The technology predictions expert: Mark Anderson is well-known in the tech community for his SNS Global Report, which provides insight into industry trends. Here Mark discusses (1) micromapping as a killer smartphone app and how with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iBeacon it can revolutionize retail; and (2) his ten predictions for the new year.


Micromapping and Apple’s iBeacon

In spring Mark explained micromapping as inside GPS. According to UBS report, he now expands on the implications with what he calls his MALT thesis: Micromapping, Advertising, Location and ID, and Transactions. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iBeacon is a key player in enabling retailers to recognize customers when they enter, ping their phones through Bluetooth LE, and deliver a customized store. Checkout could be as simple as walking out of the store. Successful implementation might allow Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to get in the payment stream.

Predictions for 2014

Mark shares his thoughts on tech trends in the new year. He expects more industry use of voice recognition with vocabularies limited, an improved Microsoft, early examples of the quantified self (playing into wearables), low-price consumer electronics to win, and increased encryption. He has been vocal about IP theft in China, warning of the risk to American vendors that played out last quarter.

Here are Mark’s top ten predictions for 2014:

#1: Siri into silos. Internet assistants display their importance as a category by spreading out into a large number of new Siri-like products, many of which work to increase utility by going deep into vertical markets. The results are improved success in voice recognition, knowledge-based utility, and customer trust and acceptance.

#2: Visualization goes mainstream as Big Data, cloud computing, and vast increases in storage and processing take hold the role of data visualization becomes much more common in our tools. Having created systems more advanced than the human brain in these categories, we now must find improved ways of digesting all of this information.

#3: Low price becomes a critical driver in global consumer electronics product creation as emerging economies absorb a dramatically larger fraction of all devices sold. The result of bringing hundreds of millions out of poverty is the creation of a new purchaser segmenting consumer electronics.

#4: Four and five come out of #3. Sub-$100 smartphones dominate the phone category for this year.

#5: Sub-$250 pads dominate the carry along category. You’ll notice that there was a new $249 pad announced this week.

#6: Software plays on a flat hardware field as we build out the global computer. This is the real mover behind everything in IT, from the blank black real estate of your cell phone and pad to virtualized storage and servers, emulated processors, software-defined networks, and the most advanced cloud computing services. Even as hardware continues to advance, software is where most of the energy, innovation, and action occur.

#7: The new Microsoft that no one expected. Microsoft gets a new CEO with a new power structure that encourages cooperation instead of warring factions and which leads to improved success and consumer markets. The stock continues to climb on an annualized basis and Redmond starts to get some of its mojo back, defined by people wanting to work there.

#8: Micromapping arrives. Various firms open the door on brand new category in Mapping, Advertising, Location and ID, and Transactions. This multi-category launches in 2014 with small but fast growing revenues that will become mammoth in the years ahead.

#9: The quantified self goes mainstream. The idea of knowing more and more detail about our personal health and characteristics goes from being a science story to a joggers delight to a mainstream market. Keeping track of our own health data in real-time is no longer something for geeks and workout fanatics but is accepted as a new and mainstream category of behavior, products, and preventative medicine. Doctors will have to catch up.

#10: Encryption everywhere. The direct commercial result of Edward Snowden’s leaks will be a massive move by large technology companies, both in enterprise and consumer markets, to evolve new encryption technologies and products that use them. While NSA-proofing will be the motivator, the real benefit may be improved protection of commercial intellectual property from theft by China and
other nations.