New Year’s day may have come and gone but it’s still early enough in 2012 to set forth a few more predictions before the year really gets underway. The latest prophecy comes from the tech experts at Frog, who have foreseen a future that includes biomimicry, a smarter use for Facebook and better mobile phones for the rest of the world. [via Fast Co.]
12. Connected Cities
People can learn about and even experience a place before ever setting foot in it. Our Austin studio recently hired a creative director from Brooklyn who used the fly-through experience in Google maps to get a feel for a neighborhood where he was home shopping. As this mountain of data becomes more accessible, we will find ourselves more connected with information, with each other, and with the city that surrounds us.
11. Taking Computers Out of Computing
Voice recognition technology has finally hit its tipping point of capability, and the stage is being set for a generation of users to start assuming voice control, just as touch control is now assumed for any screen. But the spoken word is only a fragment of any conversation. Computer vision–especially depth-sensing cameras–will be able to pick up nonverbal cues such as gesturing or body language that complete human communication. When voice and gesture comprehension are paired, humans will be able to address technology naturally, without command jargon. The tactical steps being taken in 2012 are to “design the human” as the primary interface device in support of that.
10. The Reductive Social Network: Technology Finally Gets Personal
Our Internet personalities have evolved into amplified personas that aren’t truly us. The current fervor around cloud computing only exacerbates the problem: Now, my 10,000 digital photos are in the ether, but am I any more emotionally connected with them and sharing them with my three closest friends in a meaningful way? This is about culling from the terabytes and sharing with the single digits. In 2012, product companies will deliver new products that begin narrowing the social circle and capturing intimacy and authenticity.
9. Gadget Convergence Will Lead to Specialization
I read countless blog posts proclaiming that dedicated devices, like the camera and the watch, will rapidly shrivel and die. Instead, I think new technologies will provide opportunities for them to get better. When users purchase a dedicated device, they are gravitating towards products with higher quality and better design to elevate their experience. It turns out that the convergent device is killing the commodity digital product while forcing everything else to improve. This is presenting companies and brands with an opportunity to do what designers love: Make things better!
8. Rein in the Clouds!
We’re rapidly moving into a technology space where mobility is becoming less about a set of devices and more about the pervasive mist of data that we all generate with every interaction on the Internet. Managing, securing, and understanding this data will play a huge part in technology over the next few years. Moreover, making that data comprehensible to the consumer is key. The question has never really been, Is this possible? but rather, When will we have an ecosystem of compelling and useful devices and services that will integrate seamlessly into people’s lives? We think that time is finally arriving in 2012.
7. Reputation-Enhanced Lending and Trading Goes Mainstream
While logging in to third-party websites using your Facebook identity is now commonplace, we are beginning to see person-to-person exchanges making use of social networks to broker trust. For example, before you stay at someone’s spare bedroom via Airbnb, you have to sign in with your profile. I recently rented someone’s house in Toronto for a few days, and between our respective social networks, we found enough friends, relatives, and colleagues in common for him to lend me the property with confidence. In 2012, this reputation-enhanced lending and trading will become mainstream. We will lease, barter, and trade with relative strangers, banking on their reputations and connections.