2014 belongs to Social Commerce, Bitcoin, Wearable Tech and Sentiment Search

2013 saw the rise and rise of mobile commerce, the stock market launch (and surge in share price) of social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn & Facebook, the introduction of wearable technologies like Google Glass, and high demand for Bitcoin took its valuation to $1,000.

Google shares reached over $1,000, LinkedIn shares are trading at over 300% of their original value, Twitter and Facebook shares are strong too. Overall, the year was very exciting and reached heights that caused  critics to suspect a tech crunch just around the corner.

On  the downside, 2012 stars like Zynga and Groupon have struggled to maintain their share price and profits, and Samsung and Apple went to war over various patents.

Amid all these highs and lows, I have spotted some trends that might dominate the coming year’s technology developments.

1.Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn might need to think beyond display advertising or parish

Social media networks have become the most popular and most time-consuming sites and applications for users and the big three ($FB, $TWTR and $LINKD) are already trading on Wall Street with a combined valuation of over $200bn and a valuation per user over $100,  but revenue per user still in single figures. Therefore, I think to justify their valuation and competitive advantage, these networks will be forced to find means for brands to do commerce solely on their platform, because revenue merely based on display advertising and industry specific marketing products is not good enough and might only take them to closure rather than leading them to flourish.

2.Google, Samsung and Apple will indulge in a big wearable technology domination war

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 in Las Vegas is full of companies (including LG, Intel, Sony, and Samsung) demonstrating wearable technologies, such as: smart watches, smart bands, smart ear buds, and smart glasses.

Apple and Google are not participating in CES 2014 but undoubtedly they must be keeping track of their competitors with an eye on the almost saturated smartphone and tablet market.
Apple has already filed a patent for iWatch and, due to shareholder pressure, might launch this in 2014. If we believe in the continuation of historical trends around competitors product launches following Apple’s new product release, I am sure Google glasses will come out of beta and Samsung will improve their already launched Galaxy Gear in order to be top of their industry; a wearable technology war seems inevitable.

3.Sentiments and Location Search will replace Google Keyword Search

For many, Google keyword search is still the primary form of data finding service. However, the rising popularity of Q&A engines like Quora, Facebook’s Social Graph, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Map, and recently launched Social search app Jelly, by Twitter founder Biz Stone, indicate the futuristic search trend is more aligned to human sentiments, where users can search stuff based on real intention rather than generic search terms.

4.APIs accelerate Marketing Automation but surge bot rates too

“A study by Incapsula suggests 61.5% of all website traffic is now generated by bots. The security firm said that was a 21% rise on last year’s figure of 51%; however, Activity by ‘good bots,’ it added, had grown by 55% over the year.”

The trend will continue because marketing automation with artificial intelligence is gathering momentum and content networks and providers are giving access to their data via open APIs.

5.The direct messaging industry is poised for disruption or consolidation

Snapchat, WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger (BBM), Twitter Direct Message, and Facebook Messenger process over ten billion direct messages every day. However, none of these has managed to determine their monetisation model, which means consolidation is inevitable. Biggies like Facebook and Twitter in particular are trying to spread their wing in this sector.

6.Bitcoin or virtual currency will become mainstream

Recent developments in the virtual currency industry are:

1) Bitcoin is trading at $1,000 after Zynga announced that they will take Bitcoin as formal currency to sell their products or games.

2) Many companies are already following the Bitcoin success story and launching their own currency such as “a new Bitcoin-like virtual currency inspired by rapper Kanye West is set to be launched, and has been named “Coinye West”. Kanye West is not involved and has yet to comment on its inception. It will follow in the footsteps of “Dogecoin”, another virtual currency based on the popular Doge meme.”

3) Amazon and Facebook are pondering their own currency too! Overall, 2014 will see virtual currencies become mainstream!

4) National government such as Singapore Tax Authorities (IRAS) Recognise Bitcoin;

Twelve science and technology endeavours that might improve Humankind lifestyle

In the last 10-15,000 years of written history mankind has come a long way, changing from predator to mostly producer; in that time all areas of human civilisation have witnessed a huge growth in technology. Specifically, if we look back over the last 100 – 150 years, the advances made in the electronic, medical, silicon, mechanical and chemical sciences are hugely praiseworthy: from the discovery of electricity to the invention of the telephone, through to aeroplanes, computers, satellites and the internet; as a result average life expectancy, income, and gross production per capita have all significantly increased.

However, despite all these advances, as humans we still need to resolve many puzzles around us; we don’t yet know what caused this universe to form, how the human nervous system works, how to permanently cure cancer or AIDS, eradicate poverty, religious wars or corruption or halt environmental change and what happens if the human population explodes beyond the means of this Earth?

The best thing is that we, human kind, have not become complacent and are very much aware of the challenges faced by our civilisation and that there are many projects taking place around the world to resolve these issues. I have summarised below some of the science and technology projects that might address these challenges and improve our lifestyle.

