Top Tech Trends to Watch in 2013
It’s 2013, and we still don’t have flying cars, time machines or teleportation devices – but we live in an increasingly digital, increasingly connected world. We scoured the Internet to see what trends experts say will shape how we work and play this year.
More mobile payments
Will 2013 be the year a simple tap of our smartphone handles our purchases? U.S. tech experts certainly think so, and the technology is already taking off in other countries. Canada may be lagging behind, but the first mobile payment app launched here this past fall. Rogers Communications’ and CIBC’s suretap has its limitations, but experts see it as a sign of things to come. According to the Rogers Innovation Report, nearly 80 per cent of smartphone users predict they’ll make more mobile payments in the months ahead — and 43 per cent think the traditional wallet is on its way out.
Of course, the idea of going cashless isn’t new — check out this ideaCity 2012 talk from David Wolman, for example — but the technology is finally falling into place.
Smartphone wars will heat up
We’ll see tablet wars too
We’ll also use our tablets for more tasks, and experts already report a rise in e-reading and video streaming. Whether Apple’s smaller, cheaper iPad mini will be a game changer is up for debate, but experts note more companies are getting into the market. E-readers are already turning tablet with an increasing array of features, and newcomer Microsoft recently introduced its new offering, Surface.
Another emerging trend: laptop/tablet hybrids that combine the best of both worlds.
TVs get smarter
Tapping into integrated ecosystems
Of course, the competition isn’t just about the hardware. This year, experts say it’s all about the ecosystem — that is, the content, apps and services that are packaged with the mobile devices. (Not to mention how these devices work with your computer, TV, stereo car and other wireless gizmos.) We’ve already seen hardware and software producers like Apple and Google get into the content game, but now content sellers such as Amazon are getting into hardware and software.
As you likely know, these ecosystems don’t “play nice” with each other so it’s hard to pick and choose. Consider it a test of customer loyalty in an ever-growing marketplace.
Cloud-based applications are also predicted to be big this year for both businesses and households.
More things will be connected
3D printers go mainstream
Remember our introduction to 3D printing? In his talk at ideaCity 2012, robotics expert Hod Lipson predicted the technology “is going to touch every industry” — and it seems other tech experts are dreaming big too. In a recent article in the Huffington Post, one UK tech expert even predicts that 3D printing could “be the biggest revolution in manufacturing since Henry J Ford perfected the moving assembly line” — if a printing company can bring the technology into the mainstream.
3D printers are already on the market, as are designs to “print” a variety of items right in your own home. Are we on the cutting edge of a revolution in manufacturing? We’ll have to wait and see.
New user interfaces change how we interact
Do you find current interfaces too cluttered with buttons, banners, textures and colours? Experts predict a return to the basics of good design. The “no frills” approach will improve the user experience and eliminate design faux pas like items imitating their real life counterparts — such as calendars with a paper texture or online agendas with leather stitching.
How we interact with devices is changing too. Experts say to expect touch screens to appear in more places, and gesture technology will move beyond game systems and research labs.
Niche social networks continue to thrive
Think Facebook and Twitter have gotten a little too big? This year, we may see more movement away from networking sites that are trying to be everything to everyone. The consensus from experts is niche social networking sites will continue to grow as people look to come together for a common interest or purpose — without all the distraction. Sites such as goodreads and Ravelry are just a few of hundreds of exemplars. (We even have our own site, Zoomers.ca.)
If you’re worried about memorizing more passwords, many of these sites let you login with your existing social media accounts.
More advanced cyber security attacks
As technology becomes more sophisticated, so do attempts to use it for harmful and illegal purposes. As we told you in New cyber threats predicted for 2013, there’s a lot of ugliness ahead. Some threats keeping experts up at night include nearly impossible to eradicate ransomware, mobile malware and cyber conflict. These attacks could hit your computer, mobile devices and online accounts — and they could impact companies and organizations with whom you deal.
Thankfully, there is a silver lining. Experts also predict companies will become more proactive about cyber security.
Sounds like a busy year ahead? You bet! Predictions aren’t guarantees, and it may be a few years before we see the full impact of these technologies. Still, it should be interesting to see if and how these trends pan out.
Sources: CNN.com, Forbes.com, Huffington Post UK, ITBusinessEdge.com, McAfee, Tech Radar, the Vancouver Sun, the Washington Post