Tag Archives: 3D printing

2013 Digital Media predictions

In 2010, 2011 and 2012, I made some predictions about Digital Media in the following year, and in late December of each year I reviewed and scored them (here’s the results from 20102011 and 2012 Digital Media predictions).

Last year some work colleagues accused me of playing the predictions safe. Interestingly one of the predictions was about the share price of Akamai, yet they didn’t invest in the company despite my prediction about the price increasing…

So here are my 2013 Digital Media predictions:

1. Many, many new devices will be launched

We’re so used to hearing about Apple launching new devices that it’s easy to forget there are other vendors out there. In late 2013 we’ll see the new Xbox and Playstation arrive, and I expect they will be amazing. Remember how revolutionary the Wii controllers were? And then Kinect moved the game (no pun intended) on to show controller-less games. I expect the next consoles from Microsoft and Sony will improve upon Kinect – fasters response times and more playability.

I’ve been promoting 3D printers since 2010 http://blog.bradbox.com/the-real-3d and predicting that every year will be the year it becomes mainstream. In 2013 I really really really expect people will be buying them! You’ll be printing disposable cutlery, kids toys and anything else you can think of – all at home. Sites such as shapeways http://www.shapeways.com/ are already appearing with designs to download and print.

2. Yahoo! Makes! A! Comeback!|

Competition is always healthy, and the dominance of Facebook has been unhealthy in the last couple of years. The top photo sharing library, Instagram, was acquired up by Facebook and its charm of degrading photo quality all but disappeared in six months.

Step forward Marissa Mayer of Google fame (…how the world had underestimated how good a job she made of Google Maps until Apple tried it!). Yahoo!’s share price has increased 30% from $15 when she joined to almost $20. She’s spotted the power of Flickr (which I have always preferred for my personal photos and as a creative commons library for this blog).

I reckon Yahoo!’s share price will be at least $30 by the end of 2013 and we’ll see some quality innovation appearing from the company.

3. Microsoft to return

Messenging tools – Yammer, Skype, MSN Messenger, Lync. Office 2013. Windows 8. Surface. The new Xbox. Bing. Exchange 2013. Sharepoint 2013. Office 365. Skydrive. Azure. We think Facebook is ubiquitous, but it doesn’t come close to Microsoft. There is no other technology company that we use so many of its products across our personal and professional lives.

Anecdotally I’ve spoken to many people who have moved to iMacs in the last 12 months and are either disenchanted (“It still slows down over time like a PC”) or use Microsoft Windows on their iMac anyway!

2013 will be an amazing year for Microsoft in terms of value and brand positioning.

4. Indoor GPS

Shopping malls seem to be growing. We’re so used to using our smartphones as GPS devices in the outdoors, that it seems obvious to start using them for indoor navigation too.

Macy’s have used indoor GPS (http://mashable.com/2012/11/08/macys-indoor-gps/) as part of their app. Expect to see shopping malls and retailers add similar functionality to their apps. It will also be interesting to see if Google/ Bing/ Apple will add indoor navigation to their map products.

5. Learning to switch off

Have you been to a campsite recently? They’re packed. Mud has become fun again, not considered a biohazard any longer. Escaping technological comforts has never been better.

One of the most welcome releases of the iOS 6 in 2012 was ‘Do Not Disturb’. We want to gain control back from mobile and electronic interruptions. When I write documents and presentations, I now switch Outlook off. Interruptions are annoying and lower our productivity. My laptop has alerts popping up from Outlook, Gmail, Tweetdeck, Skype and Dropbox.

Expect to see more ‘Quiet modes’. Windows 8 has brought back full screen experiences rather than multiple windows – we’ll get a lot more work done this way.

6. Context sensitive

Google results have felt relevant to us because if I type in a search term, it will present me with relevant information. If I type in ‘Indian’ it lists local Indian restaurants, followed by Indian motorcycles (because Google knows I’m interested in bikes).

