About Me

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Len focuses on helping small and new businesses succeed through developing appropriate marketing and sales strategies. Len enjoys mentoring, relishes in getting both arms and feet wet in addressing technology, marketing and sales issues. He understands the drivers impacting business results for today and tomorrow including time-to-market, time-to-revenue, marketing, sales channels and social media.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Crystal Ball Gazing About Technology and Its Impact in 2010

I had the opportunity to read a column called 5 Technologies that Could Change Your Life in 2010, written by R. Colin Johnson. I couldn't help myself but had to respond and wanted to share with you both a link to the original very thoughtful article and my own prognostications that appear somewhat critique-like. Of course I had to make my own 5 technology forecast.

It's always fascinating to crystal ball about technology and its impact. I would argue that many of the items described in the original article, which you can read by clicking on the link above, will not have a significant impact in 2010 but should become part of our everyday use within 3 to 5 years.

The first one mentioned is the Kindle and its competitors. I call these early stage technologies. In "Second Foundation," Isaac Asimov described a scene with youngsters at the beach reading from an electronic book. I think Asimov probably had the sand, water and electronics mix problem pretty much licked in his mind but I highly doubt that these current technologies have the ability to replace a paper book form factor when on vacation and going to the beach. Ever tried to read an electronic screen outside on a sunny day? Kindle and its ilk have a long way to go to displace paper.

The second innovation Johnson mentions is touch screen. We have had a run of touch screen technology generational PC tools over the years and have yet to see the technology become ubiquitous. Touch screens are a highly desirable concept but it is interesting to watch them in use. The iPhone and its imitators have got a pretty good handle on the use of this type of technology in a small form factor. Where touch can replace a mouse or other pointing device we have yet to see a product become a must have platform. I think we will see touch panels on electronic devices like thermostats, LCD-specialty displays on appliances but in 2010 beyond mobile phones I don't suspect this technology will have a big impact in the short term.

Johnson talks about the growth in LED usage. I am in total agreement. LED should arrive in 2010 in a big way, from TVs to lighting fixtures, driven by demand for lower energy cost and the pollution issues associated with disposal of fluorescent fixtures.

Johnson talks about 3D printing technology entering wide usage. 3D printing needs to get down to a very economical unit cost before it will become ubiquitous. Currently 3D inkjet technologies are not priced for home users (around $5K at my last look). I see this as a 2 to 5 year item.

Finally, Johnson talks about pico-projection, a technology that remains very early stage in commercial application. I don't see it having a huge impact in 2010.

So here are my choices for 2010 in terms of technology that will impact us in business and in our personal use.

1. Ever cheaper notebook technology will make computing more and more affordable for all. We will see notebook computer pricing drop dramatically in 2010 with pricing approaching $150 to $200 on entry level systems (not netbooks but notebooks). By 2012 I expect we will see the $100 to sub-$100 notebook. See the article that recently appeared in Forbes.

2. WiFi / MiFi will be huge in 2010, almost ubiquitous. Not as sexy to talk about as the stuff in Johnson's article but definitely the phenomenon we will all benefit from globally in the coming year.

3. 3D will enter the living and rec rooms of homes through gaming devices and TV in 2010. In addition we will see, as in the popularity of Wii games, significant growth in interactive gaming that includes full body movement integration. See the article in PhysOrg.

4. In-the-cloud computing applications with HTML5 will bring a significant change to the applications we use on computers in 2010. I am convinced that Office 2010 may be Microsoft's last kick at the can in creating a desktop office tool. The Chrome Operating System will have a significant impact on computing platforms as we strive to see the OS on our PCs become as simple to use as dial-tone is on telephones. Apps running in the cloud will run on our desktops whether we are Internet-connected or not.

5. GoogleWave is a big question mark for me in 2010. I want to see this type of tool begin to create a homogeneous communication environment that replaces our present silos of communication like email, video conferencing, chat and instant messaging. Wave has the potential to do this. I'm not sure if the general public is ready however. We do get used to our tools and forget that computers are all about facilitating work and our lives, not about dictating to us the way we have to work.

If you are not familiar with my other blog postings I invite you to visit my WordPress blog focused on the impact of technology in the 21st century. Although my prognostications are far more futuristic than the year 2010 I invite you to visit that site from time to time as I try to describe the overall advances we will make in the 21st century as technology and humanity become forever entwined.

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