This post also appeared in The Tennessean, where Concept Technology has a bi-weekly feature in the Business section.
In my last entry, I highlighted four technology trends I expect to encounter in 2013: IT integration into business strategy, device continuity, mobile device management and privacy (or lack thereof).
Unable to narrow the list of disruptive and emerging technologies, services and issues down to a single hand, here are four more predictions to consider.
Cloud computing is nothing new. By now, most internet users rely on the cloud — whether they know it or not — to store, access or share any number of files and conversations. In 2013, companies can expect to see more and more business applications move to the cloud.
One indication of this trend — Google, Amazon and Microsoft all recently reduced the pricing on their cloud storage options to lure businesses to invest.
Now that the cost of 3D printing is decreasing, we will start to see 3D printing services being offered to businesses, and consumer-grade 3D printers ready for the market. This means that you will soon be able to send a digital 3D file to a service provider that will print and deliver your product to you.
Once fully realized, 3D printing will transform manufacturing. The process someone takes to create anything — from furniture to a guitar or a child’s toy — will completely change.
For this to happen though, there are some weighty piracy and intellectual property issues that will need to be sorted out first.
The Ideal Viewing Experience
Call me optimistic, but something significant could finally happen in the living room in 2013. It could be the long-awaited Apple iTV, or perhaps Google, Microsoft or Apple will acquire TiVo.
Entertainment technology should at least take steps toward the ideal viewing experience this year, which includes a setup consisting of a single device that lets you both record and download any content you want at any time via a single interface.
Who’s most likely to take these steps, you ask? I’m putting my money on Apple.
Last year, for the first time in 55 years, GE opened a new assembly line in its Louisville-based Appliance Park. Whirlpool and other larger manufacturers also are starting to bring previously offshored factory jobs back to the United States.
A recent article published by The Atlantic outlined five reasons for the return of manufacturing jobs to the United States:
- Increased cargo-shipping costs
- Greater availability of natural gas within the U.S.
- An increase of Chinese wages
- The decline of American unions
- An increase in American productivity
Whatever the reason, a reversal of offshoring would be a welcome trend this year.
Taken as a whole, the technology trends we’ve outlined over the past month share some common traits. Many highlight software or help connect a user’s experience across multiple devices.
All the predictions are disruptive, and most carry some policy and security concerns that you will have to wade through as a consumer, employer or business.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jabella/8129250268