While it may be overly simplistic to say mobile is a trend to keep an eye on, I argue the opposite. With New York City cabs now being hailed by smartphones and a new universe of sliding and bendable tablets and mobile PCs, the mobile ecosystem has never been a more exciting and fertile ground for development. As marketers, we see UX taking the front-row seat in product development addressing a new generation of mobile-first consumers. Technology companies big and small are building products and services that were unimaginable just a few short years ago. The Food and Drug Administration's recent approval for the groundbreaking Alivecor iPhone ECG is just one of many examples of the rapid improvements we'll see in healthcare, rivaled by those in entertainment, security, and communication in 2013.
The advent of more cost-effective 3D printing holds enormous potential to change manufacturing forever while at the same time stirring a new series of debates on copyright. With publishing and technology luminary Chris Anderson leaving Wired to focus on his “side project” 3D Robotics, it's clear the makers have become mainstream. We'll see great strides in CAD design software and more commercial applications of this incredible technology.
Home - the central nervous system.
As “big data” continues to dominate the conversation in boardrooms and government corridors globally, it's what can be done with this data that is enabling some of the most interesting developments in our most important rooms, those in our homes. From home-monitoring advances innovated by our client Dropcam, or the groundbreaking Nest, smart young companies are taking the information users provide in aggregate to make their services evermore simple and automated. We'll see even greater change here in the coming year as everything from our TVs to our cars make better use of the aggregate data they compile from user behavior and store in the cloud on a macro level.
Touch the future.
Watching a young child step up to a non-touch enabled computer monitor is perhaps the simplest way to understand that we are living in a transitional age. The rollout of Microsoft Windows 8 was just the latest indication that touch is the primary way we'll communicate in the future. 2013 will see a wave of groundbreaking new software applications and hardware form factors, taking into account advances in gesture control as well.
If the latest Facebook flap over Instagram Terms of Service teaches us anything, it's that we have a more informed populace than ever before, and they will not rest until they are satisfied. You'll see an ongoing demand for more simplicity and straightforward language in terms of services, and my hope is that will take root across the board.
Jonathan Heit is president and senior partner at Allison+Partners.