I have a few predictions for 2011 and it struck me that the main theme is a more mobile and more social internet. It used to be that you needed a number of things to have a good internet experience – namely a PC, a broadband connection and a web browser (preferably Explorer). But now with the growth of new smartphone and tablet devices, much improved 3G/4G mobile networks and the amazing array of apps available you don’t need any of these things and truly have the internet everywhere. It’s amazing how quickly the PC/Microsoft/Intel stranglehold on our IT lives has loosened and I think this is good for us, the consumers, as there is now greater competition and more choice than ever before.
With the meteoric rise of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, who now have over 500M and 100M users respectively, we are now able to find, filter and share content and connections within self-selected networks of people, making the internet a more personal and relevant experience. Increasingly, our on-line experiences are defined first through our social networks and second through the internet itself.
Now more than a third of people are accessing their Facebook and Twitter pages via their mobiles and that’s what gets you to the convergence of a more mobile and social internet that I believe will be the big theme for 2011.
Here are my top 5 predictions:
Smartphone and tablet explosion
2011 will be the year that smartphones and tablets become truly mainstream products and, at the same time, an increasingly important means of accessing the internet which truly rivals the PC. Any internet service that is not optimized for smartphones and tablets will start to struggle in the face of this megatrend.
Social Networking for business
During 2011 business will move from experimenting with social networking to making it an integrated part of their marketing, communications and customer services efforts. This will mean more dedicated resources and budgets being devoted to social media, principally Facebook and Twitter. There are already nearly 100,000 corporate pages on Facebook with more than 5000 fans and this number is thought to be growing by at least 15% a month making it the fastest growing part of the Facebook machine.