Did you know that “Tangerine Tango” has been dubbed the top color of 2012? Or, are you aware that New York City, San Francisco and Las Vegas are the top three destinations for the New Year? Or, that food trucks are looking to replace gourmet and specialty food stores? If none of these 2012 stats interest you, perhaps you’ll be intrigued to hear some of the fads marketing agency JWT has predicted in the tech space for next year. So, we ask you to take just a few moments away from writing your New Year’s resolutions, because this list will certainly be worth your while.
Fashion and shopping
2011 saw the emergence of virtual technologies as well as capabilities for shopping on-the-go in the fashion realm. But come 2012, JWT is emphasizing “anywhere, anyway shopping,” in which shoppers will have the ability to simply click and buy products from a PC or mobile device and then retrieve the order at a physical location or have it instantly delivered. In addition to high usability of QR codes, tap-and-pay incentives and contactless payments, JWT also predicts augmented reality will spread as more and more startups enable shoppers to see how they look in garments, without having to physically try them on. Additionally, garments themselves will take their own high-tech turn, as brands start to install devices into clothing to assist in daily activities, such as monitoring sleep patterns and measuring distance for runners.
It may be smart to start building your holiday wishlist for next Christmas, because 2012 is looking to be a milestone year for gadgets, both for business and pleasure. First off, businesses and governments will continue to trade in their hefty notepads for iPads and other tablets, saving on costs and, of course, promoting efficiency. And, parents shouldn’t be too surprised when their kids begin asking for tablets rather than the typical Lego set or Barbie doll. According to JWT, kids’ entertainment is venturing away from the typical toy to devices that combine the digital technology of a tablet with the fun of games.
JWT also mentions iTV – specifically Apple (News - Alert) TV – in its long list of predictions as a disruptive force in the gadget world and how we, as consumers, access and watch television. While it may be speculation for now, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see in the next year the emergence of a TV equipped with the ability to sync with other Apple devices, stream from the Web, and enable gesture controls. On the other hand, a TV and movie-streaming service is supposedly in the works from Skype (News - Alert), Kazaa and Rdio’s co-founder, which will be sure to make the ongoing streaming battle that much more intriguing.
Meanwhile, Kinect-like technology, facial recognition software, and apps targeted at older demographics are also expected to pop up more and more over the next year.
In addition to the the monstrous Facebook (News - Alert) IPO expected to take place earlier next year and potentially value the social networking giant at an astounding $100 billion, the social media landscape is certainly going to continue to evolve in 2012. JWT expects voice-based microblogging capabilities to surface, and the concept of public stories to come to the forefront, be it in the form of Facebook’s all-new Timeline (News - Alert), or Intel’s 2011 “Museum of Me.”
A sharing culture, in which people tend to broadcast what they’re doing at the moment – be it a song, TV show or restaurant meal – will continue to take the world by storm in 2012. Rather than putting together photo albums and building collections of sorts, consumers will increasingly capture, enjoy, share and discuss amongst social networks and, then nonchalantly move on to their next activity.
JWT also touts the idea of the “Alive Web,” a place where people can have experiences together in real-time. As opposed to the “Real-Time Web,” the Alive Web – coined by tech expert Om Malik -- shifts “beyond Web pages and events to occurrences and interactions.” JWT mentions Airtime, a real-time video chat platform spawned from the idea of Chatroulette, in which strangers can mingle in cyberspace and forge new “relationships.”
For those of us who have all sorts of information and memories scattered throughout the Internet, we should feel rather fortunate for newer services – like Prinstagram and Little Printer – that are going to enable us to transform this online data into tangible items like flipbooks, photo albums and magnets.
Mobility and BYOD
2012 will be all about 4G, as fourth-generation wireless communications is expected to blanket most of the globe by the end of next year. Meanwhile, JWT says with the advent of the mobile device as a hub to everything and content now accessible in the cloud, consumers will need to adjust to the “Bring Your Own Device” mentality in which consumers will instead use their own devices to access business’ services, whether it’s Wi-Fi or streaming pay-per-view movies in a hotel room.
Coinciding with the BYOD trend, JWT says as employees increasingly use their personal mobile phones for work, more services will allow people to switch between business and pleasure, while simultaneously keeping the two distinct. For example, AT&Ts Toggle service allows consumers to switch from personal to work mode, without the need for multiple devices.
Of course, we can’t forget about voice control technologies, like breakout voice assistant of the year, Siri. JWT says to watch out for spoken commands to control everything from thermostats to TVs in 2012.
As customer and proprietary data is increasingly stored in the cloud, companies will take additional steps in 2012 to prevent hackers from accessing scores of credit card numbers and pending patents. Major companies – including Google, Verizon, Intel (News - Alert) and Microsoft – have already dedicated themselves to best practices for cloud security by joining the Cloud Security Alliance.
Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin