicapped but tourism to town will become more difficult.
What else is hot? Mobile payments. It seems like I’ve heard this before – but I think we’re getting closer. I take that back – Europe is getting closer. In Irish restaurants, you don’t give your credit card to wait staff to take to a back room – all transactions happen at the table. It’s faster, it feels safer and it’s less confusing.
Increased mobile payments will drive a more stringent look at network security. Tucked into the Minnesota Ultra High Speed Task Force report on broadband is a great section on security, vulnerability and reliability. I’m not sure which will come first – but I suspect that increased security and increased mobile payments will feed of each other.
Games, video and cloud computing round out the suspected trends for next year. Ironically, I just saw an article saying that Americans still watch 99 percent of the video they watch on TV – but speaking for my house, I know that’s a trend that’s shifting. As it shifts, we’re all going to need more, better broadband – and not just for 1 video per home. Chris Mitchell wrote a good article on the potential need for broadband (computers and other Internet devices) per household last spring. That’s a glimpse at a growing trend too:
To illustrate: Mom may be checking into the office remotely via VPN, Dad may be uploading video from yesterday’s little league baseball game, Suzy is watching a lecture from Stanford for college credit, Tom is on a vidchat with friends, and grandma is checking in with her doctor.
It’s exciting but it’s daunting – are we prepared as citizens, as communities, as a nation that will drive us to be leaders or even contenders?