As a tech PR agency, there it is little surprise that we are constantly looking for the next big trends in the industry. As is our tradition at this time of year, we’ve asked a couple of our favourite tech journalists to share their thoughts on what we’re likely to be talking about in 2012.
Feel free to add your own (or disagree with the following) in the comments!
Duncan Geere, Wired UK
“The tech trend of 2012 is going to be interconnectedness. Mobile apps will talk to desktop apps, desktop apps will talk to tablet apps, and tablet apps will start talking to your hi-fi, shower, watch and fridge. The internet of things is still some way off, but it’s getting easier and easier to add network connectivity into the cheapest devices. The challenge, of course, will be getting them to talk in the same language.”
Stephen Pritchard, Freelance tech journo and contributor to Financial Times
“I’d say all bets are off due to the economic situation. But in several sectors there’s a lot of effort going in to modelling and preparation for a possible break up of the euro – not just banks but FMCG, manufacture and retail. I’ve heard it could be a bigger IT task than Y2K.”
Milo Yiannopoulos, formerly Telegraph, now co-founder, The Kernel
“PayPal is about to get a nasty shock. In 2012, Facebook Credits will become the currency of the internet. Bitcoin and Ven haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible with online payments and a ready user base of 750m+ users are about to change the way online financial transactions are thought about and conducted. Think of the entire internet as one giant app circumscribed by a persistent Facebook login and virtually frictionless micro-payments. You’ll soon be spending without even realising it: on content, on web apps, on products… you name it.”
Joe Cox, What Hi-Fi
“Apps for everything and on all sorts of platforms, more affordable tablets, smarter and smarter TVs and hopefully hi-res audio.”
Paul Markillie, Innovation Editor at The Economist
“Old technologies have a habit of fighting back. Expect the new generation of electric and hybrid vehicles to come under increasing competition from cars with petrol and diesel engines that are cleaner and more frugal. With two- or three-cylinder power units and other tricks, small cars capable of 70-80 mpg will make the cost of ownership of electric cars less attractive. There could be news too of 100mpg cars. But the race with electrics will hot up again when a second generation of lithium-polymer batteries arrives.”
Gordon Macmillan, Brand Republic
“Google+ will be worth watching in 2012. I think it will surprise many with stellar growth. Brand pages have the potential to become quite powerful particularly as they are tied to search and will score highly on search results pages. The other challenge for social media will be the explosion in cheap smartphones with many doing more and more of their social networking on the move. There is no way at present to monetize that. It is an issue for all, but one that Facebook and Twitter will need to tackle.”
Malcolm Penn, Future Horizons
“The big news for 2012 will be the hi tech equivalent of 2011’s Greece and Euro-bust moment; the year when all of the balance sheet focused chip firms finally spiral down the plug hole. Consistent under–investment by firms who ought to have known better, in both R&D and manufacturing capacity, will start to bite home in the second half of the year, leaving those firms lacking in long-term vision and sound investment planning wondering what hit them.”
Jessica Twentyman, Freelance tech journo and regular FT contributor
“I’d expect cloud computing, big data and mobile devices/apps to take up most of my time in 2012.”
Chris Lake, Econsultancy
“I guess my main prediction is that more brands will continue the slow march towards improving customer retention through providing better levels of service.
“Social media platforms continue to force the issue, but rather than worrying about complaints on Twitter, brand managers are increasingly waking up to fact that great service = customer satisfaction = loyalty = advocacy = free marketing. In this networked age recommendations are more powerful than ever.
“We know all about ‘earned media’. I think there’s something to be said for ‘earned marketing’. To hell with churn! Customers are for keeping!”
Ronan Shields, New Media Age
“Location will be a big concern among advertisers and regulators alike. Already we’re seeing Google introduce factors like distance into its AdWord auctions and I think that being targeted based on your location may sound a bit too ‘Big Brother’ for the general public. This, in my opinion, will spring the public authorities, such as Ofcom, into action and my guess is that self-governing bodies such as the ASA may try to pre-empt this.
“As regards movements in the mobile devices sector, I’d expect Android’s rise to continue into 2012 and perhaps begin to plateau as we hit 2013 but more interesting is how the dynamics within this segment play out. HTC and Samsung can claim the lion’s share of the Android market but as Chinese players who can compete on price, such as ZTE and Huawei, enter the market surely this will be a disruptive force.
“Also, the mobile phone market is set to see the return of the Sony brand as the Japanese company completes its buy-out of its previous bedfellow Ericsson. Personally speaking, this is what I’m most looking forward to in the mobile market in 2012.
“Meanwhile in the background Google’s $12.5bn takeover of Motorola is on course for completion. This is another disruptive development given that Google had previously allied itself most closely to Samsung for handset production, just how it will affect the latter’s desire to be an Android manufacturer remains to be seen.
“Elsewhere, it will be interesting to see how traditional media companies, such as broadcasters, adapt their ‘multi-screen strategies’ to incorporate the growing number of tablet devices finding their way to the UK’s living rooms.”