Internet Trends and Predictions for 2014

Category: Reference

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.

Mary Meeker Internet Trends

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!

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Most recent comments on "Internet Trends and Predictions for 2014"

Posted by:

Buffet
02 Jun 2014

I don't need any more anything!


Posted by:

Butch
02 Jun 2014

I'm not one of those persons who would like to live forever, but I sure as heck would love to come back in 100 years for one day--just to see all the changes. My parents saw a great many changes in our lifestyles, but their parents would probably be thinking of witchcraft of all the things we have today. It is mind-boggling indeed to think of all the technological advances yet to be even imagined, much less materialized.


Posted by:

Walter
02 Jun 2014

The } is near.


Posted by:

Martha
02 Jun 2014

She said nothing about the future of Net Neutrality? To me--totally non-tech--that is the major question today.


Posted by:

Andrea
02 Jun 2014

internet money, Bitcoin, is a novelty. Without a country or a group taking responsibility for insuring its value. It might as well be monopoly money. Seems just a extra step since all they do its convert to and from regular money.
Internet money adds no value. There is no increase in security, speed, liquidity. Where is the advantage, purpose or function. Can anyone show me its "value?


Posted by:

Robert
02 Jun 2014

Bob, let us know when you issue your IPO for your app business. Your readers/followers want to get rich too...


Posted by:

Jason
02 Jun 2014

I love the way you ended this article. You probably could retire early with a plan like that.


Posted by:

Brian S.
02 Jun 2014

I still haven't jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon yet. Although I like the idea of a currency that is not controlled by any central government, I hate to say that it is in direct competition with the evil (and privately owned) Federal Reserve cartel, who has a history of destroying any and all competition which may jeopardize their ultimate control of the world economy. I do hope that Bitcoin can survive the onslaught the Federal Reserve will bring, but as history has showed us, I doubt that they will be able to. (And you can take that to the bank.)


Posted by:

Jon
02 Jun 2014

Hmmmm

Amazon want $299 for Prime Fresh.....

We have elderly relatives in North California and have looked into home deliveries for their groceries.

The cost seems astronomical to us in the UK. Here we have the choice of five national supermarkets who deliver at one or two hour booked apointments.

During the next year the last major supermarket will be rolling out their on-line service as they are losing a major percentage of their market share.

We pay normal supermarket prices and get our deliveries for £66 for a year (limited to only one a day...) The minimum order is £40 but that would convert to $35 to $40 as food prices are much more expensive here.

It seems crazy that Aunt Denise and Great Aunt Patsy have to rely on younger relatives who tend to buy ready made junk instead of real food.

Transport costs and even minimum wage are lower in the USA than here - why no economically priced deliveries? There is a gigantic market, the elderly, Disabled People, busy people and even the lazy.

It's a weird world.

Jon

P.S. This may even be a stocks investment prediction. Whichever US Grocer starts will make a fortune.


Posted by:

Chris
02 Jun 2014

From what I have read over many decades, I think it's fair to say that 98% of predictions never eventuate.


Posted by:

Adolf
02 Jun 2014

I just love watching TV on a tiny Cell Phone Screen, besides being throtled down after 1GB or paying hundreds for something I can watch on a 17" Notebook for a measly $10.00 bucks a month on triple play or on any size TV Screen I desire. It's a fad that will go the way of the DoDo. Live Television will never go away.


Posted by:

Doc
02 Jun 2014

Bob, yOU AR WRong aboot duul sacrens cutinns PRODUCtivtties and akaracy WEe (ma sareens an me we don see no dakline on eather. I evens lestens too FM (NpR) RAADEO Two. nope paroblems hear. Ima waeighting for trial sccreens so's i kando mo waork.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Pointe takin.


Posted by:

salim
03 Jun 2014

that was a good last paragraph.


Posted by:

bb
03 Jun 2014

Andrea: As geeks, we can easily get wrapped up in the technology of how it works while missing the applications of that technology. On the other hand, some money people get apoplexy over Bitcoin because there's nothing backing it; i.e., nobody has control over it. (Trust the Math / Trust the Algorithm!) To understand Bitcoin, but not necessarily the technology, listen to the 3/27/2014 Freakonomics presentation, "Why Everybody Who Doesn’t Hate Bitcoin Loves It." Marc Andreessen (yes, the Netscape guy) has some interesting takes on why Bitcoin, or something like Bitcoin, is needed on the Internet.

Andreessen: "One of the things … that’s been missing on the Internet for 20 years is kind of a native concept of money…The ability to very easily pay somebody online, the ability to very easily charge for a piece of content, the ability to very easily exchange a digital title, or a digital key, or a digital contract has just been missing because you have no mechanism for establishing trust. [Without needing or paying a middleman.] And so Bitcoin basically holds the promise of being the first solution to establishing trust over an untrusted network."

Slide #53 of Meeker's presentation: 5M Bitcoin wallets in 3/2014, that's 8 times the number of wallets in 3/2013, "Proves Extraordinary Interest in Cryptocurrencies." Of course, existence of a Bitcoin wallet doesn't necessary mean actual Bitcoin use. We accept Bitcoin as dues for our computer club. After 2 years we have collected exactly 0.0 BTC.


Posted by:

RandiO
03 Jun 2014

My next big crowd-sourcing idea to make me a millionaire is to barter via hair instead of currency (dineros, greenbacks, bitcoins, credit-cards, etc). When Mr. Rankin fine-tunes his new entertainment creation, everyone will be using hair to pay for it and I will become stinkin' rich (=1000xfilthy rich). You heard it hear first!


Posted by:

Dontee
03 Jun 2014

Many thanks for years of fascinating and valuable insights behind the IT scene. And who says the Yanks don't have a sense of humour. This from a 91 year old Brit.


Posted by:

BobJ-Mainer
09 Jun 2014

"That’s may be a ... but it bodes ill for productivity and accuracy." Ayup... watchin TV, huh?


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