In 2013 we’ll be using websites that will take a number of factors into account – from the weather, to profiles of ‘similar’ customers, our previous interactions, social media feeds, whether we’re on a mobile or desktop and so on. I don’t think wider society is ready for noticeable personalisation, which I feel is a shame, so we’ll see much more subtle changes to user interfaces and results in the next 12 months.

7. The end of the QR code

QR codes annoy me – how can an illegible symbol be better than a human readable web address? The answer is that QR codes were supposed to be a trackable or more complicated link that we lazy humans wouldn’t use if we can read it.

QR codes should have been the first step to one click impulse purchasing, so that a consumer could select a specific product at the bus stop, and pay within seconds. Instead, marketing companies have dumbed them down to illegible web site addresses.

At the end of 2013 I’ll report on the last time I saw a QR code – it will have been several months.

8. Healthcare apps

My GP surgery started a website booking system (that’s completely unusable – I tried registering twice). In 2013 we’ll start using Facetime and other apps to communicate with healthcare professionals and companies.

Healthcare companies will start using social media to help us improve our lifestyle in innovative ways.

9. Drones buzzing in the sky

Robocop had it all wrong with ED209 (http://www.omnicorp.com/). Why would you have a security robot in the future when you can have a flying drone. You can already buy drones with cameras that provide real time video streaming.

In the future, if you’re at home and hear a noise downstairs in the middle of the night, you won’t go downstairs trembling, you’ll send a small drone downstairs to have a look around.

Back to 2013 though, we’ll start seeing security companies using drones to patrol the outside of buildings. There are some interesting social questions that will be raised though – do you own the airspace in your home? If you send a drone to the next door neighbour’s garden, who do you complain to? Can you shoot it down? Will we start having surface to air missile units on our roofs? Is it really science fiction?


Review of my 2012 predictions


Gosh, didn’t 2012 go quickly? It was always going to be a year of counting down the months, weeks, days and hours to the-greatest-show-on-Earth, and then getting back to reality. And the-greatest-show-on-Earth didn’t disappoint – what an amazing event London 2012 was.

Here are the predictions I talk about in December 2011…

1. The Olympics summer of proof-of-concepts

We saw lots of electronic display advertising around London in the run up to the Olympics, and Google updated their rich snippets to display sports results during the Olympics. Each of the sponsor brands also carried out some innovation during the Games.

Prediction rating: 8/10

2. Social to level off, but will become a central hub for our activities.

Facebook isn’t quite the walled garden that I thought it would be, but it’s getting there very quickly. At Endava we are working with some customers to enable their services to work inside Facebook – and these are customers that you would have thought would resist social media more than others. My wife hardly uses email any longer – she uses Facebook messages because there’s zero chance of spam, and from her perspective, only her Facebook friends send her email anyway. Skype video calls working inside Facebook only confirm this prediction.

Prediction rating: 5/10 (I reckon I was a year early).

3. A big tech failure

I was discussing both commercial and technical failures here – and I have one answer: RIM. Between February and October the RIM BBM outages strongly affected the share price by almost two thirds, although it’s doubled since October.

Prediction rating: 9/10

4. Mobile payments

Well done Barclays for launching PingIt in February. And with Barclaycard’s PayTag (the NFC sticker), you can now pay for buses using a mobile phone linked to your credit card.

Prediction rating: 8/10 (dropping points because only one bank is offering such services)

5. 3D printers after the Olympics

I thought I was wrong (or at least, too early) here, but thanks to Danny, an architect at Endava, he said that he’s been reading about 3D printers all over the press now. I don’t understand why they haven’t taken off. There are already websites popping up with 3D designs such as www.shapeways.com and www.thingiverse.com.

Prediction rating: 5/10 (It’s here – but still too geeky)

6. Akamai stock to rocket around EURO 2012 and the Olympics.

At work this prediction was classed as too easy. It’s a worldwide recession, and Akamai stock rose from $28 in mid-July to $35 at the end of the month. It’s now $39. If it was such an easy prediction chaps, let me know if you bought some shares!

Prediction rating: 10/10

7. More toolbars

As predicted, I’m seeing many more JavaScript toolbars at the expense of installed toolbars.

