Earlier this week I shared 12 of my Top 25 Game-Changing Hard Trends that will cause both disruption and opportunity on a global level. Today, I bring you 13 additional trends to complete the list. Remember, to stay competitive, your organization needs to anticipate the technology trends that are shaping your business and then develop innovative ways to use them to your advantage in your organization. Use this list as a roadmap to be pre-active and determine how your company can profit from these trends now and in the future.
13. 3D Displays for Smart Phones and Tablets will be the breakthrough that will drive wide-scale consumer acceptance of 3D computing. This trend is just starting with hand-held gaming systems and, thanks to the need to visualize ever increasing amounts of rich data, we will see 3D data simulations for the enterprise grow rapidly starting with the military and then to medicine, fashion, architecture, and entertainment to name a few.
14. Augmented Reality (AR) Apps will become more common, adding just-in-time information to our physical world. Simply aim your smart phone camera at a crowded street to find the stores who have the exact products you are looking for. Or, when you are in a store, use your phone's camera and AR app to quickly locate the products you need. Put on a pair of Google Glasses and see the information you need about how to service your lawn mower or install a water filter. Every business and school could find a great use for this powerful tool.
15. Intelligent Electronic Agents using natural language voice commands was launched with Apple's Siri, which was rapidly followed by Android, Microsoft, and others all offering what will become a mobile electronic concierge on your smart devices, including your phone, tablet, and television. Soon retailers will have a Siri-like sales assistant, and maintenance workers will have a Siri-like assistant. The possibilities are endless.
16. Digital Identity Management will become increasingly important to both organizations and individuals as new software allows users to better manage their multiple identities across business and personal networks. Next Generation Biometrics integrated into your smart phone, as Apple has recently done, as well as tablets and other devices, will play a key role in both identity management and security. As this hard trend continues, expect to see multiple biometrics, including facial recognition and voice recognition, used based on the level of security you need.
17. Mobile Banking and Payments using smart phones as an eWallet is already being used in an increasing number of countries and will finally take off on a larger scale thanks to an increasing number of phones with either secure Mobile Banking Apps, and/or Near Field Communications (NFC) chips. More important, banks and credit card companies are already starting to see non-bank competitors jump in to the mobile payment race, including Google Wallet and Apple's Passbook to name a few.
18. Visual Communications takes video conferencing to a new level with programs like SKYPE, FaceTime, and others giving us video communication on phones, tablets, and home televisions. Visual Communications will be integrated with current video conferencing systems, fueling this as a main relationship-building tool for businesses of all sizes. This is the year we will see sales organizations using this to enhance communication and collaboration, gaining new competitive advantages.
19. Enhanced Location Awareness will accelerate the number of business-to-consumer apps for smart phones and tablets that will take geo-social marketing and sales to a new level of creative application, driving rapid growth. In addition, Geo-Spatial Visualization combines geographic information systems (GIS) with location-aware data, RFID (radio frequency identification), and other location-aware sensors (including the current location of users from the use of their mobile devices) to create new insights and competitive advantage. Early enterprise applications include logistics and supply chain to name a few.
20. Smart TV Using Apps and Streaming Entertainment will get a major boost in the marketplace, fueling a major shift in home viewing. Ever wonder how you could have over 500 cable or satellite channels and nothing to watch? You didn't have apps on your TV allowing you to personalize the experience. In addition, tablets are increasingly becoming a viable replacement for the second and third TV in homes. This is the beginning of a major shift that will take place in living rooms globally.
21. Personalized Manufacturing of finished goodsusing 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) will grow exponentially. 3D printers build things by depositing material, typically plastic or metal, layer by layer until the final product is finished. Originally designed to print prototypes, they are increasingly being used to print final products such as jewelry, iPhone cases, shoes, car dashboards, parts for jet engines, prosthetic limbs, human jaw bones, and much more. It allows companies to manufacture one-of-a-kind or small runs of items quickly, locally, and with far fewer costs. We will begin to see Manufacturing as-a-Service (MaaS) begin as designers use CAD software to design a product, digitally send it to 3D Printing company who owns the industrial strength 3D printers, and then they will ship it to the customer.
22. Smart Machines, Smart Homes, Smart Cities, and Smart Cars Will Increasingly Become Aware of Situational Changes and Respond as they get more connected and smarter thanks to embedded and networked sensors combined with other technologies such as GPS. Machine-to-Machine Communications using chips, micro sensors, and both wired and wireless networks will join networked sensors, creating a rapidly growing "Internet of Things" sharing real-time data, performing diagnostics, and making virtual repairs all without human intervention. By 2020, there will be well over a billion machines talking to each other, performing tasks, and making decisions based on predefined guidelines using artificial intelligence. For example, we may not want our cars to drive themselves anytime soon, but we do want them to keep us from having accidents, and they will. A Smart Bridge will communicate to our car that there is ice on the road ahead and slow the car down to a safer speed.
23. Advanced Automation and Robotics will take a giant leap forward after decades of promise but slow growth thanks to exponential advances in processing power, storage, and bandwidth. Also, thanks to better sensors, artificial intelligence, and Siri-like voice communications, robots will work with humans in new and productive ways.
24. Drones For Fire, Police, and Search and Rescue have already proven to be of high value and this hard trend will rapidly grow. Agricultural applications for checking crops, fences, and cattle are also important given the more remote nature of the industry. Expect the U.S. government to limit the use of drones for businesses such as delivery services due to privacy and environmental issues.
25. Energy Storage starts to become a realty as companies such as Tesla start to sell their smart battery systems to homes and businesses who generate some of their own power using solar, wind, or other systems. In addition, as first generation hybrid vehicles get too old for the marketplace, there will be millions of batteries that will still hold enough of a charge to be repurposed into inexpensive energy storage systems. Looking a little further out, as electric and hybrid cars increase in numbers, they will increasingly by plugged into the smart grid when not in use, providing the first national energy storage system.
Spot Your Own Hard Trends
Are these the only game-changing technology-driven trends to be aware of? Of course not. As we all know from past experience, technology is always evolving, resulting in new trends emerging and new products appearing every day. That's why smart organizations stay ahead of the trends by anticipating them, adapting them to their unique environment before the competition does, and ultimately enabling the organization to profit from them. The more you're able to do that, the sooner your organization will reach the next level of success.
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