2014 Trend Report
 

2014 Trend Report

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Every year, Webbmedia Group applies its trendspotting framework to surface the most important emerging trends in digital media and technology for various organizations within our client portfolio. ...

Every year, Webbmedia Group applies its trendspotting framework to surface the most important emerging trends in digital media and technology for various organizations within our client portfolio. This annual Trend Report is a short overview of the 25 trends we’ll be exploring in depth in 2014. We're especially excited about startups in the native and intelligent ads space, digital innovations coming from BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), a host of new sensors and personal cloud services, experiments in community-developed (vs user-generated) content and the possibilities for smarter cities and government.

Each page represents a trend and four important pieces of information.

Key Takeaway: Short, easy explanation of this trend so that you can internalize it and discuss with your colleagues.
Examples: Real-world use cases you can expect to see in 2014.
Implications: What this trend means for you and your business in the coming year.
Watchlist: Notable companies, founders and researchers working in this trend space.

We recommend using our 2014 Trend Report as part of your organization’s ongoing strategic digital assessment and planning process, asking questions such as:

Which of our customer/ constituent/ member/ grantee segments does this trend address?
How are our competitors/ related agencies harnessing these trends (or failing to do so?)
Where does this trend create potential new partners or collaborators for us?
How does this trend impact our industry and all of its parts?
How will our customer wants, needs and expectations change as a result of this trend?
How does this trend inspire us?
How does this trend help us think about innovation?

We hope this becomes great fodder for discussion within your organization. And of course, we'd like Webbmedia Group to be a part of that conversation.

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    2014 Trend Report 2014 Trend Report Presentation Transcript

    • 2014 TREND REPORT What’s new, what’s next and what will impact your digital strategy most in the coming year.
    • 2014 Trend Report 1. Introduction 16. Privacy 2. Trend Framework 17. Community-Developed Content 3. How to Use Our Report 18. Smart(er) Government 19. Smart Cities 4. Anticipatory Computing 20. BRIC Economies 5. SVPAs 21. Space 6. XaaS 22. 3D Printing 7. Personal Cloud Services 23. Robotics 8. Internet of Things 24. Digital Credit and Currencies 9. Sensors 25. Wearables 10. Microlocation 26. Macro Trend: Screens 11. Platforms vs Publishers 27. Macro Trend: Video 12. Native Advertising/ Content 28. Macro Trend: Data 13. Intelligent Ads 14. Late Adopters 29. Next Steps 15. Leaking 30. About Webbmedia Group
    • Introduction Every year, Webbmedia Group applies its trendspotting framework to surface the most important emerging trends in digital media and technology for various organizations within our client portfolio. This annual Trend Report is a short overview of the 25 trends we’ll be exploring in depth in 2014, and we’re making it available to the public. We're especially excited about startups in the native and intelligent ads space, digital innovations coming from BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), a host of new sensors and personal cloud services, experiments in community-developed (vs user-generated) content and the possibilities for smarter cities and government. We’ll continue to research these 25 trends as well as to attend meetings with key insiders, participate in working groups, speak at industry conferences, and collaborate with startups and developers in the coming year. We anticipate adding to this list of trends, too, as we advise our clients on the future of news, publishing, marketing, work, cities, libraries, governing, transportation, financial services, retail, sports, health, legal technology and more. The next section explains how you can use Webbmedia Group’s annual Trend Report within your own organization.
    • 2014 Trend Report Framework Actionable Blueprint Trendspotting Methodology Core Trend Why That Trend Matters How To Act
    • This 2014 Trend Report is an actionable blueprint to help inform your company’s digital strategy. Webbmedia Group’s 2014 Trend Report focuses on 25 key organizing principles that collectively profile the emerging digital media landscape. In this report, you’ll learn why they matter and understand how your organization should act in the coming months.
    • Our trends are surfaced using an innovative scouting and analysis methodology. Our trends framework incorporates research and observation from multiple vantage points and across various industries. We also look to see how innovation in one industry might inspire and inform another. Our foci include emerging consumer* behaviors, macroeconomic shifts, demographic imbalances, changes within government policy, fresh concepts in digital programming, upcoming accelerator classes and more. *We define “consumers” to mean those using or requiring an organization’s services, whether they are constituents, patrons, members or patients.
    • This report includes 22 core trends and 3 macro trends to focus on in 2014. The beginning of this report offers 22 core trends in technology. We conclude with three macro trends: Screens, Video and Data. These three macro trends include numerous key stakeholders, startups, and their own digital ecosystems, and they offer a number of important opportunities and challenges.
    • Explaining why these trends matter. Rather than simply offering an overview of the trends we think will matter in 2014, our annual report takes the additional step of explaining why and how these trends will impact your organization. In some cases, you will see very specific use cases and descriptive illustrations, so that you can more clearly envision the potential outcomes of these trends during the next 12 months.
    • Our 2014 Trend Report explains how your organization should act in the coming year. Our annual Trend Report provides a strong opportunity for your organization to ensure that it is better positioned to fend off future business disruption and competitive threats while simultaneously identifying new collaborators and partners. Most importantly, it should spark new ideas and opportunities to help your organization innovate and grow.
