The thing about predictions is you either need to make them so obvious you won’t be wrong or so generic so you won’t look foolish; otherwise the only thing you can predict with any certainty is that you will get something wrong.
That said we all enjoy a bit of educated speculation – to test this theory I polled my friends and colleagues for their predictions. The trends highlighted this year are pretty much the same as those that were highlighted in previous years.
So ignoring them and the current crop of predictions and themes in the media (which mainly revolve around handsets), I decided to look at some of the topics and trends that businesses actually care about.
Mobile payments: just as we are reading about plastic cards being the death of cash, so too are we beginning to see mobiles have credible applications in this space. I think this year’s MWC will see a good deal of news from the big players (the likes of Mastercard & Visa), as well as the mobile operators around this topic
Internet of things: many people said that M2M was one of the key trends in 2012. I agree, though it was a fairly quiet one. We are set for more of this in 2013 as the industry looks to define itself and becomes more relevant to the wider vertical markets. So beyond the fridge ordering my groceries, telehealth and smart-metering will be two key areas to watch
Services: BYOD has certainly had an impact on businesses – this we all know. There is however a second wave that is crashing in to organisations via services and applications. We’ll hear more from young pretenders like Box and DropBox but also expect to hear more from the old-guard, like Oracle, Nokia, BlackBerry and Microsoft
Security: the mobile world is no longer immune from hacks and attacks. With governments and their agencies warning about cyber security and likening it to the ‘Wild West’, we will hear a lot about mobile malware, hacks, and the importance of encryption
Other topics that will inevitably creep in are big data, cloud (though I would lump than under services), second screen and LTE. One company I will be keeping an eye on is that erstwhile titan of the business device RIM BlackBerry. MWC is its first major outing since its new devices were launched earlier this month so it is bound to have something to say in Barcelona.
I’ll leave you with a thought from Steve Wozniack who was probably right when he opined that; ‘the smartphone and tablet will become the remote control and wallet for individuals the world over.’