3. Mobiles are becoming the next platform. Mobile phones are not only more visible but they are also becoming more powerful. The positive feedback cycle between the mobile devices capabilities and network speeds is akin to the hardware-software combo which powered the personal computer revolution. Mobiles phones are now becoming replacements for watches, cameras, photo albums, MP3 players and even credit cards. In emerging markets, they are becoming the lifeline for millions bringing forth not just connectivity to those whove been deprived of it for long but also the potential for increasing incomes and opportunities. The next big thing will be around mobiles and data. The promise of 2000 when i-mode became the envy of the world is all set to be realised.
Update: Mobiles are becoming portal multimedia computers which are available to us all the time, and can be connected to data networks wherever we are. I believe that in countries like India, it is the mobile which will be the primary device for people to connect to the Internet. Mobile data services are going to be the next big opportunity.
4. The digital home is the next big technology battleground. The iPod and the Xbox 360 were the hottest selling items during the Christmas season in the US. They are harbingers of change. Music is no longer being consumed on big boom boxes. Rather, people are starting to carry it with them on their iPods. The Xbox 360 is the first of the next-generation gaming consoles with graphics which mirror the visual reality of our world and the ability to connect multiple players into fascinating online virtual worlds. Intels year-end redesign of its logo and byline are but the start of the home wars. Call it convergence or divergence, the stakes are huge. For us consumers, it is a world where the digital dreams that have been talked about for long finally start becoming real.
Update: Microsoft launched Zune this year to compete with the iPod, and Nintendo and Sony launched their new gaming consoles. Given the gadgets that are now with us, we are digital consumers. With storage becoming increasingly portable, we can take our media with us all the time.
5. Search is at the heart of the rise of online advertising. Apple and Google were among the two best performing stocks on Nasdaq. Apples comeback and prospects reflect the promise of the digital revolution. Googles growth mirrors the shift in advertising dollars from traditional media to the online world reflecting the increasing time and importance of the Internet in all that we do. The simple search box has become the start of most of our online explorations. The contextual ads become, for some, useful content. Matching profiles and searches to showing relevant ads has now become a science. And it all begins with the humble search box.
Update: Contextual, performance-based advertising is what is now driving the shift of advertising dollars to the Web. Google is the dominant player here, converting each of its searches into 20 cents of cash through advertising. Others have a long way to go to catch up, and this dominance in search and advertising is giving Google the platform to build the next era of server-centric computing.
Tomorrow: 2006 Review (continued)
TECH TALK 2007 Tech Trends+T