The Rise of the Machines
A series of predictions published Wednesday by consultancy Deloitte suggest that 2007 will be a year of change in the technology sector. Several will have a serious impact on CRM if they come true, such as the growth of user-generated content, the ascendance of new media metrics over old, and the maturation of social networking as a business technology.
"TMT Trends 2007," produced by the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Industry Group, names ten possibilities in each of three documents covering (appropriately) technology, media, and telecom. These predictions, from the nearly obvious to the more far-fetched, may create a sense of anticipation in a number of industries as things begin to unfold this year.
Green technology is going to become even more of a selling point in 2007 than it was in 2006, due to growing concern over climate change and the cost of dwindling natural resources. Putting an end to the practice of disposable high-tech products and seeking cleaner, more renewable sources of power will be major topics. "In response to growing concern about the environment in general, technology providers are likely to start differentiating on the basis of their energy consumption, as has happened in a range of other sectors, from white goods to motor vehicles," the tech report states. "Technology companies are also likely to market, internally and externally, any major initiatives designed to save energy, such as Google's usage of solar energy to provide 1.6 megawatts of electricity for its headquarters."
Social networking will also be an area of technology to watch. According to Deloitte, this technology, specifically the personal form found at MySpace and YouTube, has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in value, and may reach into the billions in 2007. This success has created challenges, such as monitoring of copyright infringement and managing the sheer volume of content. "Helping social networking companies to mature, rapidly and rationally, could represent a substantial platform for growth in 2007," the report states.
One more crucial move coming in 2007 is a new approach by tech vendors to make their products more easily usable by more people. "Over half of all consumer electronic devices returned to retailers are not broken--they have just confounded their owners with their complexity," the report states. A related survey found that consumers will reach the end of their patience after as little as 20 minutes of struggle. Devices and software that make use of haptics (touch feedback and control), accelerometers, motion sensors, and speech recognition can be less complex to operate, and "companies that manage to minimize product complexity may achieve greater success than competitors with superior, but relatively inaccessible, technology."
Other topics in the technology report include power scavenging, the hidden costs of data storage, and even bionics. "The technology sector in 2006 was characterized by diversity and growth," writes Igal Brightman, global managing partner of Deloite Technology, Media, and Telecommunications. "The outlook for 2007 looks as though it has the equivalent potential for diversity."
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