    • How To Use Our Report Each page represents a trend and four important pieces of information. • Key Takeaway: Short, easy explanation of this trend so that you can internalize it and discuss with your colleagues. • Examples: Real-world use cases you can expect to see in 2014. • Implications: What this trend means for you and your business in the coming year. • Watchlist: Notable companies, founders and researchers working in this trend space. We recommend using our 2014 trends report as part of your organization’s ongoing strategic digital assessment and planning process. Webbmedia Group advises numerous organizations on digital trends using a crossdisciplinary approach. In addition to this annual report, our clients receive a monthly list of the up-and-coming founders, startups, apps, companies and partnerships that will create opportunities and/ or challenges within and across industries. As we keep our clients abreast of changes in the digital media space, we engage them in ideation and discussion to launch experiments, test new ideas and develop practical strategies for the future.
    • 2014 Trends
    • TREND: Anticipatory Computing Key Takeaway: Anticipatory Computing apps and algorithms observe the last few minutes of your thought process in order to predict the next 10 seconds. Examples: This past year, we saw the first anticipatory computing opportunities in Google Now, which originally launched as part of the Android operating system, and in an app called MindMeld. In the hands of journalists, these and the other emergent anticipatory computing applications can be harnessed as powerful reporters’ assistants. As just one example, Google Now can query calendars, traffic, weather, and news to deliver just the right information at the right time. MindMeld is an app from Expect Labs. Implications: If apps can anticipate our next thoughts, then algorithms should allow for two interesting possibilities in 2014: predicting breaking news and delivering highly personalized content to each consumer. Our interests are temporal, as is the news cycle. But those two don’t always align perfectly. If you think about it, the exciting promise of Google Now and MindMeld is in the ability to anticipate what content might interest us next. It eviscerates the need for related content, since ostensibly all of the content we’d be delivered is relatable only to each one of us individually. As a result, news organizations have thrilling opportunities in the months ahead to supercharge the reporting process and to personalize content in ways we have never seen before. The future of news is anticipatory. Watchlist: Expect Labs, Google, Microsoft, Apple.
    • TREND: Smart Virtual Personal Assistants (SVPAs) Key Takeaway: SVPAs harness anticipatory computing in order to help consumers manage their daily tasks, finances, diet and more. Examples: The number of available social APIs has dramatically risen over the past 18 months, just as consumer demand for more predictive, automated processes is on the rise. In this space, Google Now has been the leader, however many SVPAs are close behind with new features and offerings. See: Osito, Donna, Sherpa, Cue, Tempo, Grokr, iVee (a physical digital clock), Nest (climate control). Many SVPAs also integrate social feeds and online profiles with calendars, so that you’ll have up-to-date information on the person with whom you’re power lunching. Google Now works on iOS and Android. Implications: SVPAs themselves and the technology powering them will become more ubiquitous, enabling any consumer with a smartphone to use them. Combined with improvements in voice commands, we will see increased functionality for Siri (Apple acquired Cue last year), Google Now and Microsoft’s competitor product code-named Cortana. In the coming years, traditional search will be replaced by context and conversation, so that if you’re near a movie theater and have a few free hours on your calendar, an SVPA will ask whether you’d like to join a group of friends to see that new movie everyone’s buzzing about – and it will purchase your ticket and navigate you there. Credit card companies, banks, local government agencies (police, highway administration), political campaigns and many others can harness SVPAs to both deliver critical information – and to better read and understand their constituents. Watchlist: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Grokr Labs, Incredible Labs, Runway 20.
    • TREND: X as a Service (XaaS) Key Takeaway: The ubiquity of affordable enterprise technology, an increase in mobile computing and constant trend towards multiple device ownership has helped catalyze cloud computing throughout nearly all industry sectors. Examples: Just a few years ago we saw the emergence of Software as a Service providers, such as Salesforce, Cornerstone, NetSuite, ServiceNow, Yammer, Fleetmatics and the like. Today, there are numerous successful other players in the XaaS space, from Education as a Service (Khan Academy) to Medical Administration as a Service (OfficeMate and ZocDoc) to Human Resources as a Service (ADP) to Libraries as a Service (Digital Public Library of America) to Financial Services as a Service (Mint, LearnVest). Salesforce is one of the largest software as a service providers globally. Implications: Deploying your company’s core offering as a cloud-based product allows for many advantages, from data sharing to cost savings. There are numerous exciting possibilities still to explore, from News as a Service (truly personalized, portable content) to Healthcare as a Service to Banking as a Service. That said, with all XaaS providers, security remains problematic. Vulnerabilities have been shown in even the most trusted hosts, such as Amazon and Dropbox. In addition, when a XaaS provider goes down, it can be especially frustrating for consumers. Security and access will remain key issues. As the workforce changes and management models shift, we also anticipate new hybrid Human/ XaaS models, where users might subscribe to a software suite and a dedicated team member at the same time who provides a consumer or organization with niche consulting on a fixed subject. Watchlist: Telogis, LaunchEngine, Remote Harbor, VetCloud, Ethelo, Stitch, Invenias, Freshdesk, Knowlarity, Capillary Technologies, Marketware.