Prediction rating: 10/10

8. Home automation to make a comeback

You can now buy a remote central heating service from British Gas for £150 – after the first 10,000 consumers liked the technology. There’s also Nest, the best looking thermostat you can buy. Personally the thought of wrestling the family with the central heating iPhone app as the 21st century version of the TV remote is a bit daunting.

Prediction rating: 8/10 (why do we need to automate the oven or curtains anyway?)

Total prediction score of 63 out of a possible 80. Pretty good going. Must try harder next year!


Eight Digital Media Predictions for 2012


To continue what I started in 2010 and 2011, here are my technology predictions for 2012:

1. The Olympics summer of proof-of-concepts

A huge amount of corporate investments will go into the Olympics, so we’ll see them spend their money on sponsorship and advertising more than product development. This will mean we’ll see a lot more cutting edge, proof of concepts (in adverts) rather than market-ready new product launches.

2. Social to level off, but will become a central hub for our activities.

Just like you currently open your browser to look at a number of websites, I expect your homepage will be a Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn page which will then keep you within the ‘walled garden’. Expect to see a close tie up between the social networks and a search engine (Google or Bing).

3. A big tech failure

Expect one of the big websites to collapse which has been too dependent on more and more VC funding rather than its own revenues. We’ll witness the collapse and realise that our own data has gone with it, and then we’ll realise how important that data really is.

4. Mobile payments

It’s been a long time coming, but 2012 will be the start of mobile payments. I don’t think consumers will be paying via our phone in 2012, but you’ll see the banks start the education process using advertising and proof of concepts to enable consumers to see that by the end of 2013 we won’t need a credit card any longer (except when the battery runs out).

5. 3D printers after the Olympics

If it weren’t for the Olympics, I think 2012 would have been the year of the 3D printer. You can already buy them from under £2,000 and that printer will fall as demand increases. 3D printers will compete with Windows 8 for Christmas presents next year.

6. Akamai stock to rocket around EURO 2012 and the Olympics.

The Content Delivery Network Akamai will be covering the two biggest sports tournaments of the summer for most broadcasters around the world. With encoding bitrates (quality) constantly increasing to end viewers, they will be handling record levels of traffic during the summer. More traffic will mean significantly increased revenues.

7. More toolbars

In a bid to keep their logos on the screen in ever more engaging user interfaces, expect to see JavaScript toolbars being used more regularly, sitting like a taskbar inside your browser. This is not to be confused with browser toolbars – I don’t think you’ll be proactively installing anything.

8. Home automation to make a comeback

Its been possible to connect your household appliances to a computer for many years. The problem has been selling it as a technology rather than a function – and this made it marketable to geeks and no one else. With apps such as Sky Anywhere, people will want to turn their heating up, or switch the oven on while they are commuting home from work.

Photo courtesy of FL08 on Flickr

The *real* 3D


One of the things I think will take off in the next couple of years is 3D printing.

I’m not a massive fan of 3D tellies and cinema films, so this is not another 3D fad… 3D printing is about making real objects in the real world from home, rather like a dozen things around the room you’re in at the moment, all from a block of plastic. 

Like my post on the R2 robot earlier this week, 3D printing hasn’t had a great deal of publicity, however I think it will be a massive game changer.

In 10 years time you won’t go to the supermarket to buy disposable plates, cutlery, plastic cups, in fact anything that is plastic and is under say, 30 cubic centimetres and without any electronics inside, will be made inside our homes. We will buy blocks of plastic and feed it into our 3D printers.

In the near future, when we need 25 plastic plates for a picnic, we’ll make them at home.

There are already a few 3D printer manufacturers, and HP has used it’s ‘Jet brand of printers to extend into the 3D arena. Their DesignJet is a little over £10,000 at the moment, though I reckon an affordable home version will be available within a few years.

The technology is improving at a rapid pace. When I was on holiday in Israel during the summer I spoke to someone who had seen a 3D printer in action, and he criticised the technology for lack of intricacy, and the amount of time it took to create a simple object such as a cup. However both of these criticisms have been improved upon – some objects are now very intricate and detailed.