Sunday, January 01, 2012

What to look for in 2012

It is a new year and time to take a look into my digital crystal ball and try to divine some trends, products and services that might surface on the digital landscape in 2012. Making predictions is never an easy task, nevertheless I think there are some trends that started in 2011 and will carry over into the New Year.

Tablets, especially the iPad, were very popular holiday gifts last year. These devices which merge the functionality of lap tops, mobile phones and eReaders will become even more commonplace in 2012. Already there are thousands of “apps” for tablets. Most are now aimed at the general consumer. In this coming year you will see specialized apps for specific industries. Medical charting, warehouse inventory control and student textbooks will all migrate to tablet platforms. The vision of Jon Luc Piccard reviewing the Enterprise’s operations ( )using a hand held tablet that once seemed far fetched will become common place.

With so many devices and services now wireless, there will be an increased need to carve out more bandwidth. The electromagnetic spectrum, the place where all these wireless channels hang out, is finite. The TV you watch, the phone calls you receive all rely on a small piece of the spectrum. Even that garage door opener needs a channel to operate.

In the late 90s the government converted all US TV channels to digital. One of the reasons was to free up some spectrum space. While some was recovered, it proved to be inadequate as more and more wireless services proliferated. Look for the government to take another look at compressing the spectrum used by radio and TV stations so channel can be opened for your Android or iPhone.

2012 looks to be the year that the auto industry turns up the digital volume. I don’t think I will see an iCar during my morning commute, but the dashboards on many new models will spot new digital features like in-car wifi, Internet radio and more sophisticated real time diagnostics beamed back to your dealer.

Don’t forget … I will be offering “A Digital Survivor’s Guide” at the Harrison Library. This 2-part presentation covers new technologies, services and devices. Part 1: Monday, January 16 and Part 2: Monday, January 23. Both run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Please register in advance for both sessions. Call (513) 369-4442 or email If you have suggestions for what you would like covered in these informal non-technical sessions, drop me an email.

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