    • TREND: Personal Cloud Services Key Takeaway: Hosted applications and access to data across devices has become an attractive prospect for large and small businesses alike. In 2014, we will see a continued shift to the cloud for SaaS products, however we also anticipate a suite of Personal Cloud products for personal computing, media streaming and more. Examples: Increasingly, consumers own more than one device, however they want to share content across all. Apple was the first company to offer a personal cloud service (originally named iTools, then .Mac, then MobileMe, now iCloud) tied explicitly to its devices. New personal cloud services, such as PogoPlug, allow users to sync files across all of their devices. Personal Clouds will become more ubiquitous in 2014. Implications: Many companies whose names we already know well are back in demand for a second time. IBM, Cisco and HP are all offering compelling enterprise cloud services in order to compete with Rackspace, SAP, Google, Oracle, Amazon and Salesforce. Companies that learn how to leverage personal clouds will attract a sticky audience base. Example: Dropbox now offers automatic photo and video storage for its users, synching content across devices and storing it in the cloud. It could be interesting to think about a personal cloud for news, personal health/ medical records and government information (like tax statements).To be sure, some consumers are concerned about their digital security. As a result, a non-cloud sync option has emerged, BigTorrent Sync, which promises to keep personal data safe from prying eyes. Watchlist: In addition to the companies above, watch the hacker space, since many powerful alternatives are being developed by smart independent developers.
    • TREND: Internet of Things Key Takeaway: Starting in 2014, millions of smart digital devices, from the Fitbit on your belt to the phone in your pocket to the coffee maker in your kitchen will talk to each other, monitoring activity, automating tasks and making your life easier. These devices and their protocols make up the Internet of Things. Examples: We are surrounded by an unprecedented number of sensors, devices and data. Soon, these devices will begin actively communicating to each other. Your espresso machine will synch its first pull with your toaster oven, ensuring a perfectly timed breakfast. Your house lights will automatically turn on when your smartphone is 20 feet away. Machines talking to machines in the Internet of Things will create new efficiencies. Implications: This should be the first year we see significant device penetration and enough new applications that the IoT begins to truly impact consumers. As with all new technology, one key challenge is standardization and protocols. Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) will help expand the IoT so that there are enough usable addresses to go around. Machine-to-machine communication is still in somewhat early stages, however international standards organizations such as OASIS are working on a future open standard, just as HTTP and FTP play critical roles in how we move content around on the web today. Watchlist: Arm, Dragon Innovation, PCH, Atmel, Cisco, Ericsson, Freescale, GE, IBM, Intel, Qualcomm, Arduino, Hadoop, Nest Labs, SmartThings, Ninja Blocks, AT&T, Verizon, OASIS.
    • TREND: Sensor Fusion Key Takeaway: Billions of electronic sensors will surround us, connecting consumers to devices, corporations, government agencies and to each other. Examples: Apple recently filed a patent on earbuds that collect biometric data, such as minute temperature variations and blood oxygen levels. Accelerometers in our smartphones will soon have altimeter functionality, broadcasting our precise locations. Many consumer electronic devices we’ll see in 2014 10 or more sensors embedded. New sensors offer advancements in biometric scanning. Implications: In the coming year, we expect to see more widespread fusion, where sensor ecosystems are harnessed together for greater information sharing. A critical area of need is in the sensor fusion algorithms that can seamlessly and accurately process large volumes of the data collected. For those in the public health and environmental space, sensor fusion affords an easier way to collect data about emerging epidemics, foodborne illnesses, population changes and the like. For medical professionals, new opportunities include voice sensors to detect early-stage Parkinson’s and other diseases. There are possibilities for journalists, too: sensors can be used to collect data on access to fresh produce within cities, potholes, light pollution and more. Watchlist: Arduino, Bosch, AKM, SenionLab, MIT Media Lab, Rohm.
    • TREND: Microlocation Key Takeaway: New technologies will soon broadcast our precise locations in real time – not just that we’re in a particular building, but that we’re standing in the toothpaste aisle at our local drugstore. Multitouch surfaces can detect exactly who’s standing in your living room, while Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) mobile profile enables precise locations to be shared with other devices. Examples: Late 2013, Apple introduced iBeacons, a BLE application that allows iPhones and iPads to both send a signal and act as a sensor. Retailers can use iBeacon to deploy coupons or personal shopping recommendations while consumers are standing in aisles or walking past storefronts. Microlocation technologies, such as IBM’s new smart floor, are smart enough enough to know if an elderly parent has fallen, and it can event alert 911 if it detects an emergency. Estimote cofounders Jakub Krzych (left) and Lukasz Kostka. Implications: Beacon-based technologies, such as Apple’s iBeacons, PayPal’s Beacon and Estimote all offer the potential for retailers to leverage loyalty marketing and highly personalized in-store experiences. And because they’re opt-in, there is no fear of spam. As beacons become more popular, near field communication (NFC) will sink further into non-use. Smart surfaces can be excellent for home health care. But we’re most excited about the untapped possibilities: beacons could be used for hyperlocal news delivery, real-time government agency updates and restaurant waiting lists. Smart surfaces could be deployed as security for smart offices, at nursery schools and on hospital floors. Watchlist: Apple, MLB, Nokia, Estimote, Android, Indigo, Idratek.
