Mobile technology has irreversibly changed our lives on nearly every level — so much so that chances are pretty good you are reading this on a smart phone or tablet. This mobile trend is unlikely to show down in 2013. What does this mean for your small business? Here are five trends to watch in the new year.
- App growth won't slow down. Mobile technology is moving away from static Web and PC applications toward an app Internet where small, powerful devices such as the iPad are running programs that transparently link to resources in the cloud. This app Internet market was recently estimated to be worth $2.2 billion. And Forrester Research has predicted this market will expand by 85 percent in 2013.
- Integrated experience. More than ever, users expect a seamless, integrated experience moving from apps or from the Web to a mobile device and back. An excellent recent example is Kindle's Whispersync, which allows readers to pick up wherever they left off whether reading online, on a Kindle device or in a Kindle app on an iPad. And speaking of the iPad, recent changes allow users to have multiple iPad apps open simultaneously on-screen as resizable windows — just like a regular PC.
- The cloud is coming! But Dropbox and other cloud storage options are already here — right? Yes, but experts suggest the cloud may be drifting into many more offices soon to replace network storage space for a fraction of the cost. Access to sensitive documents and security is a concern. But have no fear; there are apps for that.
- Content curation. What is content curation? It's the process of sorting through vast amounts of content to present it in a meaningful, organized, accessible way. It's not about collecting links or all possible information. More and more Web developers and designers are acting as content curators. If, like many small business owners, you are your own Web developer, you know creating and sharing media and content via the Web is vital, and that the compressed screens of mobile devices doesn't always display what you want it to. Being a content curator means prioritizing data to keep your customers informed and your business more effective. To learn more about content curation, visit clickz.com/clickz/column/2104954/content-curation-king.
- Location services. Ever notice when searching for a service your Web browser delivers services for your current location? GPS has made location enabling much easier for Web-listed businesses and it's both growing and becoming more sophisticated; one research firm expects the total user base of consumer location-based services to reach 1.4 billion users by 2014. Location-based service technology is fine-tuning features and functionalities in tune with the user's context, taking into account the user's location and preferences and, increasingly, gender, age, profession, even intention. Full location integration into mobile devices will constitute a radically more intelligent mobile user experience.
For personalized help managing your business, contact your local SBTDC office. To find the center closest to you, go to missouribusiness.net/sbtdc/centers.asp.
This story was featured in the Jan. 2013 newsletter