6 Mega Trends for 2014

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy December 15, 2013
Predicting the future is a fraught business yet this year seems to hold important clues for 2014. Here is my personal list. Yours might well be very different.

Those who know me also know I am highly skeptical about making predictions on the grounds most are the digital equivalent of willy waving or ego preening. So it is with some misgivings I offer a view into what I think will happen in 2014.
Anyone who has regularly followed Diginomica will also note that most of the claimed trends have little to do with what we have covered the last seven or so months. There is a reason for that.
Most of the vendors we cover are function specific. That will absolutely change in 2014 as more organizations realize the potential of tech built inside their ecosystems to not only fully span the enterprise but out and beyond into the value systems. It's a trend we are reviewing.
So how do these predictions stand up and what do they mean?
#1 - Brands gobble up startups
Following on from the prediction that 'software eats the world' it's nice to see TechCrunch noticing that:

It’s no longer Google, Facebook and Yahoo that are competing to acquire the best and the brightest startups in Silicon Valley. There are plenty of corporations in retail, health, agriculture, financial services and other industries that are sending their corp-dev talent to scout out possible acquisitions in the Bay Area and beyond.

Anyone who has missed the acceleration of technology invading our lives  must be living under a rock. Expect to see an explosion of vertical market specific startups being built and then acquired at insane valuations.
#2 - Dynamic sensors contribute to our safety and more
One of the more pleasurable experiences of being in the US was driving in cars that are near overflowing with technology.  This graphic, grabbed from an Accenture presentation about the connected vehicle gives some insight into the desires of those looking to buy new vehicles. I hope such aspirations become a global trend.
#3 - Cryptocurrencies and their ecosystems start to eat financial industries
BitCoin got a bad reputation when it was found to be the home of money laundering drug dealers. Nevertheless it bounced back and is currently going through a bubble period where the law of supply and demand are in a raging foment. Bitcoins worth $13.50 just a couple of years ago are trading north of $800 today. Of greater interest though are the services growing around them that threaten to redefine the cosy, fee driven world of finance. As a business that trades across multiple currencies, we benefit from these new service to the tune of 3-6% of revenue. In short, the big business world of finance is within anyone's grasp and demand for these services will mushroom.
#4 - Understanding identity will become a crucial factor for brands
I find it faintly amusing that Facebook wonders if I am a graduate of one of multiple US universities. Clearly its algorithms haven't caught up with reality. Even so, if brands are to make those so-called much vaunted personalized offerings then they need to smarten up. 2014 could be that year when they finally realize who I am and what my true needs might be. If so, the the promises we've been hearing for a long time might finally be kept.
#5 - Wearable tech connects with multiple systems
The explosion in demand and attention for products like FitBit, Jawbone UP and Nike FuelBand are signaling a perfect storm between wearable technology, an aging population and a desire to live longer and healthier lives. Right now, the support systems for these products are woefully limited but hold tremendous potential for optimizing the health and wellness value chains - HIPPA permitting.
#6 - ERP roars back to the fore
Some colleagues think that ERP is done, pointing to the laughable but attention grabbing Gartner reports about CMOs eating the CIOs lunch. Others say there is no discernible innovation going on in the ERP world. Guess what - all the wonderful tech innovations we see outside the ERP orbit are indeed a prelude to a tech driven future. But none of them matter without the context of a transaction that has a $, £ or € sign in front of them. Expect ERP to come back big time as tech buyers suddenly realize they need new stuff to transact seamlessly with the online/sensor world.

And finally...

Has anyone noticed that this list doesn't include a single tech buzzword? Regular readers will perhaps notice that diginomica tries hard to avoid intellectually insulting and business meaningless phrases like 'big data,' 'social anything' and the ego systems that surround them. We prefer practicalities.
Endnote: All predictive lists are both wrong and incomplete but reflect the author's tastes of the moment. Mine are no different. What do you think?
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