1.Large Hadron Collider (LHC) may figure out how the world is put together

Large Hadron Collider Particle physicists have the coolest job: smashing subatomic particles together at incredibly high speeds to untangle the secrets of the universe. Scientists use the LHC to reconstruct the conditions immediately following the Big Bang. In July 2012 the LHC drew international attention when scientists conveyed their discovery of the Higgs boson, the particle thought to explicate how other particles get their weight. “Our goal is always to understand how the world is put together,” said Roger Dixon, head of the accelerator division at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois.

2. Brain re-mapping reveals rationale behind our sentiments and abnormalities in our neuron system

Brain RemappingUS President Barack Obama has revealed a new initiative to map the brain. The $100m investment will be used to cultivate new technologies to examine how the billions of individual cells in the human brain interrelate. Scientists will also focus on how the brain registers, stores and processes information and investigate how brain function is linked to behaviour. The project will use supercomputer-based models and simulations to rebuild a virtual human brain to develop new cures for neurological conditions.

3. Human space exploration can give us a glimpse of the bigger picture

Human space exploration Human space exploration helps to address essential questions about the place of mankind in the universe and the history of our solar system. Through addressing the challenges related to human space exploration, scientists can figure out:
• How did the solar system form and where did the Earth’s water and other organic materials, such as carbon, originate?

• NASA is researching galactic cosmic radiation that might potentially be the most threatening element to humans exploring deep space with the aim of cultivating easing strategies that may also lead to medical advances on Earth.

• The International Space Station assists as a national laboratory for human health, biological and materials research, as a technology test-bed and as a stepping stone for going further into the solar system.

• By understanding more about asteroids we may learn more about past Earth impacts and possibly find ways to decrease the threat of future effects.

4. Stem cell research can fix physical anomalies in the human body

Stem cell research Scientists and researchers are interested in stem cells for several reasons; although stem cells do not serve any one function, many have the capacity to serve any function after they are instructed to specialize. Stem cells are powerful enough to regenerate damaged tissue under the right conditions and can help in:

1. Organ and tissue regeneration
2. Cardiovascular disease treatment
3. Brain disease treatment
4. Cell deficiency therapy
5. Blood disease treatments

5. Genetically modified foods might resolve food scarcity issues

Genetically modified foods Genetically modified foods are foods formed from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), specifically, genetically modified crops. GMOs have had specific changes woven into their DNA by genetic engineering methods.
With an ever-increasing global population, massive third world hunger and with an estimate that a child dies every two seconds worldwide from starvation, there is great potential in the use of genetically modified technology to the advantage not just of farmers but also for societies worldwide.

6. Big data analysis can make information much more transparent and curb corruption

Big data analysis Big data analysis can now process trillions of bytes of data in minutes; there are five broad ways in which using big data analysis can create value:

1. Big data can be used to monitor the progress of developments in the next generation of products and services. For instance, manufacturers are using data acquired from sensors implanted in products to create new after-sales service offerings such as proactive maintenance.

2. A big data can offer significant value by making information transparent and operational at much higher rate.

3. As businesses create and store more transactional data in digital form, they can collect more precise and detailed performance information on everything from product inventories to staff turnaround, and therefore exposes variability and increase productivity.

4. A big data permits ever-narrower segmentation of customers and therefore much more exactly customised offering.

5. Refined analytics can noticeably improve decision-making.

7. Renewable energy may slow environmental change

Renewable energy Renewable energy is energy that comes from resources which are continually restocked such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. About 16% of global final energy intake comes from renewable resources with 10% of all energy from traditional biomass, mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from hydroelectricity.

New renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels) account for another 3% and are growing rapidly. The share of renewables in electricity generation is around 19%, with 16% coming from hydroelectricity and 3% from new renewables.

8. Wearable tech, 3D printers, cloud computing and self-driving automobiles increase productivity

Renewable energy Other technology advances resulting from continuous computing and bio-technology growth are:

1. Cloud computing making information hosting, processing and rendering very accessible and cheap.

2. Wearable techs like Google Glass and Apple’s highly anticipated iWatch are embedding tech into the human body to enable more efficient collection and communication of information, thereby increasing productivity.

3. 3D printers/faxes that promise to manufacture custom made products on the fly.

4. Self-driving automobiles, like Google Car and Boing plane, reduce human error when we commute from one place to another.

5. DNA analysis helps to do genome analysis and can detect early signs of deadly diseases such as cancer.

Conclusion

Overall, we are still in the very early stages of discovering why we (i.e. human) exist, how we evolved, how our bodies work and subsequently facing issues like dementia, poverty, unemployment, religious wars, resource scarcity and those causing more agony and pain. But if we join all the points together, from the LDC project to renewable energy to brain mapping to cloud computing, we are progressing in the right direction by exploring the possibilities of what causes our existence; in doing so we are creating employment and using the latest technology to communicate new findings at a very high speed.

Digital disruptions to Embed Technology into the Human Body and Emotions

srknet.co.uk - wearavle technology

Wearable Technology

The whole of Silicon Valley is buzzing these days with noise around Apple’s iWatch and Google’s Glasses, which are due for release any time this year or early next year! The excitement is very legitimate as both products have huge potential to make human communication and processing more seamless. And it doesn’t stop there, as both Google and Apple are gearing up for whole new range of products in the near future, as Sergey Brin explained at a Ted conference that the current mode of portable communication and data processing devices (i.e. Smartphones) are not up to the mark and can get far better than this. At the same time Tim Cook (Apple CEO) consoled their worried investors, concerned about falling stock prices, with a strong indication of whole new range of products.

    This article is not about discussing features of Google’s Glasses and iWatch, but is more about analysing next wave of Silicon Valley product line for hardware, network and software i.e. let’s look at what exactly the future might hold when it comes to communication and information processing, based on earlier indications from industry experts & leaders, recent rumours and glimpses of upcoming product lines.

All indications are toward hardware embedding in the human body
Manufacturers and marketers have finally realised that the smartphones, tablets, and laptops are not the most convenient devices when it comes to carrying, using them for taking pictures or video, and on top of that they are under pressure to come up with new product lines to beef up their revenue and allay the threat of reducing product life cycles. All these factors in addition to recent advancement in core processors, voice, image, touch screen and semantic analysis might force big players like Apple, Samsung and Google to come up with a product line that can be easily carried and at same time naturally process audio and visual data. For example, Google glass with retina-focussed built-in camera with voice recorder can process images in one blink, instead of taking out a phone, switching it on, opening the camera app, focussing and taking the picture. Similarly a watch with built-in phone, music app, health indicators and voice recognition can easily replace phone, SMS, email, and social media activities! Another example is that Nike has launched a wristband to calculate your body mass index, calories burned, heartbeat, distance covered, height climbed etc. when doing exercise!

Sentiments are sexier than location when it comes to software!
Marissa Mayer said in her recent Bloomberg interview that the key to Yahoo’s potential success would be how cleverly they can cater to users’ interests, and this phenomenon is very prevalent in software companies. These days whole focus is to build software that can capture human intentions, emotions or sentiments and translate those to render information in the desired way. For example, Wii build a game that can sense your body movement to help you build your exercise regime. Samsung is about to introduce an eye-scrolling technique where phones, tablets or computer screens can detect eye movements and scroll from top to bottom to left to right! Amazon has launched a price comparison app which can detect a product image and find the best price around the web. Apple’s Siri and Google’s Voice are a step towards voice processing, where your smart devices can detect your voice and execute subsequent commands from sending text to taking pictures to calling a friend! Twitter with Nielson and Blufin Lab might introduce TV ratings based on people’s sentiments on Twitter, rather than just based on their voting or viewership patterns!
And to bring all this data together, cloud computing (i.e. storing data at one central place) is coming in handy too so that software platforms (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon cloud, Dropbox etc.) with cloud-enabled services are processing all these human emotions and storing centrally. Fortunately or unfortunately this also creates an opportunity for hackers to reinterpret and render data to a vast range of interested parties!

Problem might be battery life, networking and software readiness?
I know all this sounds very cool, but there are a number of challenges before we can have an ideal device embedded into our bodies, with all features to understand and render what we are thinking, what is happing around us and our family and friends, as currently such devices run out of battery very quickly, software doesn’t reflect the exact sentiments and finding the right network with bandwidth in remote or less commercial areas is still a mission!

Conclusion:
I don’t want to paint a fancy picture of a singularity where we will have a chip inserted into our bodies before, or soon after, birth to enable us to store and process terabytes in seconds (like a computer) and communicate like a phone and capture images or video (like cameras) and process voice like microphones,

but if we look at recent hardware and software advancements, they all relate to improving core processors, image, voice recognition, semantic analysis, making information available everywhere and rendering devices portable and capable of sensing body movements.

Therefore I don’t think we are very far from having a device that can, with the help of smart software and cloud storages, easily tag onto our body and help us to do what we can do with the help of smartphones, cameras, voice recorders, and /or tablets and computers. There will be challenges, like fuelling energy to these devices, finding common protocols to communicate data to various points and immaculate software to interpret human sentiments, but these issues are getting huge attention within and outside of Silicon Valley, and sooner or later they will be resolved. Overall the technology alignment with the human body and emotions is natural progression and inevitable!

Formula for Future Tech Development Might looks like below!

Core Processors * Moore Law + Cloud+ Semantic Analysis + Image/Video Recognition + Siri + Body Sensors =Human (Tech) Body