I love reading about modern history and the near future, having my understanding of reality slightly extended by my imagination. This year two of my favourite books were Life magazine’s review of 2000-2009 (link) and the Economist’s “The World in 2011”; their political, economic and social predictions about what could happen in the next year (special web site here).
Last night was the annual review by the TFT London team (more info about the TFT here) about social media trends in 2010. Technology is now an everyday piece of our lives, deciding to use it to do something is no great surprise these days. What the TFT team looked at was how technology has been used to close the gap between users, whether they were consumers, clients and just other “users”. No one knew Twitter would be as important as it is today, let alone as popular as it is, two years ago; can we predict what the next Twitter needs to be, let alone what it will be?
Highlights for me from the TFT Trends of 2010
I got through most of the year thinking I’d never need one. I even went to the Apple store to convince myself I didn’t one, instead I realised what I’d been missing out on for so long and bought one. Now when I use an application I directly connect with its interface, I’m not separated from it by a mouse and keyboard. If I want to make a photo bigger I touch the photo itself with my fingertips, what more could you want?
The App Store
Blackberry’s Appworld never had anything in it I wanted while everyone I knew who had an iPhone was talking about the latest app which was great today but forgotten tomorrow. Once I got an iPad I saw how apps which were so trivial and commoditised could change the user experience so much. Previously downloading applications sounded boring, that was what geeks sat at home doing, but the concept of an app store made it cool and trendy. We could pay a few pounds and download something that’d amuse us either for 5 minutes or 5 years, it didn’t matter. As a result there are now dozens of App Stores, Apple’s, BlackBerry’s, Microsoft’s, Nokia’s……the trend took off in 2010.
2010 wasn’t really the year the concept of Twitter made it big as it already had, but it was the year it began playing a part in our everyday lives. Paul at TFT spoke about Matt Bagwell’s ( blog | Twitter) customer service debates with Pizza Express involving Twitter and then how the General Election was conscious of the Twitter audience and started interacting with it. So while Twitter may have been around for a while it was 2010 that saw it become a part of everyday life for non-techy people.
Winner of 2010 for me
The iPad, never before have I been so surprised and impressed with something when I was expecting such disappointment.
Turning the mirror into 2011
Having looked in my mirror back at 2010, I’m now going to look forward into 2011. What do I think will be the key changes in my world in 2011?
No more old free media
The Times was infamous, or famous, for charging for access to its content online in 2010. Stats came out showing how they lost most of their online readers and how the Telegraph picked them up. Well in 2011 the Telegraph will start charging for online access as well, so will the New York Times. The Economist has also just launched its iPhone and iPad editions, along side its existing web version, again charging the same for digital media as they do for printed media. I suspect this trend will continue as the media content owners realise that smartphones and tablets have been bought in large enough quantities to create viable marketplaces for their content.
The creation and rise of new free media sources
As the traditional and valued publishers of printed content begin charging for their content online there will be a vacuum in the free media marketplace created. Not everyone will want to pay to read a newspaper or magazine online so I predict new media titles will beging appearing which will fill this vacuum but not in ways we were expecting or with the traditional form of content we were expecting.
Blackberry will define their image for the next few years one way or the other
When Blackberry launch their competitor to the iPad, the Playbook, they will either get the reaction they were hoping for – mass adoption in the part of the business world who thought themselves too corporate to buy or need an iPad, or realise that the Apple logo on an iPad no longer means “for home use only” and anyone who liked the idea of a tablet already owns one. The spec of the Playbook fills some gaps the iPad has but falls short in some others. The final answer for adoption will depend on the timing of the iPad 2 release and the apps available for the Playbook, either way I don’t expect it to be an amazing success, but who am I?
The rise of the Private Cloud
A techie concept to end on, but I suspect in 2011 after a few years of “phrase-abuse” we’ll finally see true private cloud solutions becoming reality and the way IT platforms are deployed, but more importantly managed, will move everyone on from the per-server thinking we’re used to. Starting the wave of change will be EMC’s VCE vBlock, the Intalio alliance will quickly have a competing solution, but by the end of the year everything will be labelled as “Private Cloud Ready”. Open source DIY based solutions will kick-start the small business end of the market before Microsoft jump in with their own out-the-box solution. We shall see.