Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Emerging trends

Another Nick Jones session early this morning, on emerging trends  - what's hot, and what should we be looking out for. 

1800 different technologies are currently being tracked by  Gartner on their hype cycles. We need to be good at tracking technologies, and focussing our attention on the most relevant ones. Also need to be aware that opportunities don't come from technology alone but from the intersection of technology and society. 

Seem trends to watch:

Lifelogging -Lots of examples, including twitter where  200m tweets per day are sent.  Being driven by ubiquitous CCTV and mobile phone camers, instant upload to social media, Image tagging and search, cheap storage.
Lots of business opportunities, especially in data analysis and predictive modelling. 

Technology in healthcare, including  on-body monitoring technologies. Bluetooth 4 allows mobile phone to talk to low power sensors. Eg blood pressure sensors.  This is leading to new preventative services and analysis of risk.  Also a trend for individuals to take more responsibility for their own health.  Evidence based healthcare a trend to track.

Internet of things. More a concept than a technology, based on  embedded low cost sensors and low cost wireless communications or near field communication.  Whole generation of new, smart products. You can already buy intelligent plant pots where plants tweet when they need watering. In the near future there'll be  10s of billions of smart objects.

Predictive analytics. Passive data capture through sensors, cameras, social media, and real time processing. Lot of interest for sales and marketing, hyperpersonalisation, healthcare.

Natural user interaction making the experience of interacting with technology more friendly. Multitouch and gesture recognition. New displays including 3D. Natural language systems. 

3D printing. Costs are falling and a personal  3d printer is now about € 2500. Is going to revolutionise manufacture. Recently in the  UK a drone aircraft has been designed, printed, assembled and flown in a week.

Robotics will have a  massive impact, especially in healthcare.

Gamification.  A deep understanding of motivation and reward and behavioural design into applications. Lovely example of a speed camera in California where at the end of each month, all drivers who have been under the speed limit are entered into a lottery to win the fines of the people speeding. 

All organisations need to decide which technologies to track. Are tools you can use including the  Hype cycles. If you have a high tolerance to risk, adopt technologies at the beginning of the hype cycle. High risk can give high reward, so you can be selectively aggressive. 

Must have an emerging trends and technologies group which must talk to the business about how they can be used.   Conduct a regular trend scan. Be proactive and follow a process. 

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