[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0132091534″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51fUX3aj0TL._SL160_.jpg” width=”126″]In the last decade, a range of digital technologies and services have hit the market and moved from niche use toward the mainstream, changing how we communicate, socialize, and entertain ourselves. Consider that Facebook is less than 10 years old, but is used today by 67% of American adults (and 94% of teens), or that a “solid majority” of Americans (61%) have a smartphone. And as we look toward the next decade, we are in for even more dramatic changes. But what technologies are poised to move from niche use toward the mainstream in that time, and how will these technologies change how we shop, work, socialize, and entertain ourselves?
To help shine a light on these questions, Innovaro’s Global Lifestyles and Technology Foresight projects identified key themes that will help define the tech experience in the future. We call them our 10 “technology trajectories.”
One of my favorite technology trajectories—and one that our clients agree will have significant impact on everyday life is what we call “cloud intelligence”.
What is cloud intelligence?
The cloud will evolve from being seen as a static repository of data and will increasingly become a smart, on-demand resource that we all rely on throughout the day. We’ll be able to tap into “cloud intelligence” for information, analysis, and personalized advice in more and more spheres of our lives—from shopping to health and career.
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B0013FRNKG” locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41gtLiEuNdL._SL160_.jpg” width=”126″]One of the ways we’re already starting to see this happen is in the world of search. Rather than simply spitting back long lists of results, search engines are quickly becoming recommendation and decision support engines. Consider Decide.com as an early example. Its algorithm takes into account a range of signals—from billions of observed price changes to press releases and product release rumors on blogs—to help people decide what to buy. It even helps you make better decisions by providing basic predictive elements—e.g., telling you when to buy to get the best price and avoid buying a soon-to-be outdated iPad or flat-panel TV.
Siri provides another early glimpse of the kind of cloud-based support people will be able to tap in the future, but cloud intelligence tools will go much further. They will let people run different scenarios and visualize future outcomes. In fact, early efforts to use visualization and other tools to make more future-focused investment and dieting decisions are already underway (as mentioned in this interesting article at Co.Design). For example, the article mentions the MyFitnessPal app which uses a simple hook to get people to envision their current decisions in the context of the future: It provides weight projections at the end of each day such as; “If every day were like today… You’d weigh XXX in 5 weeks”. As cloud intelligence tools become available, decisions and their future implications will become less abstract and people will use these tools to make smarter choices.
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B00AIF6L4G” locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41paCHL7aDL._SL160_.jpg” width=”160″]Consumers will increasingly turn to cloud intelligence in their daily lives to help manage complexity, data overload, and choice. More of our decisions will be based on data, not just a gut feel, and we will find ourselves collaborating more and more with machines to get things done in our lives.
For companies, providing information, advice, and real-time decision support will become a more important part of the overall value proposition, even for brands that have traditionally had infrequent post-purchase interactions with consumers.
So, what examples of “cloud intelligence” are you seeing emerge today, and what tasks or challenges will you look to solve as more powerful forms of cloud intelligence emerge? Let us know in the comments.
Image Source: Flickr
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