The Future Year of Promise
With so many innovations in the past year, how much innovation can occur in the coming year? With all due respect to the notable advancements of the past year, we see even more for the year ahead:
- Upgrades to almost all tablets introduced before the end of the year – We do not expect any of the existing tablet technology to make it through the coming year without an upgrade. If you are planning on buying a tablet, but don’t have an immediate need, wait for the new generation tablets.
- Higher speed cellular data access – Some systems have been upgraded, but most of us will see faster cellular data in the coming year. You will probably have to acquire a new device to take advantage of the new speeds.
- Expansion of Thunderbolt into many products – Intel should have good success selling this technology to big manufacturers like HP, Dell and Lenovo. After that, most manufacturers will follow.
- Advancements in Touch screens – The release of Windows 8 will drive demand for touch screens in portables and desktops. The age of touch will likely arrive … if you don’t believe that has happened already with the tablets.
- More use of Solid State Drives as prices fall – Economics are the key driver behind more widespread use of solid state drives. As prices fall and capacities increase, using a solid state drive instead of a rotating hard drive will become common.
- Encryption in hardware will become more widespread – A few vendors are offering encryption in hardware today on internal and external hard drives. This will become more common, and increasingly specified for protection for the small price difference.
- Release of the next Windows – This will be a big event for Microsoft. Watch for versions of Windows 8 for both the desktop and for servers.
- Upgrades to all web browsers – After every vendor upgraded their browser last year, expect to see another round of upgrades looking for more speed, protection and ease of use.
- Better business reporting and analytics – The reporting tools that have been developed in the past two years have astounded me. Expect innovations from BizNet Software, BizTools Analytics, ClusterSeven, Rivet, Alchemex and many others trying to make reporting easier.
- Multiple small business SaaS accounting products – Innovation will occur from big players like Sage, new players like Xero and established players like Intuit. It should be a very exciting year in this area.
- Expansion of SaaS applications – Innovation speed will increase even more in the coming year. By the end of the year, we don’t expect a single category of software to NOT have an offering. Think of a point need, and believe that someone has seen that opportunity and is trying to build a solution as you read this.
Technology innovation will continue at an accelerating pace. Developers have used the economic hard times to retreat to develop new hardware and software. The creators of these products are just beginning to release the fruits of their labors. The companies who have not been investing are due for a shock as their position in the market is disrupted by innovation. Most important is that you take time to reflect on how you’d like to improve your own client service as well as business operations.
Think about where technology can help you. Lay out a plan that includes projects that you can execute over a three-year period, and include some rough budget numbers to take advantage of these new tools. If you know what you want, it is likely that the products you need to solve the business problems identified will be released within the year. And that’s innovation that I like … problems solved before I’m ready to buy a solution! All the best in your technology and business in the coming year!