Internet Trends and Predictions for 2014
Every year, the entire tech industry stops what it’s doing and listens for an hour to Internet analyst Mary Meeker’s presentation of the most important trends shaping the future. Following are my picks of the most important prognostications. Read on...
Mary Meeker: Annual Internet Oracle
Meeker’s prophecies for 2014 extend over 164 Powerpoint slides, and they range from "Huh" to "Whoa, I never thought about that!" Meeker's annual Internet Trends report highlights the online services, apps, devices, people and companies that are (and are likely to have) the greatest impact in the coming year. You'll probably find other interesting tidbits in the report, but here's what I found most interesting.
Meeker notes the "re-imagining" of many every day tasks, such as how we find information about local businesses (Yelp replaces Yellow Pages), book hotel rooms (AirBNB replaces Telephone), hail a cab (Uber app replaces waving your arms wildly), meet new people (Tinder app replaces hanging around in bars), manage traffic (Waze replaces radio traffic reports), shop for groceries (Instacart and Amazon Fresh replace actual going to the store), and even how we think about money.
Cryptocurrencies, epitomized by Bitcoin, remain one of Meeker’s favorite things. There are over five million Bitcoin wallets/owners out there, and she feels the concept of a completely virtual currency controlled by no government is here to stay. Whether it's called Bitcoin or not remains to be seen. That reminds me of a quote from Tony Hoare, a famous computer scientist, in 1982: “I don’t know what the language of the year 2000 will look like, but I know it will be called Fortran.” (He was right.)
More and more data – enormous galaxies of it – will be generated by users of mobile devices and the Internet of Things. We are allowing our devices to collect all sorts of data about us and share it with corporations. The Samsung Galaxy S5, for example, contains ten sensors including a barometer, light sensor, gesture sensor, eye tracker and heart monitor. (I guess the microphone and video camera make it twelve.) Meeker notes that corporations are mining only one percent of this ever-growing ocean of data, and predicts that startups will find new ways to exploit it – for your benefit, of course.
Mobile usage now accounts for 25 percent of all Web traffic, up from 14 percent a year ago, and will be the fastest-growing segment in the future. Asia and Africa account for a significant portion of mobile traffic; developing countries leapt right past the desktop and laptop phases into smartphones.
Apparently Video Killed the Big-Screen TV, Too
Video accounts for 22 percent of mobile traffic, as users watch more TV on the go, on tiny screens. Meeker also sees a continuing convergence of TV and Internet, and predicts that apps will replace what we know now as TV channels.
“Dual-screening” is on the rise, meaning people are watching TVs while computing (if I may use that term loosely) on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. That’s may be a good way to avoid commercials but it bodes ill for productivity and accuracy.
Infrastructure costs are declining; everything from servers to backbone network equipment to handheld devices is getting cheaper. The average price of a smartphone, worldwide, is down to $335 USD. (So why is my cable bill growing?)
We are nowhere near the unsustainable investment levels of the tech bubble that burst in 2000, says Meeker. Initial public offerings of tech stocks in 2013 were 73 percent below the high reached in 1999. Venture capital investments are down just as much compared to the insanity of the late 90s. That means “there’s still … a lot of opportunity” to go broke on the stock market, says Meeker.
In many ways, Meeker epitomizes the self-fulfilling prophecy. Her reputation lends credibility to her predictions so entrepreneurs rush out to jump on the band wagon, while simultaneously creating that wagon. Pardon me while I rush off to finish my new app… it takes videos of your Bitcoin wallet, combines transaction data with your heart rate, and broadcasts it as entertainment to emerging markets in southeast Asia. I'm gonna be rich, filthy rich!
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 2 Jun 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Internet Trends and Predictions for 2014 (Posted: 2 Jun 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved