There have been many predictions for the upcoming year in technology. Here are my thoughts on a couple that I think will have the biggest impact.
2011 ushered in a widespread adoption of media streaming devices in the home. Boxee Box, appleTV 2, Roku, to name a few, allow you to stream movies, TV, photos and music to your home entertainment system. We aren’t quite at the stage yet when we can completely cut out the cable and satellite providers for TV viewing, namely because of the blackouts on local sporting games, but I am hopeful that these issues will be worked out in the near future. This isn’t my prediction for 2012, this would be more so in 2013, but as television content contracts get renegotiated for sporting events, we will start to see mlb.com and nhl.com break down the local streaming restrictions. What I do see for 2012 are these media streaming devices built into the new lines of televisions coming out. GoogleTV has opened it’s API to TV manufacturers, Eric Schmidt went so far as to say that googleTV will be in ‘most’ new TVs coming out in 6 months. Roku announced a couple of days ago a media streaming stick that works with Media High Definition Link (MHL) compatible TVs, you just plug this dongle into a free HDMI port on your TV and you have access to apps seamlessly through your television’s menu. Long rumored Apple television could be coming out in late 2012 where we would see iOS apps and functionality built directly into a beautiful LED screen.
Wearable Life Style Technology
Although the much hyped Jawbone Up was recalled just before the holidays, it did reveal a demand for real time monitoring and collecting of many aspects of your life. Everything from counting the number of footsteps you take to monitoring the quality and length of your sleep. Giving you information about your daily living to help you make better and ultimately more healthy choices as you live your life. I see many more of these devices coming out in 2012. Further down the road, I think that these devices will help gathering preliminary information that you can bring with you or send to your doctor before your checkup. You spend 15 – 20 minutes getting your pulse taken, checking your blood, pressure, breathing patterns etc… If all of these things could be done before hand, it may help speed up your annual checkup that you do every four years! Sometimes that’s all the doctor does, and if you can tap into available medical resources, maybe even doctors in other countries or areas that are less busy to run the diagnostics on your vitals, you may be able to skip the visit all together. Early detection of major illnesses would also be a definite possibility.
I think 2012 will be the year of voice control. Everything from controlling the temperature in your home to changing the channel on your television. There will be an app for that. We are starting to see the adoption of voice commands with Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant on the iPhone 4S, Andoid has had voice commands for several years now but it took apple to finally popularize the feature. As people get more comfortable with asking their phone to send a text message or to read them their email, they will expect their phone to control their AppleTV. You – “Siri, play most recent episode of the walking dead” Siri – “would you like to purchase that from the Apple Store?”. If you have an Airport Express you can ask Siri to play Bon Jovi radio to your living room speakers. Or with pass through devices like GoogleTV you’ll be able to say “watch 30 rock” and regardless of whether the show is stored locally on your media server, playing live on tv or stripped off of the content provider’s website, it will be made available to you. Thermostat controls like NEST have iPhone and iPad apps already, there is very little stopping apple from opening up Siri voice contol through an API to 3rd party developers. Microsoft has recently released Ziggy on their mobile platform, however, right now it simply does web searches but eventually you’ll have the same functionality as you do with Apple and Android.
Everyone is playing catch up to Apple’s macbook air. In the coming weeks we will see many manufacturers releasing the ‘Windows’ version of the macbook air through ultrabooks. Fast, light weight, small form factor laptops. I predict that we get a small form factor laptop that is capable of 10 hour battery life much as we get with the iPad.
Big Harry Audacious Prediction (BHAP)- Microsoft buys RIM.