From Bitcoin to Smartphones —A Year on Year Outlook

Written by Rita —  January 21, 2014

smartphone-subway

Cloud, mobile and collaborative are some of 2014 hottest trends

2013 was the year of fracking, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and Mandela’s farewell, among much other news such as the election of the new Pope, Hugo Chavez’s death or Syria’s civil war. Of course, there has also been good news, like the 15-year-old boy who discovered a new way to diagnose pancreatic cancer which is 168 times faster, 26,000 times cheaper and 400 times more accurate than the current method. Or the story of Brian Curtis, a 63-year-old man who was diagnosed with cancer and whose son launched a social media campaign to make sure his last days were filled with happiness. He created the hashtag #SkyBluePink (his dad’s favorite color) and asked the online community to share pictures —he then decorated his dad’s walls with the 3,500 photos he received.

Additionally, 2013 online history will be remembered as the year of Instagram’s unstoppable rise, Mega’s (Megaupload’s successor) birth and certainly also as the year of crowdfunding, which saw an incredible year over year increase (from $2.7 billion in 2012 to $5.1 billion in 2013.) Projects like The Satanic Temple’s monument prove that crowdfunding has settled at all levels: With more than a 1,000 funders, it raised over $26,000, well over its target of 20K, and it is surely inspiring many others.

In any case, 2013 indisputable online news king was Edward Snowden’s information on NSA, together with Bitcoin, which we spoke about in a previous post. The cryptocurrency’s value skyrocketed from $13.28 per bitcoin on January 1, 2013, to $736.8 on December 31 (with a peak of over $1,100 per bitcoin), accumulating a 5,570% year over year increase, which undoubtedly makes it the biggest (economic) winner of the year. Although the political and financial world cannot alter its starting equation, they are making a move in this regard (both U.S. and China have begun talks about regulating the cryptocurrency) and their decisions can be decisive during 2014.

2014 Trends

The Cloud

The migration to the cloud will continue to accelerate. Who does not use DropBox, Evernote or Salesforce yet? Online applications executed on the service provider’s server (also known as SaaS, acronym for Software as a Service) will gradually replace software installed on your computer.

Global cloud service revenue from storage services from 2010 to 2016

Multi-device Integration

Laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, Google Glasses, smart watches, smart TV … People are surfing the Internet using different media, therefore it is increasingly important that content adapts automatically to all types of devices. Welcome to the responsive web era.

Admittedly, however, smartphones remain the mobile star as people carry them constantly around. In fact:

mobile penetration region 2014

Two 2014 trends are:

New Payment Systems: Slowly, cash and credit cards will be replaced by QR codes and electronic wallets for mobile payment, as well as by the expansion of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and the creation of new payment systems integrated into smartphones.

The Year of the App: Applications are providing ever more smoothly access to the Internet. This year they will start working by voice and will continue to gain ground to online navigation as we have understood it so far.

Mobile-Web-Usage-Growth-2014-2015

What is the mobile approach to Internet browsing? In many cases, websites which were designed for desktops are adapted for mobile display in a simplistic way. This leads to small fonts that are not visible, tiny buttons, etc. Luke Wroblenwski addresses this topic in his talks, giving examples of good and bad mobile navigation usability by pages as well-known as Amazon, LinkedIn or Quora.

“When something new comes along, it’s common for us to react with what we already know. Radio programming on TV, print design on web pages, and now web page design on mobile devices. But every medium ultimately needs unique thinking and design to reach its true potential.”

Luke Wroblewski

Web 3.0: intelligent, social and collaborative

It seems we are inevitably heading to the smart browsing age —we are living through an information overload era which is already giving rise to content filtering systems. AI built-in apps will use the information you provide them to show you individualized content, so you don’t have to look for stuff (it will find you!)

Although social networks became popular some 7 years ago, the Social Web (which creates value through collaboration, new communication habits and community spirit) is barely in its infancy. That is why those projects capable of stimulating millions of Internet users will be this year’s (and probably next years) real champs.

When we take into consideration the other two major forces transforming society these days (i.e. economical globalization and socio-cultural changes such as the social and environmental awareness awakening, corporate social responsibility demand, the revaluation of local businesses and the barter and collaboration culture), one can conclude that great things can happen in 2014 —with new requirements, new opportunities also arise.

Collaborative Economy: everyone benefits in the process

According to Altimeter, three market forces drive the collaborative economy: society, economy and technology.

Societal drivers: increasing population density, drive for sustainability, desire for community and generational altruism.

Economic drivers: monetize excess or idle inventory, increase financial flexibility, access to ownership and influx of VC funding.

Technological drivers: social networking, mobile devices and platforms, and payment system.

All of this generates new opportunities for sharing economy. Although it’s true there’re many services in different industries which are already working quite well, there’re other new areas waiting for collaborative-minded companies and organizations to start operating. These include living space, time/responsibilities, automobile, household items and money (lending/borrowing systems).

collaborative_consumption_sharing_chart_trend

Organizations like Peers, Ouishare or Collaborative Consumption, which support the sharing economy movement, are starting to arise.

Photo credits: MomentCaptured1

Rita

Rita

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Translator, content writer and geeky linguist in general. I believe information is a powerful tool.