Sunday, January 20, 2013

Predictions for 2013

Looking back at what I predicted for 2012, I'm happy that most of them except mobile payments were bang on. This year I think it will be the year of marriage of physical and digital world and so my predictions are going to be in that space. I may also repeat a lot of things I talked about in 2012 but with a slight twist.

Alternative to Traditional Banking

I said Mobile Payments will pick up in 2012. Well there was a lot of activity in this area last year but I think it will take some more time for this to become mainstream. 2017 if I go by the Forrester report. I don't think carrying a wallet is a big problem but I really don't mind transacting in the stores using my phone as it may make one thing lesser for me to carry and secure. I would like to manage my credit card payments on the cloud, preferably Google, and use it anywhere (online or offline) and have a better experience at that than the ones SBI, ICICI and Amex gives. There are other advantages also by doing this.

Get ready to leave your bank.I think the most important step towards this would be to prepare the user to a whole new way of managing money on a non banker's cloud and other technologies like NFC without changing much. Google has realised that and thats why they are going to come with the Google Wallet Card. Square and Paypal has people doing this already. Apple's Passbook is also first trying to introduce the idea of having passes / cards digitally. I think the most ambitious and promising in terms of end to end experience in this space is Simple.

The Age of Context aka Serendipity

As predicted Google made a mark with Google Now in 2012. Google Now is actually a context aware search engine that searches through public and personal data like Gmail and gives answers, reminders, instructions and recommendations most of the time without asking. As predicted Google also made a mark on their voice capability on Jelly Bean and Google Now. But instead of being a talking personal assistant, voice was just a part of the entire serendipitous experience of Google Now. This is indeed going to improve in 2013 especially when Key Lime Pie comes out in May.

A better life with every search.Facebook is next in the line provided their Graph Search works as promised and also my friends and I enter enough information in the form of 'Likes'; 'Checkins', 'Life Events' and other Profile Information. Google is better positioned here as it can understand my favorite brands by just looking at my google search history and also my purchase invoices on Gmail. It also knows my location if I use Android along with many other things. I dont have to explicitly tell Google about it. However Google doesn't really have a lot of information about my friends. Thats where the disconnect is.

Is there a company that can bridge this gap and be a winner in this space? There is one company and thats CloudMagic. CloudMagic will come with a substantial announcement on this by 2013 end.

Internet of everyday things

In 2013 we will see more and more everyday things around us re imagined powered by internet without having to add another screen and crappy embedded interfaces but managed by our existing devices with ever evolving web interfaces. Nest the thermostat that learns is a start.

Nexus Q will make a come back towards the end of 2013 but only after Google Play Music Store gets enough music and users around the world. Its a good example of how my home music system can connect to the internet to access my playlist I otherwise use on other devices. My iPod dock right now is device dependent. Also management of the playlist while the iPod is docked is a pain. Have you tried searching on iPod Classic? But then how will Nexus Q know whose playlist should it play? Thats when NFC comes into the picture. When I touch my Nexus phone on Nexus Q it actually authenticates my credentials for Q to connect to the net and get my playlist. This will also make my phone and Q pair and make the phone a remote control for Q over the air. This can also be combined with Google TV box. But we have to wait and watch if two Turkeys will make an Eagle.

Listen to your world, talk to the Internet.What I'm more excited about is things like Twine. This Kickstarter project is a small square box with Wi-Fi and a whole array of expandable sensors that emails, tweets or texts when a event is triggered. This can be programmed using a web interface on any device that can connect to internet. Eg It can be put in your washing machine drum and program to send you an email/text when the drum stops. It can be attached to your door to let you know when the door is opened.

Then there is SmartThings that makes it easy to connect the things in your physical world to the Internet. You can monitor, control, automate, and have fun with them from anywhere - at home, office, or on the go. It's also a platform so that independent developers can make physical things connect to the SmartThings Hub and interact with other Smart end-devices controlled by a smart app on your phone. Eg If i have a smart switch thats connected to my Geyser in the bathroom and a pressure sensor on my bed, both connected to the SmartThings Hub, I can create a rule saying "When the Bed Switch senses a movement and the weight decreases" (I woke up) at around "5 AM Weekdays" "Switch On the Geyser Switch. Or I can program a more simpler "Open Lock" when authenticated by my Phone physically (using NFC). More and more developers are now enabled to develop these Smart End-devices and Apps and submit to the SmartThings marketplace. And the possibilities are endless. I had talked about this in 2009 about a door that can tweet.

Interestingly Android@Home was Google's platform to make everyday things connected but it disappeared without trace. But I think Google is going to put all its energy behind +Project Glass this year.

2013 will hear more products that marry physical and digital.

Year of Re-Imagining!

Everyone's Private Driver.More than technology innovations, there will be real world innovations using technology; and thats what I meant by Re-Imagining. Like how Uber and Ola Cabs re imagined Cab services. How SilverCar re-imagined car rental. There is more scope. May be re imagine Restaurants? Shopping? Travel?
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