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TOP 10 TECH Trends to Watch For

By Mariah Brown

It seems like every time you turn around, technology giants such as Apple, Google & Sony are coming out with the next best thing. So how do you keep up with all the new products and trends? Here are 10 popular technology innovations to watch for in the coming months.

10) Video Chat: Video conferencing is the new way to connect with people at home and at work. With the announcement of the Skype and Facebook merger as well as Google + group video chat, more people are talking face-to-face than ever before. Companies are taking advantage of this technology by holding meetings online instead of in person, therefore using time and money more efficiently.

9) Media Tablets: So far, 2011 is the year of the tablet. The International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that 7.2 million units were shipped in the first calendar quarter of 2011 (1Q11) and forecasted 53.5 million units total to be shipped for the year. Apple’s iPad and iPad 2 still dominate the media tablet market with 80%. However, companies such as Sony are trying to increase their market shares by developing hardware and performance innovations, improving network entertainment and increasing cross-device connectivity options to allow music, movies and photos to be transferred wirelessly.

8) Apps: Have you heard the phrase, “there’s an app for that”? Apps are third-party software programs that add features and functions to mobile devices, and there is one for just about everything. Apple’s press release on July 7, 2011 stated that “Over 15 billion apps have been downloaded from its revolutionary App Store™ by more than 200 million iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users worldwide. The App Store offers more than 425,000 apps and developers have created an incredible array of over 100,000 native iPad apps.”

7) Social Media at Work: Social Media has become an effective way for companies to stay connected with clients and prospects. According to the 2011 HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing Report, more than 1/3 of business professionals believe Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their business, an increase of 83% in the past two years. Using Facebook, 67% of B2C and 41% of B2B companies have acquired customers. LinkedIn is also successfulwith 61% of B2B companies and 39% of B2C companies acquiring new clients.

6) QR Codes: These 2D matrix barcodes are popping up everywhere! Businesses are now using “quick response” codes to direct customers to a website, video, etc. Unlike the one-dimensional barcode which can only store a maximum of 20 digits, QR codes can store up to 4,296 alphanumeric or 7,089 numeric characters. According to an MGH study, “72% of smartphone users would be likely to recall an ad featuring a QR code; 65% of smartphone users had previously seen a QR code and, of those respondents, nearly 50% said they had used one.”

5) Mobile Wallet: Google recently announced the Google Wallet Android App which turns your smartphone into a wallet. According to Google.com, the App will allow users to pay with a Citi MasterCard, Google Prepaid Card or Gift Card and redeem rewards, coupons and offers by tapping the smartphone against the payment device. To prevent unauthorized access, users are required to set up a Google Wallet PIN that must be entered before making a purchase. Also, Google Wallet stores the payment card information on a computer chip which is separate from the phone's memory and designed to only allow trusted programs access to payment credentials.

4) 3-D TVs, Tablets & Smartphones: Most people have only seen 3D images in a movie theater, but soon we might all be watching our favorite shows in 3D. LG, Samsung and Panasonic all have 3D TVs available on the market, there is speculation that the iPad 3 will be 3D, and in June 2011 Sprint launched the HTC Evo 3D smartphone.

3) Hands- Free Control: The development of Bluetooth technology in 1994 created the ability for devices to communicate wirelessly within a close proximity. This technology is now going a step further giving users hands-free control of mobile devices through Voice Recognition and Transcription technology. Luckily, this software has greatly improved since it first hit the market. Voice Recognition programs are now designed with various dialects and can even recognize the user’s voice over time.

2) The “Eye” Phone: Internet Glasses might be the next invention to replace smartphones. On June 27that eComm 2011, independent researcher Szymon Slupik predicted that by 2020 the mobile phone will disappear, evolving into a device linking our senses directly with senses of other people or machines. “The phone of tomorrow will be telecoupling us and machines,” said Slupik. So how is this possible? According to Slupik, MEMS(microelectromechanical systems)-based laser projectors display images directly on our retinas without blocking our sight, enabling mixed reality vision; and direct brain wave sensing will provide touchless input.

1) Cloud Computing: Software as a service is one of the fastest growing trends in the IT industry. In the recent Worldwide IT Spending forecast, Gartner anticipated Cloud Services to total $89 billion in 2011, up from $74 billion in 2010, and the market to reach $177 billion by 2015. The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines Cloud Computing as "a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (networks, servers, storage, applications &services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction." Cloud Computing gives companies online access to their data anytime, anywhere and without the cost of maintaining their data in-house.

With all the technology products and services available today, it’s important not to get caught up in the hype of new trends and focus on your specific needs as an individual consumer or company. Define your requirements and then carefully review your options.

 

About the Author
Mariah Brown
, Business Development for Cornerstone Consulting Inc. in Tampa, FL, works with businesses to improve operations, synchronize processes and increase overall profits using integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Cornerstone Consulting Inc. also specializes in E-commerce development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Website design, Mobile Commerce, Online & Social Media marketing, Custom Programming, Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud Computing and Hosting services. For more information, please call 813-321-1300 and visit www.CornerstoneConsultingInc.com.