Talking Tech Trends for 2014

January 1, 2014

Greg Beaubien, a frequent contributor to Tactics, rounds up some social-media-related forecasts for the New Year with these news briefs.

Staying Nimble, Interconnected and Secure

Now that consumers and employees have continuous connectivity and an endless supply of apps, corporate chief information officers are responsible for keeping technology systems nimble and secure.

In a recent forecast of technology trends, Forrester Research says that consumers will expect uniform service in the physical and digital worlds — the convergence of business and personal uses of technology, delivered with “blazing fast performance on a variety of workloads, at an affordable cost and level of complexity,” also fuels this trend.

According to the report, “A great digital experience is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a make-or-break point for your business as we more fully enter the digital age.”

Customers now establish their impressions of a business through digital engagement. Cheaper, more agile, collaborative and adaptive methods for data sharing are key, along with designing “predictive apps able to sense their environment and respond in real-time, anticipate user action, and meet users in their moment of need.”

Sensors will draw technology “ecosystems” together. Amid ubiquitous connectivity and a proliferation of devices, wearable computing will be more common. However, a downside is that many data breeches come from trusted insiders. According to Forrester, “the minimum cost of a data breech is $10 million, and in many cases, it can be much larger.”

Young Adults Still Prefer a ‘Print-Like’ Reading Experience

Employers, marketers and brand gurus tend to view people from so-called “Generation Y” — loosely defined as those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s — like a separate and baffling species. But according to a new report from the Pew Research Center, when it comes to reading news on mobile devices, young people aren’t so different. People in their teens through late 20s use tablets and smartphones to read news at nearly identical rates as adults in their 30 and 40s.

And 30 to 50 percent of every demographic except seniors uses mobile phones and tablets to read news — men and women, college-educated or not, making less than $30,000 a year or more than $75,000.

But men are more likely to read longer articles, while women are more likely to use social media.

Mobile Computers May Overtake PCs

People around the world are still using more personal computers than smartphones or tablets, but that balance might shift in 2014. As ReadWrite.com reported on Dec. 10, mobile analyst Ben Evans projects that in the second quarter of this year the number of smartphones in use around the world will surpass that of PCs for the first time.

He estimates that more than 1.6 billion PCs have been installed globally, and that the number of installed smartphones is near 1.3 billion, but is growing much faster than PCs.

Predictions for Social Media

As social media continues to evolve and grow, where will it take us this year? In a Fortune.com post on Dec. 10, Ryan Holmes, CEO of the social-relationship platform HootSuite, offered some predictions.

Topping his list was the rise of “ephemeral” social networks like Snapchat, where content vanishes seconds after it’s received. He believes that Snapchat has broad potential to restore fun and spontaneity to social media that has become corporate and formal elsewhere.

More employees will be expected to use social media on the job this year, in departments like marketing, sales and customer service, and also via internal networks for research and development, logistics and human resources. This may finally kill the “phone tree,” in which callers must “Press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish and 3 to waste your entire afternoon on hold.”

Social media may also begin to find us as we browse the Internet — for example, with Twitter posts appearing alongside Google search results or the latest tweets about a restaurant popping up during a Yelp search.


Greg Beaubien

Greg Beaubien is a frequent contributor to PRSA’s publications.


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