As the sun starts to set on 2013, we’re asking the question: what will 2014 look like?
We’ve asked media, entrepreneurs and thought leaders from Australia and beyond to look into the crystal ball to tell us what’s on their minds.
Here are their predictions for our world in 2014.
Editor, The Australian on the media industry
In the news media, the internet will continue to be an incredibly disruptive force for existing players in 2014. Newspapers will confront new online competitors – Britain’s Daily Mail is expanding in Australia, for example – and broadcasters will see a growing number of eyeballs watching video over the internet on either PCs, mobile devices or directly to the TV. The good news is that people are consuming more news that ever before across multiple platforms – from immersion in the printed word to snacking on smartphones. And while some people claim to get all their news from Twitter, there is a growing recognition that most news starts with a media outlet. Regardless of the technology, people are seeking out credible, reliable and expertly curated news sources, whether it’s the reputable newspaper brands online (Amazon’s Jeff Bezos must see something valuable in The Washington Post) or the evening news bulletins, which show no sign of losing their audience or importance. The increasing penetration of tablets, in particular, will be a major factor in 2014, giving media outlets like ours the opportunity to bring content to life and provide readers with a richer, deeper, more visual and engaging way to consume news.
Editor-in-chief, Monocle on the future of our cities
Firstly, the tractor will make a comeback. As more developing economies race to move from bicycle to car and from tractor to high-rise, the world’s most developed economies are moving back to the land. Witness Japan’s boom in micro-farms – all run by ex-residents of big cities who want food security, a quieter life and a steady income on the side. This is a trend that will likely take hold in other G7 nations as wealth creation allows people to enjoy more pastoral living.
Focus will move toward an old but desirable demographic. Companies are starting to realise that it’s great to be ‘down with the kids’ but it’s not that useful if the kids don’t have money. We’re likely to see a greater emphasis on talking to an older (retired), wealthier audience that have the funds to spend on property, new technology and travel. This will manifest itself in advertising executions, marketing initiatives and product development. Also, our image of the 60 year old is going to shift to a more youthful, aspirational expression of the ‘silver set’.
There will be a move back to centre. The rise of craft based manufacturing and 3D printing is going to force cities to rethink how they zone neighbhourhoods. With light industry long out of fashion in many city centres we’re seeing more city halls thinking about how they re-zone in order to accommodate a new class of cleaner, more nimble manufacturers.
Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE
Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia on digitisation of art
Over recent years resources have been poured into digitisation of museum collections, with the current emphasis on providing access to these collections online. The opportunity now is to look at how we can make these collections meaningful for people. The challenge is how can we use technology and digital platforms to help museums become dynamic hubs of learning, creativity and enjoyment for both real-time and digital visitors? The current trend is to syndicate and share the millions of digitised objects and artworks with aggregation portals that are harvesting data from across the sector and providing a ‘one stop’ portal for users to search records across all collections. The next evolution of this will see an interest in visualisation of this data and the discovery and development of new and unique connections across collections.
Museum technologies can generate new ways to tap into networks of information and experiences that build on the existing knowledge around artworks and artists. The year ahead will see museums thinking through these challenges carefully, especially now that a lot of digitisation work has been done across the sector.
Chief Executive, Freelancer.com on wearable technology
Most major consumer electronics companies will launch wearable computing, the next paradigm after mobile, and wearable technology adoption rates will be faster than mobile phones. Personal analytics will be the killer app, along with facial recognition linked with social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Fico and Tinder. Maps are going to be a driver, and QR codes will finally take off when glasses go mainstream.
CEO, Pollenizer on the internet of things
TV is going to ‘tip’ to the web next year. We are seeing traditional TV networks maintain dominance from huge marketing efforts, but the internet is coming. Advertisers are noticing the web has more eyeballs and online alternatives to watching free-to-air are gaining in quality and relevance. Watching YouTube as an app on a Samsung TV is now a viable alternative.
I’ve also got my eye on wearable computing and the ‘internet of things’ because I think we have just got started. Crowd funding is creating disruptive opportunities with hardware and software. It’s not just wrist bands – it’s Google Glass, car dashboards, wired homes, and drones. I’d like to see software platforms emerge to give startups access to common hardware.
Co-Founder, Explore Engage on augmented reality
Augmented reality is going to make inroads into industries like policing and security, as well as courier and delivery services. There will be no more need to ‘look down’ to get vital information, improving response times and ultimately saving lives. Clever software developers have also discovered ways to make virtual reality helmets affordable, by getting great results from inexpensive optics. These lower price points will see virtual reality helmets come into the market in a big way, especially impacting the gaming and entertainment industries.
Chief Entrepreneur Officer, The Enterprise Network for Young Australians on entrepreneurship
The most significant trend for 2014 in the entrepreneur and startup space is developing an ecosystem for entrepreneurship to thrive. Such ecosystems consist of 6 pillars: innovation & technology; access to capital, government taxation and regulation; trade, education and coordinated support; and a culture of entrepreneurship. The innovation and technology pillar is like the soil, the foundation of new ideas that ecosystems are built on. The most significant event for Australia in 2014 is our hosting of the G20.
Principal, Woods Bagot on technology re-defining business
The South Australian Medical Research Institute in Adelaide is a shining example of how innovation can be created through working in dispersed and specialist teams in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and New York.
The design industry has been on a slow evolution of change over the past decade and technology will impact the speed and how we conceive and deliver work. Building Information Modelling (BIM) and more advanced software means that we conceive, realise and deliver building documentation in a much more complex way. The sophistication of these technologies is increasingly changing the performance of environments and how our clients occupy and manage them.
On the creation side, technology is impacting on design in every sector: from education through lifestyle, aviation and finally workplace. Increasingly international firms are coming to Australia, to seek out work in what is considered to be the most progressive and ‘robust’ commercial market in the world. As a global firm we are working on multiple platforms in multiple time zones, the reality of globalised clients and projects and reduced project budgets and fees.
School of Architecture, University of Technology Sydney on robots
Image credit: François Lauginie
Robots, and other programmable systems, are playing a larger part in the way that architecture is constructed and used today. Robots are utilised to improve design efficiencies in buildings such as libraries, where robots support book retrieval systems – replacing the relentless book shelf with communal spaces for interaction. Many universities are conducting research into full-scale digital fabrication in architecture using industrial robots. These robots are being used to explore the development of once costly or unbuildable forms and their adaptation for larger-scale commercial use is being determined. For example, robot helicopters are being tested to lift and stack bricks.
The efficiency, precision, strength and speed of robots will allow architectural forms of unprecedented complexity and intricacy to be conceived of and designed. These new fabrication processes have potential to change the practice of architecture— from the design process, to the digital drawing and modeling phase, through to actual construction.
GEreports looks forward to sharing more stories with you about emerging trends and predictions for 2014 in the New Year. In the meantime, do you have a prediction for the coming year? Email your thoughts to GEreports_ANZ@ge.com or leave a comment below.