Monday, December 19, 2011

5 tech trends to watch out in 2012

As 2011 draws to a close, here are some trends which will top the trending list in 2012:

1) Mobile payments and NFC
This year saw the success of Square's iPhone dongle and that seems to be just the start of mobile payments. 2012 will have NFC change the mobile payment landscape. My earlier post talked about this more.

By 2013, 1 in 5 cellphones are expected to be NFC enabled. This trend is by far going to be one of the biggest and impact our day-to-day life.

2) Siri and beyond
Siri feature in iPhone 4S might still seem like in an alpha stage but it is the advent of sophistication in the voice control field. While voice control has been around since many years, it was not until now that it seems intelligent and futuristic. There are also talks that Apple might use this to replace the remote control.

3) Spatial gestures
While voice will thrive in 2012, spatial gestures will also have early adoption. Microsoft Kinect has started this trend and its going to get more and more popular in the coming year.

4) More Tablets

2011 was the inflection point for tablets. With the Kindle Fire selling like hot cakes it is expected to give some serious competition to the iPad. The different in price points would make this play more serious.

5) HTML 5

2011 already saw the start of many apps in HTML5 and even hybrid in native wrappers. With the biggest advantage of multiple platform support, this is definitely going to be explored by many more companies who are considering mobile apps for their businesses.

Friday, December 9, 2011

NFC would be game changing

I saw the demonstration of NFC and image recognition in Grocery IQ iPhone and Android apps by the CTO of and it led me thinking to how this would change the future. The possibilities are immense and NFC has barely been launched.

NFC or Near Field Communication allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and wireless connections between two devices in proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few centimeters. Many smartphones currently on the market contain embedded NFC chips that can send encrypted data to a reader located within a short distance, for instance, next to a retail cash register. The smartphone or tablet with an NFC chip can serve as a credit card, id card or key card.

Lets take a deep dive into some of its applications:

(1) Coupon codes: The Demo of this app got me thinking so I will start with this. The smartphone will store all your coupons and then you can just use NFC to transfer coupon codes to avail discounts. This not only saves time at the cash register but a lot more time from clipping, emailing or printing coupons.

(2) Payment Gateway: This is probably the biggest and most talked about application. With Google Wallets already in action on some Android phones and usable across many stores, many other companies are likely to follow soon. Both handset and point-of-sale manufacturers are investing in this.

(3) On-to-go virtual shopping: Many shopping experience has been transformed using QR codes already. Tesco has already implemented grocery shopping at a subway station in Korea. Watch the video here. Sears and Kmart among many others are using posters to encourage virtual shopping. In both the stores, you scan a QR code of displayed merchandize, add to your cart and pay. The goods get delivered to your home. With the launch of more NFC enabled phones this process will become even quicker.

(4) Identification and Tickets: It would be used by hotels to replace key cards. You can check in on your mobile, download a virtual key on your phone and use it to enter your room with a tap at the NFC-enabled door. It can also be used to replace boarding passes, concert or movie tickets or basically any place where you have a possibility of forgetting your physical ticket.

(5) Advertising and User engagement:
Kraft Foods has used this in a Halls Campaign in Chicago to promote new products and get user feedback. Read more on this link. Besides serving the intended purpose this is sure to generate a lot of buzz at this stage of the NFC lifecycle.

The possibilities are endless and we will see many more uses as more NFC devices are launched.