Looking Ahead – Interesting tech-oriented themes for 2012

The past quarter has been quite hectic as I have been driving the technology efforts at my startup, Salorix, in the social media advertising space. As we ramp up our development, I have been reviewing a wide range of  industry trends and technologies, and a few key themes stand out.  They are in (no priority order):

  • The revenge of the “publishers”: Content generators such as newspaper/magazine/media (TV, Radio) and book publishers, movie houses, game studios are revisiting their content monetization models. Key question: Do they really need intermediaries such as search engines, bookmarking sites, microblogging and social networking platforms to drive traffic to their content? Maybe the focus will turn to retaining/engaging their loyal customers.
  • Integrated advertising: As the interplay between online/digital and offline campaigns gets complex, advertisers and their agencies will revisit their campaign strategies. Key question: How should I manage my ad budget effectively so that campaigns leverage each other across channels for total effectiveness rather than piecemeal metrics by channel ? Maybe the focus will turn onto an integrated view of the traditional sales funnel.
  • New ad creative formats: As social media advertising ramps up, advertisers are considering ad formats that drive “engagement”. Key question: What can one do that is different from a user/visitor clicking and getting to a landing page? Can we get  them to participate in a game? respond to a survey? collaboratively watch a video ? Ad formats that coordinate “engagement” in various ways may be next on the horizon.
  • Changes in media consumption habits of consumers: With the plethora of devices and media, consumers are opting to choose different kinds of devices for consuming different kinds of media. One may catch a quick summary of a primetime show on their mobile,  view a review of the cast on their tablet, watch older episodes on their laptop (catching up with the plot) and finally watch the show on their new LED TV.  Key question:How does one learn what consumers will do/engage with the “content” you produce ? Where will they engage best with your brand message in what kind of format? Figuring this out (in a dynamic realtime manner) may be the next gold mine.
  • Global sourcing of tech talent: The basic building blocks of building next gen software systems are getting standardized. Folks worldwide have access to these tools and can learn them on their own free time and become adept at it. To bootstrap your next startup, may be all you may need is a good definition of your product and your tech team will be built from experts worldwide! Key question: How do I go about finding talent and building my best teams virtually?
  • The integrated open source toolkit: In a manner similar to LAMP/MAMP technologies, the other building blocks such as DBs, Search and Messaging may be integrated into a super toolkit for building the next generation system. These also may integrate consistently with the broken world of APIs ad newfangled storage services (such as DropBox and the like). Key question: Who is cobbling together this next gen toolkit?
  • Enterprise apps revisited with cloud and social media: Monolithic enterprise apps of the past decade are giving way to a new generation of systems that are cloud oriented, remove unwarranted functionality by enabling SAAS deployment, and tap into unstructured organizational knowledge via social media. However, it is unclear how enterprises should adapt to this trend. Key question: How do I migrate? What about my current org structure? What about legacy? What about all the investments I made in .NET ?
  • Integrated consumer view of Amazon, E-Bay, Google, Facebook,Yahoo, Twitter: There are only so many things that the casual web savvy user does on the web on a daily basis – find info, browse info, buy, share info/opinion, engage socially, consume entertainment (music/video), possibly create. Why do I need 5-10 apps to manage  these in my daily life. Key question: Can one get a one-stop shop app for all services that I consume – that pulls all of this activity modes into one utility.- best of breed without losing my privacy across all my devices ?

Even if one of these trends pans out in the coming year, that will be cool.