Tablet computing: By the end of 2011, Gartner predicts there will be 55 million tablets in use worldwide. Most of the growth to date has been driven by the iPad alone, but something on the order of 40 new tablets are expected to enter the market this year.
Gesture recognition: The Kinect Effect. Gesture recognition computing suddenly landed with the resounding thunk of 8 million families leaping up and down in front of their televisions, as Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect plug-in debuted in late 2010. Most marketers could reason that 8 million Kinect users constitutes a niche market that we can afford to neglect in the still-austere year of 2011, but new Kinect developments might be game-changers. In addition to the promise of faster evolution driven by the kind of experiments showcased on the Kinect Hacks blog, Microsoft has hinted that a more accessible software development kit might accompany the launch of a PC-compatible Kinect in 2011. So that touch-optimized web interface you’re developing might need to be gesture-optimized sooner than you think.
Geolocation: On tablets and browsers, geolocation is a potential factor in everybrowser and app-based interaction with consumers, not just on dedicated geolocation apps. Even on good old-fashioned desktops and laptops, location is increasingly important as search engines begin to put more juice behind local results, ad networks push location-based targeting, and HTML5 location-sniffing gains ground with each new browser release.
The death of website: Your website is not going to die, but it makes for a more provocative subhead than “the increasing de-centering of the website,” which is actually what’s taking place. The corporate website is losing its centrality as the means by which consumers interact with brands online, and it’s not coming back.
Content aggrgation: Faced with the constant deluge of digital content produced by consumers, competitors, and peers, the marketer’s last tether to sanity is content aggregation, which allows us wrangle the content flood into a manageable, consumable stream. Many marketers have embraced content curation as part of their content marketing strategy. Using handy curation tools like Scoop.It, they pluck relevant content out of the ether, slather on a coat of their own content varnish, and package it up for content-addled consumers.
Augmented Reality: AR is still mostly in the sparkly object phase of its development — perfectly suited to the launch of the new Gorillaz album, for instance. But it’s going to gain ground quickly as marketers seize on its potential for better merchandising; consider, for instance, an application that would allow you to model the style and finish of new door hardware simply by scanning your door through your smartphone’s camera.
Mobile: For the first time in 2011, sales of smartphones will surpass the combined sales of PC desktops and laptops. So it seems that mobile has become kind of a big deal. Marketers have thus far failed to embrace the obvious when it comes to mobile, and we face a rude awakening. DotMobi reports that only 29.7 percent of the web’s top 10,000 sites are optimized for mobile. That’s a full-blown usability crisis in the making.
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