    • TREND: Platforms vs Publishers Key Takeaway: Last year, we saw a few major media companies delve into the platform space, following the lead of Forbes and launching an open platform for contributors. This caused a significant problem for some organizations hoping to monetize this content, as consumers failed to make the distinction between official editorial content and content physically located beneath the editorial brand. In 2014, a large number of media companies will venture into the platform space. Forbes is licensing its contributor platform, Falcon. Examples: Amazon is a platform: sellers offer their products, consumers write reviews. If a product doesn’t meet expectations, consumers don’t blame Amazon; they leave negative feedback about the product or seller. When a publisher allows content on its site, consumers do not make the same distinction. Implications: The Forbes model has been a traffic success, so much so that the company is licensing its contributor platform, Falcon. Scaling the platform throughout other networks will allow for scale and expanded ad inventory. Other media companies hope to replicate that success: in the coming year, news organizations such as Time Inc plan to launch contributor networks. We strongly recommend, however, that C-suite executives evaluate brand impact and meaningful analytics. Watchlist: Forbes, ALM, Time Inc.
    • TREND: Native Advertising/ Content Key Takeaway: Native Advertising, Branded Content, Advertorials – there are many different names for the same thing. This is content that marketers create (or pay to have created) that’s designed to look the same as the editorial content its placed next to, either digitally or in print. Examples: If you use the Internet, you’ve likely seen at least one native ad in the past 24 hours. Even the New York Times will begin running native ads in 2014. BuzzFeed champions native ads as a reliable source of revenue, and many other brands are now trying to replicate that success. The New York Times begins offering native advertising, labeled and positioned under a blue line, in 2014. Implications: Native advertising can be controversial. Last year, The Atlantic had to issue an apology for publishing a post that appeared to praise the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige. Though the post was labeled “sponsor content,” the site’s readers railed against the story, arguing that it misled some readers and offended others. Even with this and other notable failures, in 2014 we expect to see a dramatic rise in native advertising specifically for mobile and social, from such unusual suspects as Vine, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn. By the end of the year, we anticipate a glut of content and a growing apathy by consumers, who will be hungry for quality content that’s as reliable as it is riveting. This does create an opportunity for media organizations and brands alike to develop an alternative: smarter, more personalized content for each consumer using data analytics and machine learning. Watchlist: All social networks, most news organizations (but especially Forbes, Time Inc and NYT), Federal Trade Commission. Also watch the brands themselves as well as how content platforms, such as TED, evolve.
    • TREND: Intelligent Ads Key Takeaway: Algorithms can mine your social feeds, browser history and other digital crumbs to create a real-time personality profile for you, determine your likely desires in a given situation and personalize an experience specifically for you. Examples: Researchers have been combining the widely-used “Big Five” personality dimensions — neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and emotional stability – with big data mining and analysis to create real-time personality profiles. People are then scored based on their values (such as fun and zaniness) and their needs (such as harmony and calm). Some researchers want to know whether psychopathic tendencies can be determined from Tweets alone, while others want to understand how this information could be used for more effective consumer marketing. IBM is one of the companies researching social media to better understand our motivations and sentiment. Implications: Intelligent ads could potentially look at your last thousand tweets and the websites you’ve visited in the past 24 hours and determine that you’re feeling somber. An ad that either leverages or improves your mood would be shown to you, perhaps with your own information (like your name) included. There are big possibilities here for pharmaceuticals, luxury brands, online retailers, cause marketing groups, campaigns and more. We also see possibilities for customer service desks, such as airlines. For example, if a power outage has cancelled train service, a customer service representative could use a personality profile and decision matrix to determine what to offer (a refund; an apology) and how to deliver that message (empathy; expediency). Watchlist: University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, University of Texas, University of British Columbia, IBM, FTC.
    • TREND: Late Adopters Key Takeaway: Years ago, researchers developed a theory to explain how consumers adapt to innovation cycles. This research is especially important today, as consumers traditionally left out of technology innovation cycles are actually adopting technology very quickly. We call this group “Late Adopters,” because they are highly engaged in technology, even if they only start using it later in life. Boomers spend 27 hours per week online – 2 more hours per week than Millennials. Examples: The Baby Boomer generation now numbers more than 80 million, and the first Boomers to officially qualify as Senior Citizens started to turn 65 on January 1, 2011. More than a third of the U.S. population are Baby Boomers, and they control 75% of the wealth here. Most importantly, while Baby Boomers did not necessarily grow up with computers and mobile phones, they are enthusiastically joining the party late. Boomers spend 27 hours a week online – 2 hours more per week than Millennials – and are the fastest growing digital segment across numerous channels, including tablet adoption, social media and video. More than 40% of Boomers own smartphones. Implications: As websites, digital services and devices become more seamless and easy to use, Late Adopers will spend more disposable income on tech/ communication gadgets in 2014 especially. They will expect to find utilitydriven features from their partners, vendors and favorite brands on their devices. They’ll also devour all sorts of content: news, movies, photos. To be sure, there will be emerging needs to accommodate challenges in sight, hearing and mobility, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs. Watchlist: AARP (especially their social team), Apple, Google, Samsung, IBM, Federal Communications Commission.
