While I have (for god or ill) been described as a woman ahead of her time, I resist describing myself as a futurist as the latter label sounds so pretentious. On the other hand, I do invest many tens of hours a month reading, scanning, searching information that enables me to sense patterns so, in the spirit of Christmas giving, here are some things to watch in 2010. I’ll follow each of these topics in January and identify the consequences for places then – so stay tuned! The anticipated "buzzwords" for 2010 are highlighted in red.Social Business – you don’t need a social media strategy in 2010. That won’t be enough. You will have to socialize your entire business, starting at home by engaging your employees, then your customers, in that order. Keeping an eye on cost and returns will be as important as it always was but more tools and metrics will emerge in response to the need to fine tune strategies and tactics and demonstrate accountability.
2. Integration & Identity - Thanks to widespread application integration and consumer desire to use multiple, diverse applications seamlessly, together, identity will become a key issue in 2010 – who owns it, stores it, has access to it and under what terms.
3.Mobile phones and mobile apps will spread in number and intensity i.e., we’ll use them for more tasks; their content will get more real-time and richer, (more augmented); more pleasurable to access; smarter and more relevant to my activity, place and purpose.
4.Content Curation. Content will threaten to bury us so the emphasis will be on curation and filtering. Expect to see a number of companies try to bite at Google’s heels with more relevant, personalised, customisable search parameters that reflect the content being searched and the browser’s objectives.
5. Video – it seems everyone wants to be on X Factor or a reality show. In 2010 their dreams will be fulfilled. Cheap HD cameras, Like FLIP, that can stream to the internet in real time (UStream) will add to the mountain of pixels already clogging the airwaves. The new word for this is Vlogging and Cisco is leading the charge – well they would be, wouldn’t they?
6. Customer Engagement & Crowdsourcing - while in 2009 content was being generated spontaneously by consumers, expect brands and destinations to take a more proactive approach to engaging customers in generating useful content and supporting their brand advocacy. BTW advocacay is the new buzz word for “word of mouth” and crowdsourcing is a cover for research involving large groups of consumers, and employees. The new lexicon sounds better and justifies expense in fancy software to manage and measure it. The good news is that technology costs will continue to decline as proliferation of competition will continue to commoditize creative talent.
7. Women – in 2009, more men than women were using social media and women’s purchasing power and style captured men’s attention. About time. So will 2010 be the year that women leap to the stage and start presenting at travel and tech events? Your guess is as good as mine. At the Phocuswright conference, women constituted less than 10% of the presenters but as one of them was in charge of Google’s ad revenues then maybe less = more.
8. Language – as many tourism businesses and enterprises rush to the developing world, where signs of the green shoots of recovery appear first, we’ll face a new challenge. The world is not WASP; cultures differ and people need to work in their own language. Expect to see a spate of translation services – automated and semi automated. Technology costs might go down but localization costs will make up for it. There might be a low cost solution (see trend 6) but you’ll have to wait till the New Year for my thoughts on that one.
9. Semantic or Synaptic Web – as humans rush up Maslow’s ladder in search of meaning, technology follows suit – hence talk of a Semantic Web. A new term that will crop up more frequently in 2010 is the Synaptic web – are they different? Well the first is about deeper layers of meaning and the second is about connections and relationships. The network of the web is increasingly resembling the neural pathways in the brain.
10. Collective Intelligence. 2010 will mark the end of the Age of the Individual and the emergence of a new form of collective thought - a Global Brain - and action that emerges from the multiplicity of new, different and self aware connections. We’ll start to find ways of working without formal leaders and commands from above. We’ll emulate the working of computers while mimicking the behaviour of swarms in nature. In 2009 a number of books on swarms and herd filled the bookshelves – expect to see more in 2010 as we learn how to work across platforms, cultures and vast distances as a agile and adaptive teams. This is especially relevant to destinations. In 2010, expect to see DMOs focus on getting SMART.
And if this isn’t enough, the bloggers at TNOOZ have published their technology predictions here. Surely enough food for thought to fuel and entire new year of feverish activity!!!