Home Trendspotting: A Top 100 List of Things to Watch in 2011

Trendspotting: A Top 100 List of Things to Watch in 2011

We sometimes get too caught up in the specifics of the enterprise and fail to look beyond the data center for reflection about the work we do.

Ann Mack is director of trendspotting for JWT Worldwide . She has detailed 100 things to watch in 2011. It’s a study in emerging movements and a refreshing guide for any organization that is thinking about how trends can have a direct impact on an organization and the future of its enterprise.

In several instances, the presentation portrays how technology intersects with cultural shifts, innovations and disruption in long established practices. It documents examples that show the importance of mobile technologies and the ways that media is transforming across multiple platforms. The presentation explores pop culture, sports, architecture and other sectors. But also in it are a number of examples that remind us how quickly the enterprise needs to adapt to trends that appear faster than ever in our connected society.

JWT: 100 Things to Watch in 2011

The examples may not seem that relevant when thinking about technology and how it functions for an organization. But they do show how technology often intersects with the world for some amazing results.

In many ways, the discovery of that intersection can be transforming for an organization. It adds importance to the enterprise. With this thematic framework, emphasis can be put on developing an enterprise that adapts quickly to market conditions and fits with the organization’s overall goals.

For example, 3D printing is first on the JWT list. Mack says 3D printers will come into mainstream use, allowing people to create everything from jewelry to lamps to homes.

In a blog post, Union Square Venture’s Fred Wilson writes that the best success comes when you see the intersection with technology, the Internet, money, politics and other aspects of life. It’s not purely about one thing.

3D printing is representative of services that use technology to change the means of production without the need to invest in expensive manufacturing equipment. The organizations banking on the advent of 3D printers include Shapeways, Hewlett-Packard and Google. All these companies made strategic decisions about how they structured enterprise environments to provide 3D printing capabilities.

Google may be the best example of all. Its enterprise is designed to provide this type of innovation. Hewlett-Packard has leveraged its printing and networking strengths. And Shapeways, which has a Union Square investment, is a startup that is using the cloud to provide its 3D printing services.

The challenge for the enterprise is how it becomes a catalyst to act on opportunities before they becomes big trends. That may mean faster adoption of mobile technologies for its own workforce or shifting the way it thinks about developing products.

Mobile as the Everything Hub

Mack says mobile is the everything hub. Mobile is critical in our lives. The list is full of examples that demonstrate how organizations will be affected by this mega trend. For example, tap-to-pay is number 88 on the list.

Making the six spot on the list is Geoloqi, a startup based in Portland, OR. The company is a study in how mobile technologies are changing how we view a world that is becoming more fluid than hard-wired. Geoloqi allows people to use their smart phones to do automatic check-ins. It allows people to set set automatic reminders and notifications – sent to themselves or friends – for specific locations. People can leave “geonotes” at specific locations that someone in the future may view. It allows you to automatically notify people of your proximity.

Geoloqi demonstrates how smartphones help people adjust to a world where geospatial environments have any number of data layers. You can access these data layers with services that require nothing but the ability to send or receive a notification. You don’t need to push a button to let someone know you’ll be at a location soon. A service like Geoloqi will notify your colleague automatically. This is not being lost on the enterprise. There are a number of companies now offering geolocation services for enterprise environments.

Amber Case and Aaron Parecki are the company founders. Case is also an anthropologist. In an interview with us, she touched on the dynamics that are in play with the advent of touch technologies and how transforming it will be for the way we work and live:

In the past, an interface was an interface in the same way that a book is a book – it doesn’t change – the words don’t change. A computer had hardware buttons. If you wanted to change the buttons, you’d have to rewire the machine. Then interfaces became liquid. And if you wanted buttons to appear and go away, or to have different functions you’d just change the code. With touch screen phones, we’re dealing with liquid interfaces. They absorb the functionality of the world around them. So most things that existed in real life – most functions – can now be done on a phone.

The examples Mack gives reflect on the way organizations are adapting to shifts in the way we live and work.

How we adapt is the big question. It’s not just the cloud or virtualization. It’s more rooted in how these kinds of technologies intersect with any number of different aspects in the market and society.

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