A second area that has become so over debated that it is dull is Mobile.
Add Cloud and Social to the mix and you have the perfect storm of overheated technobabble.
It is not to say that these things are unimportant however. The very fact that we are talking about mobile social in a cloud of big data (stop it Chris, I’m feeling sick) is because this stuff is fundamentally transforming banking, finance, government and the world.
I’ve spent a lot of this year debating these points, but here are a few illustrations as to why they are such transformational technologies.
Mobile is truly transformational as it has moved us from having to go somewhere to do something – a physical place or a DESKtop screen – to having connectivity in all of our pockets and purses. This means the 24*7 availability of service is now the optimal state rather than the dream.
It goes beyond that however, as mobile delivers two further transformational moments.
First, it gives everyone on the planet the ability to communicate. In the farthest reaches of the world, people are communicating wirelessly in a way they never could before.
And you may think that these remote corners of the world just have simple dumb 2G phones, but you would be wrong. The fact that most affluent consumers change their mobiles every eighteen months means that emerging markets are getting smartphones sooner than you think. For example, here’s a guy in the village of Kisama, Nagaland, India taking a photograph on his mobile.
In other words, everyone is socialising via mobile. Anyone, anywhere can now relate socially and communicate globally. Seven billion people globally are connecting one-to-one, person-to-person, peer-to-peer.
Second, mobile provides a transactional infrastructure that was non-existent just a few years ago. It is the reason why Africa has seen the most rapid transformation through mobile, with M-PESA n Kenya cited as the most revolutionary change.
Source: The Economist
This means that communities that only had physical connectivity now have digital connectivity. Communities have exploded from local to global, and the wireless transmittance of anything to anyone, anywhere is a reality.
Mobile is part of the reason why Social is now a major shift.
After all, communicating with friends and family is what most people use a mobile telephone for, and the ability to create and share photographs, updates, news, links and more via mobile is the truly social hemisphere of tech change.
Add on to this that mobile allows you to locate anyone, anywhere, anytime, provides a further dimension of change, and brings in the importance of Big Data and Cloud.
Geolocating targeted consumers with offers at their point of consumption is a big piece of change. This is the dream of marketers, and is now a reality. Forget mailing coupons in the post, you just say at the point of retailing: “here’s the deal”.
But you cannot do that without having massive analytical capability of data to dig out what is relevant to whom at what point of time.
Big Data, Cloud and Mobile brings all of this together and delivers.
Obviously, Big Data and Cloud also does a lot more than this. After all, Cloud provides the ability to analyse unlimited amounts of data for any purpose. It is the antidote to Big Data. Big Data is all about drowning in exabytes of bytes, whilst Cloud provides the magic capability to gain access to unlimited power and storage to analyse that data.
So these four technology shifts are centrifugal forces of change in 2012, as they are massively complementary.
Mobile allows anyone to socialise with anyone on the planet, whilst cloud allows companies and government agencies to sift through the massive amounts of data that the mobile, social world is creating.
The perfect technology storm.