    • TREND: Leaking Key Takeaway: In the past few years, we’ve seen a few independent and organized groups of leakers, who’ve shared everything from government secrets to corporate intelligence. We expect to see new leaks and leakers from within government agencies, corporations, nonprofits, financial services companies, technology companies and more in 2014. Examples: The National Security Agency (NSA) showed us last year how easily one person can cause massive, complicated problems from a single breach. This NSA PRISM slide was just one of the documents leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013. Implications: In 2014, we anticipate increased calls for transparency and better data management, and to see action by the federal courts, Congress and privacy groups such as the EFF. Meantime, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon, Twitter and other telecom and Internet companies will continue to make the news as more is revealed about the Snowden leaks. We expect consumers to take a more active stance towards privacy in the coming year. Watchlist: Electronic Frontier Foundation; NSA and related U.S. government agencies; U.S. federal courts; international government agencies and courts; telecom and Internet companies.
    • TREND: Privacy Key Takeaway: We’re curious about developments in all sorts of cyber security, from biometric scanning, to Snapchat safeguards to quantum cryptography. Hackers and leakers abound, both inside and outside of the U.S. As a result, cybersecurity has become an expensive challenge for financial services firms, app developers, retailers and mobile operators, while consumers are ever fearful about who might be prying into their online lives. Examples: We’re tracking numerous players in this space, from Chinese hackers to augmented reality developers to companies that can obscure personal identity. Last year, Apple released a fingerprint scanner to authenticate iPhone users. The U.S. Department of Defense recently partnered with CACI International for a next-generation biometric smartphone scanning interface, which can analyze fingerprints, faces and voices. Consumers want to feel that their digital information is secure. Implications: Consumers want to feel that their digital transactions are safe and that they are securely exchanging critical information, especially considering the broad attacks against news organizations/companies/ countries this year. In addition, credit card companies now routinely send notifications that card data may have been compromised, causing consumers to feel both insecure about their financial information and frustrated that they must enter a new card number into all of their recurring payment systems. Watchlist: Hackers (China, Russia); Syrian Electronic Army; Mandiant (recently acquired by FireEye); Barracuda Networks; Guidance Software. Also watch smaller startups with specific products, such as JScrambler 3, which obfuscates javascript and HTML5 so that it can’t be seen or scraped by others.
    • TREND: Community-Developed Content (CDC) Key Takeaway: The Twilight Saga books spawned a large community of fanfic writers and new works, including the independent juggernaut Fifty Shades of Grey. Thousands of massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) have expansive communities that now create story lines for upcoming episodes. CDC differs from user-generated content because it is created peer group-to-peer group, rather than user-to-company, and because these collaborations lead to entirely new content products. A battle scene from EVE Online. Examples: EVE Online is the best example of exceptional CDC storytelling in gaming. Its 500,000 regular users build worlds together, relying on trust and duplicity alike in order to advance everyone’s causes. It’s a study in classical entrepreneurialism – and it has also become a study for real-world economists. As a result, storytellers in the publishing world and in Hollywood are taking note. The Xbox One launched Quantum Break, a new postapocalyptic game that will also have an interactive TV series. Implications: The Iceland-based EVE Online now has an office based in New York City, and it is forming new content partnerships with publishers and movie studios. Comic books based on CDC stories should be forthcoming in 2014. This is an ad hoc, self-organizing phenomenon for now, but given the popularity and success of companies such as CCP Games, we expect to see more MMORPG developers, big name publishers and others entering the CDC space in the coming year. Watchlist: CCP Games (creator of EVE Online), Tumblr, Medium.
    • TREND: Smart(er) Government Key Takeaway: Towards the end of 2013 we heard countless stories about the failure of Healthcare.gov. The launch was a disaster, however we see the site as emblematic of a dramatic move to make government smarter. (At least digitally.) Examples: Had Healthcare.gov been a private initiative, the launch would have gone differently. There would have been rigorous testing and iteration. It would have launched as a private and then public beta. Early users would have known to expect problems. That’s not what happened, but let’s not overlook the positive: The U.S. government built a digital interface around a major new program and (at least in theory) eliminated part of a bureaucratic layer of administration. To be sure, Healthcare.gov isn’t ideal, but it’s a start. Healthcare.gov is not a detraction for 2014. Implications: As long as the various government agencies learn from the Healthcare.gov development, launch and post-launch failures, there are big opportunities for fresh efficiencies and better constituent access to government services. Outside developers, such as HealthSherpa, launched external sites to help users more easily navigate Healthcare.gov. Can you imagine what might be done with a better user interface for the USPTO and SBA websites, or for a clean way to search White House visitors? We know that lots of digital departments within government agencies are highly motivated and eager to make their web and mobile experiences better. We see Healthcare.gov not as a detraction for 2014, but rather as a springboard. Watchlist: We specifically note the following agencies and groups, who already have digital innovators working on forward-thinking projects in 2014: Broadcasting Board of Governors, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
    • TREND: Smart Cities Key Takeaway: It’s best to think of cities as a complex system of systems. In 2014, city infrastructure, planning and administration will see new opportunities to modernize and develop connected communities for the advancement of all. Examples: In 2014, Google Fiber will begin offering high speed Internet and TV service to Austin, Texas. Some cities have started hiring actual technologists to fill their CTO and CIO roles. IBM’s Smarter Cities initiative is now studying the future of cities to understand how to improve IT infrastructure and shared technology systems, how to improve social programs and education and more. Some cities are working to incorporate advances in technology – while others are significantly lagging behind. Austin, Texas will receive Google Fiber in 2014. Implications: In 2013 we saw the complete unraveling of Detroit, a oncegreat American city and one of the original bedrock communities of our Industrial Age. Detroit isn’t alone in its struggle. According to a Q4 2012 Forrester poll, 68% of local government decision-makers say their financial outlook is very challenging or somewhat challenging. Emerging tracking and mapping technologies, external resources to clean and link city data and cloud-based solutions offer greater efficiencies and long-term cost savings – not to mention the ability to creatively iterate – than ever before. Cities that build innovative digital strategies, develop new partnerships and embrace these new technologies will benefit long into the future. Watchlist: IBM Smarter Cities project; the City and County of Honolulu’s citizen cloud; the City of Hamburg’s geofenced port system; the impressive system of sensors and cameras deployed by the various police agencies in Washington, D.C.
