Back in the 80s I had computer problems and had to buy a new hard drive and some more memory. The memory stick was a wopping 1Mb and cost $100! I don't remember the cost of the equally wopping 80Mb HD (can't even get Windows on that now!), but I remember thinking to myself, "How will I ever fill up that much disk space?" How times, and technology, has changed. And changed our lives.
Remember these? Yes, that's aging me to say I do, in fact, I had a couple of them. And that was only a decade before my 80Mb HD. In the day when I carried my bank book to the bank with my 50c to deposit (and that was a bunch of money back then), desktop computers were few and far between, and the closest we got to smartphones or tablets was watching Star Trek... "Beam me up Scotty!" Now, a recent study of just under 100 business executives has shown 11% of respondants had 5 or more mobile devices.
1. Continued mobile online growth.
As more people have more mobile devices, more interactivity will happen online. Expect to see the marketshare of desktops, and, I predict, even tradition sized laptops decline as more switch to their smaller counterparts, such as netbooks, or to tablets. This means better design and functionality of a businesses web prescence.
2. Social media integration.
The world of social media is already huge, but it will continue to grow as new sites pop up and old ones die or are bought up (as in Yahoo buying Tumblr, a somewhat recent SM player). With SM growth will come a bigger integration between websites and the SM giants. However, look at it to start to become a cost to not only big advertisers and companies, but the little ones too. Facebook, last year, was making noises about charging for business FB pages. Let's face it, if there's money to be made, someone will do it.
3. Web TV and education.
These 2 could be separated into their own categories, but I see TV on the net being an integral part of bringing education too. If surgeons are doing operations remotely, then it's no great leap to teach the same way. As web TV develops, then it will become a perfect platform for education. One area that needs work to make this area expand is bandwidth. Streaming ties up big amounts of bandwidth and this will need to be addressed before web TV-for-the-masses and online education can really grow.
4. Online sales up, bricks and mortar down.
Already there are many retailers who don't exist as a bricks and mortar store, and many more will follow suit. It's cheaper online, requires less staff, much is automated, and you're open for business 24/7. I watch with curiosity the still constant growth in retail space building and wonder, "Why?"
There are some exciting times ahead, but also some pitfalls too as we embrace technology and connectivity more each day. The biggest threat I see to our cyber-life is cyber-terrorism. Anyone involved in the web world in business will have heard that, this year, the rise in cyber-attacks has exploded, many coming from just one country in what looks pretty obviously like a concerted, planned attack. Think if you lost your phone, tablet or laptop and the data you would lose, not to mention the inconvenience. Now think about America without connectivity, without EFT POS, even for a couple of hours. We are now so reliant on our computer devices, we no longer own them..... they own us!