This is the second part of the post “Tech Trends 2011” where I wrote about the second set of five trends I have summarised from my holidays thoughts. Again, if you have questions about the terminology of customers (techies, visionaries, pragmatists, conservatives and sceptics), you can find a more detailed definition in the post called “Technology Adoption Life Cycle: Popularity in different markets”.
I hope you enjoy it!
We all have different needs and wants and, especially in the consumer technology, customisation becomes crucial to own the consumer’s attention and preference. The capability to set both outside and inside of our technology according to our needs and personality gives us the opportunity not only to improve our life in the ways we really need, but also to show the image we want and even make public a theme for what we stand for. Apple started with the concept of see consumer technology as almost jewellery, but personalised jewellery goes further. Conservatives maybe do not care a lot about this one, but if you want to hit pragmatists, visionaries and techies, it is definitely crucial.
Interact in natural ways and virtualisation
Normally we communicate to the technology through traditional input and output devices such as keyboard, mouse, screen, etc. They have been around for a long time now and it is impressive how a whole new generation has born apparently just knowing how to use them. In more recent years new ways to interact have became popular such as touch screens and motion sensing devices (like the one of the Kinect). This trend goes towards that direction interacting in more natural ways with visual and voice recognition, gestures and many forms of augmented reality. We will do more ordinary things with technology and it will understand better our natural ways of communications making it more accessible and easy to use.
Content and developers
Long time ago, technology business was all about hardware to which consumers where attracted by the tech specs of a device, it was all about the power of the device. Today hardware has lost most of its importance and the attractiveness of the new consumer technology devices is focused in the content that is reachable with the device. Music, videos, and apps are the most typical examples. That is the reason why the ecosystem around a product became so important. This involves not only the partnerships with companies who offer this content, but also the creation of independent developers’ communities who will design all kinds of applications for the product became crucial . Mobiles, computers, tablets, browsers, social networks, etc… all of them become stronger and more attractive as they have the access to content and developers finding strong synergies with the “Technology in the entertainment” trend.
The importance of emerging markets for technology is similar to that of other industries. Developed countries have more access to products and innovation, most of the consumers are more knowable about what they can acquire and there are enough players in the competitors landscape to choose from. On the contrary, emerging markets have been left behind because the disposable income is lower and they appear to represent a less attractive market because of the risk that they represent in some cases, resulting in a lower technology offer. However, that is changing, and even when the % of attractive costumers per country is lower in the emerging markets than in developed countries, the total number of attractive costumers in the former is considerable higher in many cases. Emerging markets typically jump stages of the technology like in some places of Africa, where they jumped the stage of the land lines and are going directly to the mobiles. Emerging markets represent an opportunity to become the first technology offer for those costumers, being the opportunity to the first incumbent to gain popularity, trust and a strong brand in a maybe low profit but extremely high revenue market.
Patents have been always an important asset of a company and a crucial way of protect the research and development investments for a company. Companies spend billions to create, defend and acquire them. The war of patents (demands, acquisitions, etc) we have seen in the last years has taken my attention and I am afraid that there is the risk that they could stop the innovation more than help to develop more evolution if it gets out of control, however they have to exist. The recent acquisition of Motorola mobile services by Google was an interesting heads up of how important patents are today to stay competitive. In this acquisition the later acquired around 17K phone-related patents with which it has has now put itself on more of a level footing with its competitors. That is the importance and power that patents are.