    • TREND: BRIC Economies Key Takeaway: Four countries’s economies collectively known as BRIC –  Brazil, Russia, India and China – are a hotbed for emerging technologies. Examples: Low-cost smartphones have become ubiquitous throughout BRIC countries. Brazil is launching dozens of online shopping platforms this year. The upcoming World Cup in Rio and Olympics in Sochi have led Brazil and Russia to invest heavily in mobile infrastructure. China is launching a massive online platform to help rural students find better access to education. Social networks only found in China, India and Russia now rival Facebook for steady users. BRIC economies include Brazil, Russia, India and China. Implications: Technology blogs often forget to report on these important markets, where exciting innovations are taking place, and where consumers are hungry for devices, content and digital tools. While it may be difficult to launch a new handset in China, it’s easier to chat up Indian developers on Skype, or even to hop on a plane and visit Shanghai or Beijing to see what technology China’s Millennials are using and why. 2014 is a good time to start learning from BRIC countries, rather than thinking of them simply as outsourcing and manufacturing partners. Watchlist: Xiaomi, Alibaba, Baidu, WeChat (like WhatsApp), Druva inSync, Exotel, Gram Vaani Community Media, iYogi, Vuclip, Virt2real, Anywayanyday.com, ZeptoLab, Nginx, KupiVIP.ru.
    • TREND: Space Key Takeaway: We think that 2014 will mark the official start of a commercial space boom. Examples: Some of the most exciting tech innovation isn’t happening in Silicon Valley – it’s centered deep inside the Mojave Desert, where 17 spacerelated companies are closing in on commercial space travel, exploration and development. Virgin Galactic and rival XCOR promise to launch this year, figuratively and quite literally. Meantime, SpaceX will provide the technology for space research and support missions, but its founder, Elon Musk, wants to go further – all the way to Mars. Commercial space flight begins in 2014. Implications: The burgeoning space boom isn’t just about individual travel. The reasons for commercial exploration are numerous, from mining to a competitive research market to supplementing government-run space programs, both in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to the spacecraft themselves, there will be a boom in launch vehicles, landers, probes, rovers, space stations and research craft. We’ll also see partnerships formed for astroid and moon mining and for space manufacturing. There will be ancillary opportunities across industries, from durable clothing retailers to skilled manufacturing operations. Media companies, too, should think about early partnerships, while private equity firms should start looking at the soon-tolaunch companies that will ultimately supply the tools, materials and technologies for commercial space operations. Watchlist: Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic (The Spaceship Company), XCOR Aerospace, SpaceX, Interorbital Systems, Stratolaunch, Masten Space Systems, Firestar Technologies, Copenhagen Suborbitals, Japanese Rocket Society, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Planetary Resources and many more.
    • TREND: 3D Printing Key Takeaway: This year, 3D printing will continue to revolutionize rapid prototyping and new players will enter the market. Examples: This year, Makerbot will see new competition from HP, Samsung and Microsoft as new printers enter the market. NASA is planning to send a special 3D printer to the international space station, so that astronauts can print parts and supplies as they are needed, and they’re also hoping to learn this year how to use 3D printers to synthesize food from raw materials. (Say goodbye to those foil packets of dehydrated astronaut ice cream!) Meantime, a law student recently made national headlines when he showed how easy it is to print a working gun. His design files have been downloaded more than 100,000 times from sites all over the Internet. Sculpteo is a 3D printing company to watch in 2014. Implications: Not too long ago, consumers had to take their film rolls to highly specialized photo developers in order to get printed pictures. Then, advancements in technology allowed drugstore chains and grocery stores to more cheaply and provide the same service. Today, photo printers are relatively inexpensive, making it easy for anyone to print their own pictures at home. We believe that 3D printing is moving in a similar trajectory, for both consumers and corporations. Staples launched 3D printing services in the Netherlands Q4 2013, while a number of online sites will print and deliver 3D designs at a low cost. In the manufacturing space, GE and Boeing are starting to use 3D printing for production. Some startups are working on object scanners to aid in design and printing. Plastic is only the beginning, as other inorganic and organic materials will soon be used: nylon, titanium, stainless steel, chocolate, even human tissue. Watchlist: Makerbot, Shapeways, 3D Systems, ExOne, Organovo Holdings, Arcam, Dessault Systems, Autodesk, Formlabs, Afinia, Sculpteo, Stratasys, Inc.
