Category Archives: Brands

I generally loathe predictions, so I won’t really refer to the following as “predictions” and instead refer to them as a “natural evolution for tech in 2013”… although “natural” may not be the best work either. However, these are some of the topics that I think will become more prominent in our lives in 2013:

Less Freedom Online
The Internet will become less open and more regulated by government agencies. Along with commerce on the Internet being taxed, governments will exert more control over what its citizens can access. The “foundational” period of an open Internet with no government intervention is dying. Proof is that just this month a  majority of the 193 United Nations member countries approved a treaty giving governments new powers to close off access to the Internet in their countries. China and Russia led the treaty because they realize that to continue to control their citizens, they must control the Internet, unfettered. So the Internet becomes geographical, like the rest of the world, divided in two camps: the open Internet and the closed Internet. The UN treaty takes effect in 2015, but the process of closing it off begins now.

The Cloud becomes De Rigeur
The cloud has already moved past the state of buzzwordiness and into practical integration in our lives. The only thing holding back the complete immersion into the cloud is bandwidth speed and device fragmentation. But even my grandmother understands “The Cloud” as a term now. It’s achieved mainstream.

The “Platform Curtains” Begin to Fall
As the big three (Google, Apple and Microsoft) compete against each other with their hardware/software platforms, they are no longer “playing friendly” with each other by continuing to support their apps and services across different platforms. Each company, to varying degrees, is lowering their “platform curtains” and walling their consumers in. Google just recently announced it will not develop apps for Windows Phone, and will curtail access to its APIs. Apple tried to boot Google Maps off its platform, and if it wasn’t for the debacle of its own offering, would have succeeded. Microsoft is the short-term loser here since its App Store resembles a Soviet grocery store: lots of empty shelves to stock, but very little bread on them. Consumers will be faced with choosing devices not based on hardware alone, but based on platforms. In the spirit of building walls, it will mean that sharing and connecting to each other will eventually be more difficult since your friend with a Windows online blackjack for two players Phone may have to jump over a wall to share a photo with your iPhone. Let’s hope common sense prevails and we don’t have to go dark and live in our own East Berlins for 50 years.

Online Access Inches Toward Ubiquity
I’ve always said Wi-Fi access needs to be like electricity. I hope someday we have a network grid similar to our electric grid. And maybe it should be regulated by the government as well. With Google trying out fiber-optic connections in the heartland, and Comcast providing Wi-Fi access anytime/anywhere to its subscribers, there are more options to staying connected as we move around our communities. Frankly, I’m tired of buying mobile devices with cellular connections just so I can be assured that if I desperately need to answer an email while waiting for the train, or if I just MUST have that new Taylor Swift single while riding the bus, I can get online to whet my appetite for digital bling. Although we’re being extremely over-charged for cellular connections, there are glimmers of hope that the providers know they can’t keep charging us like the 80s when we bought $25 CDs in cardboard long-boxes… they feel the pressure to provide faster service with less hassle. Now, if only we can do something about those $4 lattes in Starbucks…

Your Computing Experience Transformation Continues
Unabated, your options are many, and as you quietly and quickly move away from a state of tetherness, you still demand multiple devices to do different things. The hope of one smart device that you can hold in your hand to get everything done is anything but realistic, and not really what you want. You like 10” tablets for your lean-back experience. You like your smartphone tucked safely in your pocket, just two fingers away from you at all times. You’ve even found yourself sleeping with or near it. You like the e-ink lightness of that latest Kindle/Nook when you get all literary and actually read, and you like your big-screen TV to take you on those harrowing blu-ray journeys to far away places… and, yes, now you’re thinking that little 7” tablet would be a great gaming device. You’re not a one-screen kinda gal, but what you want is a seamless experience moving between all your screens. It’s getting better everyday, and 2013 will make that experience just a bit better although you may have to make some hard decisions about your own loyalty to one of the Big Three.

