WRITTEN BY BLAKE MILLER, PARTNER AT THINK BIG PARTNERS
The start of a new year means so much more than new resolutions, a fresh start and a rejuvenated mind. In my opinion, 2012 means the birth of even more exciting Internet developments and innovations. From the birth of Smart Cities to the death of the QR Code, I believe that the Internet will undergo an extreme (and positive) transformation this year. How so? Take a look at my top 8 predictions for Internet trends in 2012:
1. People will actually start using the Internet to communicate. I know what you'er thinking: We already use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to interact with people. True, but these social media sites are just the tip of the iceberg. In 2012, I believe voice calls over the Internet will actually become somewhat of the norm, but not in the way you think. Look for phone apps that allow you to bypass your carrier service and connect through WiFi. My wildcard bet? Facebook's Messenger app adds voice calling and effectively becomes the Whitepages of the Internet.
2. The Internet will continue its transition to everything in our lives. Yes, the Internet is already everywhere; laptops, PCS, iPads, smartphones, etc. But watch for appliances, toys, cars, and even more to have Internet connectivity. Imagine a world where you can check items into your fridge and when you are at the grocery store, you can login in through your fridge app and see what you need.
3. Government legislation. We have already seen the start of this with the absolutely absurd legislation of the SOPA Act. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be the end of the government preventing innovation.
4. Municipalities and cities becoming open source. Also known as Smart Cities, we have already started to see cities open up their data sets for entrepreneurs to use. Look for more cities to get “smart” and companies like Screampoint to take advantage of that mass amount of invaluable data.
5. The infrastructure of the Internet will become a major focus. Google Fiber anyone? Since the birth of the Internet, it has been a platform for apps. This includes everything from websites to what we consider apps today. The app trend will continue, but I think generally it is in its “mature state.” As we continue to create more data (I read somewhere that more data has been created in the last three years than the previous 40,000...WOW!) we will need the infrastructure to transmit that. Enter the Google Fiber project. What would I bet on? That entrepreneurs will start to light whole cities with WiFi access...some of it free.
6. Forgetting your wallet home will not be a problem. Companies like Square and Google have already started this trend in the middle of 2011. Just recently, Dwolla announced Instant, which allows you to borrow up to $500 with very small fees. As Dwolla grows and merchants hop on board as a method to pay, you can make a purchase straight from an app. If your not familiar with Dwolla, you really should be.
7. Mobile hardware will actually catch up to the capabilities of mobile software. Okay...so this is a pipe dream, but hopefully there will be strides made. Can you imagine if battery life was increased just 5 times what it currently is?
8. Death to the QR Code! Alright, alright. This is another pipe dream for me and I don’t think I’m alone. Why did Americans hop on an archaic technology?! There are so many other ways to simplify!
Follow me! @BlakeMiller32