In an earlier post (ten tech trends for tomorrow: I need your help), I proposed 10 things to keep an eye on for the next 3 to 5 years in the internet sphere. If you missed the previous list, go back and give it a look to get some context.
I also got a thread running between myself and other members of my team via email and I’d like to post the highlights of the results. These ideas were contributed by various thought and influence leaders inside eBay. Many thanks to “R”, “E”, “J” and “M”.
We’ll start with “R”, first person to respond to my thread:
So, to add… I agree with most of yours… some in different forms…
The MicroNiche – the smallest bits of information (your status, tweet, etc) will continue to gather momentum. Everything we do on the “network” will be more effective the more the level/barrier of engagement is broken down. Buying will be simple in 1 click, selling will be equally as empirical.
TVs are PCs – simply put, your next tv will be a pc and vice versa. Brains everywhere in every device.
Location-based content / activity – GPS, triangulation, etc. You will be seen where you go, you will be marketed to when you’re there. You will be more location-aware than ever before.
There’s more, but shooting out 3 for now…
Weighing in a few hours later, we have “E”:
From [ongoing research]:
“Old Media gets it”– in the last 9 months, we’ve seen the first signals from old-school media companies (newspaper companies, TV networks, and especially music labels) that they’re finally ready to embrace the internet the right way. It takes a while for big ships to turn around, but they’ve started the turn. Implication: significantly increased availability of premium (meaning “high-quality”, not necessarily “paid-for”) content online, such that entertainment continues to be the fastest-growing sector in terms of share of time online, which in turn induces business innovation in advertising for those media.
And “J” puts forth some intriguing ideas as well:
Agree with all of these. My thoughts are:
Browsers to become gateways for webservice integrations– Toolbars and extensions will become less popular, being replaced with lightweight webservices that securely add “mash-up” functionality into the browser. The first steps of this has already begun with all popular browsers supporting OpenSearch (one line of code on the HTML header tells the browser how to add site search) and IE8’s support of WebSlices and Activities which eBay was a showcase partner of. Furthermore, talking to Mozilla, they are very keen to push the cloud computing idea to sync’d bookmarks via lightweight webservices.
Home Entertainment being web enabled– While many smaller firms are researching this, Intel is the one to watch. It is planning to very aggressively push this in the coming two years, with OEMs on board who will build STB and TVs that are Internet enabled. I feel that it will take a while for a standard to come out, and for OEMs to really provide what users want. However, the move away from Windows and to custom Linux distributions that Intel are pushing sound like a step in the right direction in a bid to simplify the experience. If Internet enabled TV devices are to succeed, they will look and behave very differently to the Internet you get on your desktop.
Data Visualisation– This is tied into the above point about the internet experience in the living room being very different to the one in front of the desktop. Data visualisation of search results and general information will form an important part of a simple and fun browsing experience. Data visualisation will also be a big factor in the coming years as the volume and complexity of information being sent to users will get too much for a simple HTML interface to convey quickly.
“Application-isation” of the web– OK – terrible title, but I can’t think of anything better. We are seeing the move away from heavy desktop applications towards the internet. We have seen this for simple spreadsheets and word processors, but over the next few years I expect to see more and more enterprise level applications going onto the web interface.
And we wrapped up this round with “M”:
Convergence of desktop and web experiences– Computer users will no longer distinguish between web and desktop experiences. Their interaction with applications, sites and services will seamlessly integrate what has once been traditional desktop and web experiences. Ultimately, computer users won’t care where or how applications are served to them, but only that they can access them from their connected PC.
Convergence of interactive experiences– Consumers will expect that they can access the same, or close to the same, information and services regardless of the device they happen to use. Specifically, consumers will expect continuity between their desktop/web experience and their mobile experience. Different types of interactions, but ultimately the ability to manage information and commerce experiences. Digital living room will be still in its infancy, but mobile will accelerate, particularly in developing countries, where mobile is the only access point to the internet for many people.
Quite the gammut, eh?
Given all this thinking around the future and what’s to come, it’s really not so surprising we politely acquired VUVOX, is it? (BTW, if there are people wondering “how much it will cost?”, I for one say it should be free, just like gallery image. 🙂 )