In the September 2012 issue of Wired, there were a couple of articles that nicely summarize the direction that technology will be taking us over the next few years. If you are a business owner with a website, this is something you need to be planning for. We’re going to talk about some trends and technology which will drastically change how your website will be used.
First of all, Windows 8 (due to be released in Fall 2012 sometime) has a iPhone sort of interface. You access and drag things around with a fingertip, if you have a touch sensitive screen. It also runs by Apps – at least on the surface.
Second, within three to five years, keyboards and mice will be optional at best. There is now a three inch long motion capture device from Leap Motion which reads movements down to your fingertips. Obviously, this alone could replace your mouse and since there have been keyboardless keyboards, it won’t take much to add that function, too. And it already lets you draw and move around maps like your Smart phone does but you can also do it in three dimensions.
Developers are already dreaming up Apps that will take this far beyond these obvious first applications. Besides game and graphic design tools, there are examples of sculpting virtually, conducting orchestras and translating sign language into text. Other things like three dimensional data analysis become far easier to do with this technology as well. As pioneered by companies like Apple, you will have one effortless interface method for all your gadgets.
Thirdly, TV channels and the internet are becoming entwined. You can already check into a show you’re watching and see what other people are saying about it on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Newer Apps keep track of what you’re watching and using the audio from the TV; it automatically switches your device to match what you’re watching. This can only improve if connected via Wi-Fi to your cable box, as they plan.
Think you can live without this? Well, imagine that extra show content will be available to these users. Imagine being able to play The Price Is Right or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire from home? Or being able to access up to the second statistics on your favorite Football, Baseball or Basketball teams? Or your kids getting bonus levels and characters for their video games when they watch the cartoon the game is based on. Or recipe variations as you watch cooking shows. Or extra news as you watch the nightly news.
And let’s not even dive into detail on how much a business will need to be involved in social media to gain and keep a large customer base in the future. You’ll be checking your Facebook page multiple times a day – and more; Facebook is just one of many networks you’ll want to have a presence on.
And we can easily imagine a time where every device you have is integrated. You have a TV which will just as often be used for doing your computer work as watching Baseball. And the cable TV networks are worried about losing all their viewers to the internet, which is cheaper for the viewer and eliminates the cable company middle man. You can already watch a certain movie online whenever you want – imagine being able to cherry pick just the channels you want?
Now, if you’re still with us, imagine how these things will change how people view your website. Websites will need to be viewed on everything from phones to screens, which is handled in an ad-hoc fashion right now. TV screens are currently averaging 46 inches while ten years ago they were 34 inches. Look out for 60 or 80 inch screens in the next few years, which will require bigger living rooms to even use them.
The bigger the screen, the bigger the images needed to fill them. Bigger images require more bandwidth from the internet and processing speed from your TV, tablet or phone. The problem is that your phone doesn’t yet have the capacity to easily process that much information, which can crash your phone or cause it to hold. If you’re a business owner with a website, you don’t want it crashing when people visit. They never come back. As mentioned, there are some ways to work around this problem but none of them are foolproof.
There are other things you should be aware of, as well. As we’re sure you can imagine, people will expect a lot more from your website in the future; the least of which is having it load correctly on whatever size screen they happen to prefer. Will there even be desktops and laptops in another ten years? Or will your phone simply act as your house remote and entertainment center? (Along with acting as your wallet, phone camera and ATM.)
It’s important to note that these trends are just what the tech magazines are covering today. New breakthroughs in technology and cultural shifts in the next few years may make all this seem like a quaint fairy tale.
What can you do now? What is the most valuable thing you can do to keep your business afloat? Improve your website now. It will be easier to update and add to a site created with modern standards than the site you have had for the last ten years. Some coding is already so old that the new gadgets can’t do much with it. Don’t be that website. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to have a decent website. Contact Little Guy Creations today.