2011 Top Ten Predictions

Screen shot 2011-01-25 at 9.14.12 PM1 – Mobile security – the mobile world is about as secure as the desktop world was ten years ago.  If companies are going to start devoting real resources to exploring/exploiting mobile opportunities, this will need to get addressed.  2011 is the year this starts in earnest.

2 – Cars – Like last year I think automobiles (heck anything with wheels) + wireless technologies represent an enormous opportunity for innovation for all the reasons you can think of – safety, energy management, convenience, etc etc.  Ford’s Sync product line is just the tip of the iceberg.

3 – Home automation continues to suck – this market is always “about to be huge” and will continue to be in 2011.  That said, some interesting new directions may emerge and, thank God, they won’t look anything like what’s come before.  What will be different?  Interoperability, open architectures, web interfaces and Android to name a few.

4 – Health care continues to suck – see #3. But in this case it’s worse because of all the big money invested in the status quo.  But 2011 should see insurance companies finally getting serious about helping their customers leave healthier lives via technology (and I don’t mean Health Buddy and/or similar).

5 – M2M shows signs of life – this decades old set of markets could hold the keys to the kingdom for wireless carriers worldwide looking for ways to increase data traffic and drive new interest in 4G/LTE.

6 – Mobile enterprise finally becomes real – After a ten year gestation period the year of the mobile enterprise is upon us.  Everyone wants more than just email on their corporate device and we can all thank St. Jobs for that.  Enterprise applications (and the stores that support them) will help drive this segment in a big way.

7 – People start to realize that Facebook is more limiting than freeing – ok, a long shot, but come on.  At some point people will start to realize this is just AOL v2.  I suppose I’m acting my age (old).

8 – LBS services have hard time scaling to the big time – reason?  See #1 above.  But not security like https, etc.  In this case we’re talking about trust – as in are-you-where-you-say-you-are (vs a piece of software duping the system)?  2011 will see the emergence of technologies that help support trusted mobile transactions – applications that create fully audit-able data trails.

9 – MS changes leadership – this is a holder over from last year.  But this year I really mean it.  I think MS will need to change CEOs if it’s going to get back on a leadership trajectory.  Who will it be?  My crystal ball is cloudy on that one.

10 – VCs start investing in hardware companies again – long shot, 4 sure.  But I think there are many, many opportunities in this area and the contrarian in me thinks that it makes sense to invest where no one currently is (and I do mean no one!).

We’ll see how well I did in a few months.  I didn’t do too bad last year. :)

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