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Top 5 Technology Trends for 2013

by Brian O'Connor, Universal Mind / February 14, 2013

Note: This blog entry is available in English only.

As 2013 is upon us, assuming the Zombie Apocalypse rumor doesn’t hold true, I find myself struggling with my Marvel Comics alter ego, “Captain Obvious.” Stating that HTML5 will gain momentum in 2013 would be the equivalent of telling you that the sun will rise tomorrow. JavaScript performance will improve across device platforms and HTML5 will push enterprises to consider it as a core technology platform across all channels—that is, if they haven’t already. There will be a larger migration to HTML5 for mobile apps as capabilities improve- especially for cross platform apps; but native apps won’t disappear, and will always offer best experience. Now that my Captain Obvious persona has left the building, let’s talk about technology trends you will need to consider in 2013.

#1: Cloud Evolution

The cloud evolution is truly becoming transformational. When “the cloud” was first introduced, organizations had access to nearly limitless power, but they had to build their existing systems on top of this new platform.  Since then, we’ve seen the raw power transform into actual services. This started as PaaS (Platform as a Service) and moved toward IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). In both of these scenarios, there was still a significant amount of development that organizations had to engage to leverage these new offerings.

In 2012, we saw the emergence of a new type of middleware that runs in the cloud: MBaaS (Mobile-Backend as a Service).  In this case, the platform has already been created, and organizations can build compelling cross-platform applications with minimal backend development to support them.  Solutions like Parse, StackMob, and even Intel (who is a newcomer to this space) provide a common way to handle identity management, data management, and even native notifications in a cross-platform manner. Contextual Services and SDKs will continue to evolve in this space and augment an already powerful presence.

What this means is that the cloud is really starting to evolve in such a way that it not only provides nearly infinite scalability, but it is also providing decreased time-to-market especially for mobile applications. Enterprises cannot overlook the advantages of an MBaaS solution.

Watch for companies like Parse to explode both in usage and feature offerings in 2013.

For reference: Forrester on MBaaS.

#2: Big Data

Big Data is becoming a huge trend. Big Data is one part of what people are calling Web 3.0.

Big Data + MBaaS + Contextual Services = Web 3.0.

There have been many examples of how this trend is emerging in the second half of 2012. For example, VMWare and EMC have spun off a new organization that will be solely dedicated to making big data discernable and actionable (Actionable Analytics) for companies through a PaaS (platform as a service) offering. In addition, Amazon recently announced RedShift, a big data offering, at its first annual “re:Invent” conference.

The consensus is clear: organizations need a way to store, discern, and act on the large amounts of data they are collecting. Real-time Business Intelligence is the future and the datacenter is evolving to support this need with Big Data.

#3: Mobile-First Enterprise

The term “mobile first” has become a popular buzzword, but unfortunately for most enterprises, that has been as far as it has gone. The evidence is mounting that mobile-first will be adopted by many in the enterprise in 2013.

Consumerization is driving enterprises into a “Bring your own Device” mentality where the cloud and mobile are mutually reinforcing trends. In 2013, mobile devices will pass PCs to be most common Web access tools. By 2015, over 80% of handsets in mature markets will be smart phones. The enterprise has been put on notice.

One example of how we are seeing things change within the enterprise has to do with organizational structure.  Many organizations are beginning to react to the change in needs by moving mobile and web initiatives away from a traditional CIO (Chief Information Officer) position and instead under the control of a CDO (Chief Digital Officer). This is giving existing mobile and web projects within an organization a single rallying point to synchronize the customer experience across digital channels.

We also have seen venture capital spending surge in 2012 on organizations that provide products and services to enable enterprises move to a mobile-first approach.  This was predicted by many in 2011, and it has proven to be true.  Companies like Double Dutch, etc.

For reference: Forbes on Technology Trends

#4: Contextual Experiences

Contextual Design and Contextual Experiences are the future of mobile. These experiences consider a user’s preferences, habits, and situational characteristics (location, time of day, temperature, light exposure, etc…). We fully expect a lot of startups will emerge in 2013 that will tie big data (discussed earlier) with frontline digital experiences. Qualcomm was one pioneer in this space in 2012 that provided an interesting approach to contextual customizations. So-Lo-Mo (Social, Location, Mobility) is already a foundational element in mobile design but look to Contextual Experiences as the next step in this evolution.

For reference: Forrester – The Future of Mobile is Context

#5: Mobile Payments

During 2012 mobile payments became a major player fueled mainly by the team at Square. The integration of Square Wallet at over 7,000 Starbucks locations (with more on the way) was the watershed moment that changed mobile payments from an interesting innovation to a reality that most of us will integrate with in the near future.

There is a hardware element to this as well.  There are currently two models of online payments that are both expected to surge in 2013:  NFC (near-field communication) based models like Google Wallet, and non-hardware solutions like an iOS Passbook. If Apple is able to reach a deal with key retailers and potentially include NFC with the next iPhone, then we could see a rallying point for mobile payments moving forward.  For now, the experiences will probably remain somewhat fragmented, but we will still see huge growth with the current trajectory indicating we will reach $1 trillion in mobile payments by 2017 (if not sooner).

While these will be some of the key technology advancements in 2013, there are many others that should be watched as well. Siri has proved the viability of a voice platform (i.e., Twilio) and you can expect that many new startups will capitalize on this in 2013 to bring this type of experience to more applications.  In addition, real-time HTML5 will continue to expand with the adoption of platforms like NodeJS moving beyond small businesses and into the enterprise. Finally, we will see a continued evolution of products and services that focus on creating cross-platform experiences as organizations attempt to get the biggest digital reach for their buck.

(Image via The Virtual Presenter)





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