So, we are back in the office, back to work and moving on to a new year. While the new year seems to be bringing some amazing changes and advancements in tech, we should take a moment to review all that was in 2013.
The year brought to life technology advances and possibilities that we only thought we’d see in movies. Technology touched our everyday lives and taught us that it will eventually permeate and affect (if it hasn’t already), every aspect of who we are and who we will become.
Without further ado, here are top tech topics from 2013.
1. 3D Printing
3D printing may seem like a hard concept to really wrap your head around (I mean, printing “things?”), but the technology is real and is innovative – it’s actually changing our lives. 3D printing has so many applications right now and the technology can be used for personal, business and medical gains.
Personal - Individuals who have great ideas to invent a product often don’t pass “go” because it’s too difficult to get their ideas funded and to build a prototype, but 3D printing can help overcome that obstacle. 3D printing can create working prototypes bringing ideas and inventions to fruition and spark quicker innovation from anyone who has a good idea and the drive to make it happen.
For consumers, the future implications of 3D printing could turn out to be a financial gain. Because this technology has the ability to make some goods more easily manufactured closer to the point of purchase and/or consumption, transportation and storage costs could be lowered, and result in a pass through discount.
Medical - These possibilities are the direct results of uses of custom 3D printed products – products that have been responsible for saving and changing lives – products that have allowed those with debilitating health issues to resurface and feel confident, and products that keep people alive. 3D printing can create custom body parts to fit unique health issues and to create replications of situations for doctors to “practice” and understand the situation.
Business - For businesses, it’s all about moving quicker, reducing costs, and increasing innovation – all which can be direct results of 3D printing.
2. Collaborative Economy
A collaborative economy allows for people to pull their resources together to help all parties involved. It gives a new power to consumers who are designing their own products, crowdfunding and manufacturing them on their own, and then sharing them with others.
Crowdfunding is a positive result of a collaborative economy – it refers to finding funding for projects, products and companies, from strangers and investors via the Internet using platforms such as Kickstarter, IndieGogo, and AngelList helping crowd funding mature. It allows visionaries to share their ides and get their products off the ground, and helps companies evolve by seeking purposeful profit, maximizing resources, and harnessing crowd innovation.
One example is Toyota, who launched driving programs such as “100 Cars For Good” where social media users helped Toyota decide which nonprofits could do the most good with a new vehicle. As a result, these vehicles are helping to bring food and medicine to those who would not have had access to it if it wasn’t for these vehicles.
- What Can Companies Expect From Crowd Funding
- LeWeb: The Collaborative Economy Future With Crowd Companies
3. Tech for Global Good
This year, on November 9th, one of the largest, unofficially deemed the strongest recorded tropical cyclone to make landfall and recorded wind speeds up to 315 km/h (195 mph) (source: Wikipedia.com). This tragedy allowed tech to step in and be able to make an effort to help during this difficult time.
David Carden, Head of OCHA Philippines was quoted as saying, “Along with other countries in the region, the Philippines is increasingly relying on technology in its preparedness and response as a key programmatic tool in reducing the impact of disasters while saving as many lives as possible.”
Technology also helps by providing mobile communication that allowed the Red Cross to instantly collect donations from those who also wanted to help. It also helps by sending early warning messages when disasters are suspected to hit.
Social Media also played a role. The Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) conducts real-time monitoring of mainstream and social media for analysis, and provides rapid geo-location of event-data and infrastructure data, creates of live crisis maps for decision support, and provides other useful functions.
Finally Supply Chain Management helped with the relief by providing emergency assistance situations and allow truck drivers and food pantries to analyze the supply chain and deliver what is needed to those who need it, based on demand.
4. Mobile Gaming
What was your favorite app this year? Were you like many who became addicted to Candy Crush or just fell in love with apps that made your life easier by giving movie times or finding you the cheapest gas? This year’s most popular activities on mobile were social media and gaming.
In 2013, approximately 87% of U.S. Consumers’ mobile Internet use on smartphones came through an app, which is an increase from last year. Games that were free to download quickly sucked you into paying for additional rewards or lives because of they were easy, fun, and fun. Fitness apps have a warmer reception and a +70% sentiment online because they make users feel more productive.
Candy Crush was not just legionary this year because of its popularity but more importantly was the logic behind the game. Candy Crush gradual degree of difficulty made people addicted. The game started off with early easy and simple to beat which makes you feel good to quickly move to the next level. However, as the difficulty increase it makes you more stubborn to quit and results in you paying $.99 here and there because you were this close to beating the level, are fresh out of freebies and need one more try.
Candy crush was not alone this year, other games with similar mentalities include: Jelly Splash, Temple Run, Words With Friends, etc. have become such a big part of our daily lives.
5. Social Media Faux Pas
Whether it was positive or negative, 2013 and the social media missteps of a few, such as, Justine Sacco, reinforced the concept of thinking twice before posting on social media sites.
“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
These words within a tweet will forever haunt Justine Sacco, an IAC PR executive who was quickly fired for posting these characters via her public Twitter account. Not only did this tweet cost her a job, her reputation was ruined as many said hateful things and were appalled by her actions.
It is easy for us to point the finger at Sacco because “who would write something like that?” but if we look at our tweets in reverse you might cringe at a comment or two. It was reported that in 2013, Facebook/Twitter posts have cause problems in relationships, school achievement, and (as we see in Sacco’s situation) the workplace.
That was the first five. Stay tuned for the next five!
Image credit: Shutterstock