    • TREND: Robotics Key Takeaway: Robots come in all shapes and sizes, from household helpers (Roomba) to self-driving cars (Google) to drones capable of delivering pizza (Amazon...?). Examples: In the past year, Google acquired a portfolio of innovative robotics companies and their incredibly talented engineers and designers, including Boston Dynamics, which famously showcased its bipedal robotic humanoid Petman (and which was originally funded by the Department of Defense). The DARPA robotics challenge is ongoing in 2014 and offers a $2 million prize for robots capable of assisting humans in natural and man-made disasters. Ekso Bionics created a battery-powered bionic suit. Implications: Robots have the ability to venture into areas unsafe for humans - or even spaces that are simply too small. If designed well, robots can work to more exacting standards, put in longer hours and provide great efficiencies. They also have the potential to disrupt manufacturing and to provide new opportunities for that sector and for security, news media, entertainment, construction and other industries. Ever wished you could be a fly on the wall in certain meetings? In U.S. states that don’t require two-party agreements for voice recording, that’s a near-future possibility thanks to tiny insect-like robots that can record audio and video. Robotic technologies are also being developed for paraplegics and others with ambulatory disabilities, to assist humans with difficult physical tasks and to help children learn how to program. Watchlist: Anki, Ekso Bionics, Arcbotics, Double Robotics, Robotex, Qbotix, Barobo.
    • TREND: Digital Credit and Currencies Key Takeaway: This year, we expect to see a nontraditional currency go mainstream. Financial services companies will race against startups to capture market share via innovative new credit and mobile app offerings. Examples: By the end of 2013, Bitcoin had made national headlines. It’s a new kind of digital currency, and it promises complete anonymity while using a crowd-regulated public ledger system. Bitcoins are mined using powerful computers and scripts, but it’s a competitive process. A Bitcoin ATM is scheduled to open in Hong Kong in early 2014. mPower Group offers a mobile payments system for the masses in Indian and Kosovo. Kabbage offers an alternative to traditional credit card companies and banks for small business loans, which it now also provides to Square merchants. Bitcoin is the world’s first peer-to-peer payment and digital currency system. Implications: For the first time, consumers have new options in the financial services marketplace. While Bitcoin’s volatility rules it out as a safe long-term investment, this is the first time we’ve seen such a unique new currency being used in so many different ways. And while the upcoming Coin card functions more as an account keeper than a new kind of credit card, it does signal what could be the end of the plastic we carry in our wallets. Bluetooth low energy and biometric sensors will very quickly make physical cards a thing of the past. Watchlist: Kabbage, Bitcoin, mPower Group, Wonga, Zopa, Currency Cloud, Ixaris, iZettle, Mi-Pay, Clear2Pay, Calastone, Borro, Bango, Ayondo.
    • TREND: Wearables Key Takeaway: We don’t expect to see every consumer wearing a Pebble watch in 2014. That said, we do know that technology can be more useful when it doesn’t require constant use of our hands and eyes. There are a number of new wearable technologies coming to market in 2014 that will monitor our exposure to the sun, track our fitness and even tell us when our productivity is peaking. Examples: Smart product company Neatmo just announced its June sun monitoring bracelet, which prevents sunburn by sending exposure levels to the user’s smartphone. Intel says that it plans to launch a smart onesie for babies, tracking the baby’s breathing and other information to concerned parents. A host of smart glasses startups are launching fashionable frames to compete with Google Glass in 2014. The MYO armband was created by Thalmic Labs. Implications: This is not the end of smart watches. Watches were only the entry point for consumers. Intel is partnering with Barney’s New York and the Council of the Fashion Designers of America to develop fashion-forward wearables for women and men alike. A co-branded Tory Burch FitBit is due out this spring. For now, most wearables still require a smartphone to transfer and display information, but the applications are vast and exciting, from uniforms that monitor athletic output to armbands that allow users to control their devices via gestures. There are great opportunities in 2014 for uniform and athletic equipment manufacturers, luxury brands, clothing designers and more. Watchlist: Thalmic Labs, FitBit, Bionym, AOptix, Autodesk, Samsung, Exetech, Sony, Pebble, Apple, Google, Nike, Intel.
