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Tech Trends 2012 – Harmonisation of Digital Life

by Hannah Tierney , 26.04.2012

At a time when innovation in devices, mobility and connectivity continue to drive the way we use everyday services, socialise and communicate, what trends can we expect to emerge in the forthcoming months? Using GfK data to explore how technology is likely to evolve throughout this year, we’ve identified five consumer-led trends to look out for…

1 – Reaching the Cloud

This is the year that cloud-based solutions will creep into the mainstream. Offering internet-based computing where shared information, software, and resources are accessible on demand, this trend is largely driven by the ever-increasing use of smartphones, connected devices and other advanced mobile applications. As such, it is an essential development to complement the ecosystem as it facilitates consistent service usage and storage across any device.

However, these solutions must go hand-in-hand with educating consumers on how they can organise their increasingly complex digital lives, with simplicity and value being key. As such, we may see the rise of a new business opportunity around the management of digital life for a fee, as tech companies translate technology solutions into consumer benefits.

2 – Excellence as standard

Well-managed, easily-accessible content is no longer enough – consumers want consistent high quality and a seamless user experience. With more consumers accessing content from a greater range of devices, from smartphones to tablets, HTML5 looks to be the computer language of the future. Worth its weight in gold for consumer experience, it is simple for developers and therefore easily-accessible for all.

The use of this code alongside cloud technology to create app-like functionality for browsers is significant as apps continue to be popular and integral for driving loyalty to operating systems, thereby dictating device choice. In this light, the high expectations of consumers should not be taken lightly. The use of blogs, forums and review sites provides products and services with a whole new world of influence, so brands should beware.

3 – Seamless existence

The internet has emerged as the key enabler in a wireless ecosystem based on mobile devices being connected to facilitate real-time communication. The importance of being connected socially and having a constant connection has implications for providers. Operators now have the chance to take advantage of their relationship with the consumer by offering enhanced data connectivity by subscription rather than by device. Of course, device refers not only to mobiles – the desire for fully integrated in-home experience is set to rise in the coming months, with laptops and tablets becoming increasingly housebound, used as localised mobile devices as part of the home ecosystem.

4 – Right here, right now

Demand for instant gratification is not a new trend, but advances in technology enabling tailored, instant and relevant information means that expectations are on the rise for instant everywhere.

Location-based service (LBS) is likely to change the way we buy as technology provides relevant content consumers based on this latest geo-marketing trend. Near Field Communication (NFC) will additionally enhance the consumer experience, empowering devices to immediately and securely pass information over a short distance, authorising payment by simply ‘tapping’ a reader.

Concern for consumers is likely to focus on security. Providers will effectively be able to map the lives of consumers by piecing together the detailed information to which they increasingly have access.

5 – Gate keepers

As noted in section 4, people are becoming more aware of the scale of personal information they store online. While consumers expect tailored content and recommendations, security will be a key driver of loyalty in the future.

Trusted brands will be in a strong position to balance ease of access and usability with growing security concerns. A completely new revenue stream may also be available to these ‘trusted’ brands, with operators in a strong position to affiliate with partners who will help to streamline consumer experience whilst additionally providing customers with a safe and secure solution to their digital lives.

Finally, the EU is currently revising its privacy policy which is likely to have significant implications for consumers and businesses alike.

In light of these five Tech Trends, do you affiliate with these emerging into the mainstream, or are there other trends you identify as rising to prominence throughout 2012?

To read the full copy of ‘Tech Trends: Harmonisation of Digital Live’, please click here.