I was wondering why it took them so long, but San Francisco’s cabbies are now shouting out against Uber, the upstart private taxi service, by claiming it’s engaging in “unfair competition”. TNW is reporting on a class-action complaint filed by SF cabbies claiming Uber is practicing “unfair business competition and for violating California Statutory and city regulatory mandates.” Uber, which is facing similar lawsuits wherever it rolls out service (esp. in New York and Chicago), responded with this statement, “Uber complies with all laws and regulations applicable to its business. Any claim to the contrary is baseless and motivated by those who seek to deprive the public of this safe and convenient transportation option. Uber would rather compete for business on the streets of San Francisco than in the courtroom, but Uber will defend these claims in court and is confident of the outcome.”

Uber is not having a hard time capturing funding, with over $50 million so far coming its way from Tech’s most prominent VCs. We’ll see how this plays out in the courts. Looks like Uber will need to stash some of that venture cash for lawyering up — fighting cabbies won’t be pretty.

The social business workflow is based on people being able to connect, communicate and share information more efficiently. Collaboration platforms such as Jive, Salesforce.com, and others have not been flexible enough to properly support the rapid transformation to mobile that is occurring in the workforce.

But there are some bright lights on the horizon. At its annual gathering in Las Vegas this month, Jive introduced an extension to their social business platform called Jive Present.

Jive states that “…it’s become a business imperative that teams have an easy, intuitive and controlled way to receive information and leverage social tools to interact with the right content and people. With Jive Present, organizations now have a powerful tool accessible anytime and anywhere.”

Since mobile devices, especially tablets, are entering the business workflow faster than any technology device ever, it’s imperative that companies keep their mobile workers connected to their internal networks. One of the biggest challenges that CIOs face is ensuring that their mobile workforce can seamlessly access important data while keeping that data secure.

By extending their platform beyond the desktop companies like Jive will offer more relevant solutions for collaborating. It’s about time that the burgeoning mobile workforce has the ability to collaborate regardless of their location.

Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergOh man, where has the time gone? We’re already in the middle of August and one of the things that perhaps may have slipped some minds is that it’s already been three months since the largest tech IPO in history happened (albeit to some dismal fanfare). Since that fateful IPO by Facebook in June, not much has gone well for the company. First the company saw their stock IPO at the high of $48 per share, but ultimately it’s slipped by 40% over the past several months. Their first quarterly earnings report didn’t help them as much and the market let them know it. Sure, the company made $1.8 billion in revenue, an increase from $895 million, but according to the New York Times, not much more confidence was given moving forward. The market has continually punished the company over and over again with Facebook’s CFO, David Ebersman, saying that even he’s disappointed in how the stock was traded.

But the next test that lies ahead of Facebook isn’t their next quarterly earnings report, but rather the expiration of the requirement that prevents some shareholders from selling their stock in Facebook. By law, when a company hits the market, its insiders or those holding majority stakes are forbidden to sell any of their shares and an IPO lock-up is usually done so that the market is not flooded with too much supply of a company’s stock too quickly. Once the lock-up period ends, most trading restrictions are removed. According to the Hindu Business Times, this “lock-up” period is set to expire soon–the New York Times says it’s happening this Thursday. What happens after that? Well it seems some select shareholders will be allowed to finally sell their shares in the company. And what happens after that remains a mystery…it might be a sign of further bad news for the social network.

SquareThe world of mobile payments just got turned upside down. I think every startup has been wishing for this news to happen to them–it’s quite frankly a game-changer and can potentially put a lot of people out of business or at least rethinking their strategy. Okay, so what is everyone talking about right now? Probably that coffee giant, Starbucks, has just placed their bets on mobile payment service Square–so much so, that they’ve announced they’re going to invest $25 million in the startup’s latest round of funding.

Square has been in the news quite a bit lately and pretty much has become the media darling that everyone is talking about and wants to use. From recently announcing that they’ve processed over $6 billion in payments annually to securing deals with name brands like Staples, Target, Walgreens, and FedEx Office stores to distribute those iconic credit card readers, this mobile payment company has really hit the ground running hard and has become quite synonymous with pay-by-phone.

Pages 10