    • Macro Trend: Data Explanation Significance Data is a broad category with many stakeholders, applications and implications. For example, data on our locations, our health and our individual preferences is collected and analyzed to help others predict everything from the next disease outbreak to what copy should be used in a Superbowl ad. It’s also used to understand population changes, political landscapes and public sentiment. The average American now creates more data in one day than her 18th century ancestors did in an entire lifetime. In 2014, more organizations will rely on analytics in order to make key business decisions, rather than using gut instincts. What this means for your organization In 2014, all organizations should begin thinking about what data makes sense to collect, analyze and interpret. Small, private practice doctors can look at patient data to optimize scheduling and Government agencies to staffing. Retailers can learn online shoe retailers to from bloggers and efoundations are all now commerce performance to endeavoring to use data prepare for fashion trends. analytics to answer business Government agencies, who questions, gain new insights already collect data, must about their consumers/ begin cleaning and constituents and to better structuring it so that it’s plan for the future. Our data, combined with powerful new effective for both internal and tools, can help a retailer upsell external use. There’s no reason why, in 2014, a products while enhancing customer relationships; it can municipality should have multiple records for a woman also enable a government to who got married and changed personalize services for its addresses. citizens. Next on the horizon We recommend that large organizations (public, private, foundations, nonprofits, universities, government agencies) create a Chief Data Officer position and bring on board someone with the unique skills to champion data initiatives, make smart decisions, collaborate on security and surface insights. We are most interested in research and startups that combine traditional data analytics with machine learning, artificial intelligence and anticipatory computing in bold new ways.
    • Macro Trend: Screens Explanation We’ve untethered screens from our wall sockets, and in 2014 we’ll see a variety of new form factors (curved, micro) surface possibilities (walls, desks) and wearables (eyeglasses, bracelets). Significance Given that emails can now be displayed on wristwatches and groceries can be ordered via refrigerator touchscreen, this year we advise organizations to focus on personalization –  which really implies delivering the right content to the right screen. Just because it’s We only need screens to possible to synch Gmail to a display content and user interfaces. Determining where Ford console doesn’t mean that’s the best user experience someone is, what her needs are at that moment and what for the email medium. Or that consumers necessarily want to information she needs to read New York Times stories consume content means squinting through Google customizing her screen Glass. experience. In the coming year, the average consumer will be exposed to many more screens, and for a variety of new purposes. What this means for your organization In 2014, organizations must develop internal strategies to determine how to make optimal use of screens and how to deliver the best possible user experience. For advertisers, it could mean thinking about face recognition and geolocation to deliver personalized, ephemeral recommendations via dressing room mirrors. For news media, this absolutely means developing entirely new story types unlike any we’ve seen previously. (Think it can’t be done? Five years ago, no journalist would have considered a 140-character sentence a news vehicle.) Next on the horizon Screens will continue to shrink and expand, offering greater resolution possibilities. Surfaces will become more and more interactive, even if they’re not part of an actual touchscreen. Immersive screen technology should gain popularity among consumers, including screens that curve and sensoryenhancing headsets.
    • Macro Trend: Video Explanation Significance In 2013, video was everywhere. Tiny journalism outfits spent large portions of their budget to create original content, while major newspapers poured millions of dollars into building their own TV-style studios and programming. Video rental companies got into the original programming business, and brands collaborated with comedians to produce web channels. CPMs don’t lie: for now, there’s big money to be made in video. We think that will change in 2014. Video On Demand and continuous playback will allow millennials – who will actually pay for video content – to create personalized channels. Smart advertisers who customize their own content will find an audience welcoming ads, rather than fast-forwarding through them. Aereo has delivered such a clever alternative to set-top boxes for broadcast content that networks are suing it across multiple states. Meantime, Google’s Chromecast has done the opposite, turning a traditional TV into a second screen for the Internet. What this means for your organization If everyone from iPhonewielding grandparents to major newspapers to brands like RedBull are creating, aggregating and distributing videos, we’ll soon find an untenable glut of content throughout all our digital spaces. An organization should focus on elements of the video space that only it can do exceptionally well. We would adapt something Ben Franklin said long ago about books: “Either record something worth watching, or do something worth recording.” Next on the horizon We expect to see more original programming from Netflix and Amazon, and we anticipate companies such as HBO to explore true unbundling. Some startups are using artificial intelligence and machine learning to create personal video ads for the social media space, which we find promising. We recommend developing unique video experiences rather than focusing only on content itself.
    • Next Steps
    • Next Steps We recommend thinking about these 25 trends as they relate to your organization, asking questions such as: • • • • • • • • • • Which of our customer segments does this trend address? How are our competitors/ related agencies harnessing these trends (or failing to do so?) How are non-competitors applying this trend? Will this trend create new competitors for us? Where does this trend create potential new partners or collaborators for us? How does this trend impact our industry and all of its parts? Who are the drivers of change in this trend? Which companies, founders, startups? How will the wants, needs and expectations of our customers change as a result of this trend? How does this trend inspire us? How does this trend help us think about innovation? We also recommend tracking all 25 trends throughout the year, noting major changes and adding new developments as they happen. The emerging technology and digital media landscape is constantly evolving, and at Webbmedia Group, we often find that midway through the year, we’ve added at least a few new trends.
    • Company About Webbmedia Group Webbmedia Group is a digital strategy agency that focuses on near-term emerging technology trends. We advise our clients on future business disruption using research, ideation and a vast knowledge of what's about to change in the digital ecosystem. Webbmedia Group works with Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies as well as large nonprofits, municipalities, government agencies and universities. Team members work from offices in more than a dozen cities, including Miami, NYC and Washington, D.C. Our virtualized office and distributed platform allows Webbmedia Group to draw on a wide variety of disciplines to serve our worldwide client base. Members of our staff are fluent in Spanish, Russian, Japanese, French and English. For more information, visit http://www.webbmediagroup.com.
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