Authored by Ross Sedgewick and James Lawton“The best predictor of the future is the recent past“ - fortune cookie prophecy
The underlying phenomena driving predictions are rarely completely new. As 2012 nears its end, the intersection of mobility, social and cloud continues to heavily influence our outlook for 2013, along with the themes of IT consumerization and the emergence of big data in enterprise communications.
Here are Siemens Enterprise Communications’ top predictions for 2013 (in no particular order) – we look forward to your comments and feedback!
Prediction #1: All Web Browsers Installed in 2013 Will Have Real-time Communications Capabilities Built-in
As WebRTC emerges as more than hype, having voice and video ‘built in’ to your web browser browser will prove to be an appealing idea to many, and WebRTC will start to become visible in both the consumer and business markets. This will encourage enterprise communications vendors to announce WebRTC support – most likely as interoperability with their existing enterprise offerings.
But watch out for some brand new ideas that put voice and video where you never expected them!
Prediction #2: Social Media 1.0 Jumps the Shark
In 2013, millions of social networking users will grow burdened and frustrated with the digital mosh pit of today’s social media content. As social media ‘fatigue’ sets in, a more structured, strategic and productive social media model will emerge that is actually suitable and useful for business users trying to engage with their marketplace.
Quality will trump quantity on all social media metrics as business people demand that the signal-to-noise ratio of relevance and value in social media increases dramatically.
Prediction #3: The “C” in “C-Drive” Will Stand for Cloud
B2B and B2C will intermingle more and more, with vendors further blending enterprise-grade security with personal cloud-based storage and shared workspace solutions. Employees will have one entry point to both their personal and business data, complemented by apps with the ability to begin where they left off, from whatever location, network or device is at hand.
Personal clouds will displace USB memory sticks and email as the preferred means for convenient storage ‘on the fly’, as well as for sharing content for team collaboration.
Prediction #4: Near Field Communications Takes Off
Near Field Communications* (NFC) will begin to impact not only contactless mobile commerce, as consumers begin to make payments and conduct transactions using smart phone proximity, but also content sharing and UC interactions. Examples include contact info exchange, automated presence setting, social updates and data transfer, and new security applications via NFC ‘tags’.
Interestingly, new clam shell-style aluminum smart phone holders will be marketed to consumers, preventing unwanted proximity communications (hacking) from happening.
* NFC is a standard for wireless proximity-based communications among smart devices
Prediction #5: Your Next Car Will Also Be Your Assistant (Safely, of course)
Besides Bluetooth as a standard feature, when you shop for a new car in the latter half of 2013, you will find a place to natively dock your tablet or smart phone in your dashboard, or have its content mirrored on your car’s embedded LCD display.
A positive side effect will be built-in lockout capabilities to automatically reduce driving distractions. Advanced text-to-speech technology will reduce the temptation to read messages while driving, and speech-to-text will allow drivers to respond to messages while keeping both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Prediction #6: Global Use of Email Grows – By a Leap
Much to everyone’s surprise, the use of email grows globally in 2013. Despite forecasts from social media executives of email’s demise, it will continue as the central means of electronic communication for business, due to its structured, auditable, familiar and ubiquitous nature.
Growth in email system add-ins, such as email productivity and filtering tools, will spike during 2013. Ironically, most business users will continue to get their social media activity stream updates in their email inbox.
Prediction #7: Captured Communications Create Another Source of “Big Data”
Every phone and conference call, text chat exchange, or video and web collaboration session is a potential data stream to be captured and harvested for business value. Recording, transcribing, indexing and tagging communications will drive a new productivity boost from so-called ‘big data’.
Once organized, filtered and made searchable, contextual communications will start to become easier – much to the approval of users suffering from communications and information overload. Users will rely on the system to track what is relevant and current, and draw out previously hidden content and people associations to improve team performance and get more done.
Prediction #8: Users Will Become the Last Obstacle to Ubiquitous Enterprise Videoconferencing
When you combine the impact of software-based video conferencing servers (called MCU’s), cloud-based video conferencing services (many of them free) and the standardized cameras built into laptops, net books, tablets, and smart phones, most of the traditional obstacles to ubiquitous video conferencing will go away quickly. By the end of 2013, even big screen TV’s will be multi-party video ready.
The last remaining challenge will be to encourage participants to get in front of the video camera!
Prediction #9: BYOD Becomes BYO__
The now-familiar Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon will expand to include other ‘bring your own’ categories – spawning Bring Your Own Operating System, Bring Your Own Apps, Bring Your Own Storage, and Bring Your Own Cloud. Half of IT usage decisions will be driven by users and line-of-business management outside the traditional corporate IT department.
The logical outcome of this trend is for IT to no longer provision desktop IT setups, but to focus instead on centralized policies, security standards and usage controls over BYO__ proliferation.
Prediction #10: Enterprises Discover Untapped Competitive Advantage In Virtual Team Performance
After years of restructuring, down-sizing, cost-cutting, off-shoring and out-sourcing, in 2013 organizations will discover the untapped potential of dramatically improving their team performance through effective use of collaboration technologies and tools. This amplification of collective effort will have particular impact on today’s work lifestyle – where remote and distributed virtual teams have become the norm for mission-critical work, with team members dispersed across various home and office locations, regions and even continents.