Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Content Management Predictions for 2013

It’s January 1st and as in previous years, I am writing my predictions for the year ahead. Since I have the habit of reviewing my previous predictions in December, I end up waiting with the new ones until January. That has the advantage that I can read everybody else’s predictions first. But there is also pressure to be at least little different. With that, here we go, here are my Technology Predictions for 2013:

1. Facebook hits rocky grounds
I predict, that Facebook will actually lose active users in 2013 or that the volume of interactions will slow down. Obviously, the adoption of any free social service is based on the fine line between the value received vs. the price we pay. That price is measured in exposure to advertising (annoyance) and privacy loss. Under pressure to generate profits, the social vendors will cross the line. The ads are becoming too annoying, particularly on mobile devices, the privacy concerns and endless terms of use changes are becoming too sneaky, and the marketers are increasingly seeing social media as another channel for spam. That will backfire and the usage will go down in 2013.

2. Everything will be digital
The Razorfish founder Jeff Dachis once famously proclaimed that “everything that can be digital, will be digital”. Well, he was wrong because with the advent of 3D printing, everything will be digital. The blueprints and CAD drawings for any object will become a mainstream content type and allow us to load them into the printer and create (almost) any object. For 2013, I predict a major resurgence of engineering drawings management which has been a niche of enterprise content management for years. In 2013, it will gain importance beyond the traditional sectors like oil & gas and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC). OK, I might be pushing my luck on the timeline here but hey, no point predicting what already happened. Right?

3. The rise of intellectual property management
When CAD drawings enter the mainstream and become valued intellectual property (IP), there will be a new wave of piracy. Because the day will come when instead of buying the latest Rolex, it will be much cheaper to get the blueprints from PirateBay and make it yourself. This will generate a new wave of demand for security and IP management. The need for security is obvious - companies will guard their blueprints from thefts and industrial espionage, The new demand for IP management will enable legitimate licensing and sub-contracting work using CAD drawings and any other types of content assets. By the way, I’m predicting a rise in demand. I’m not so sure we will find a practical solution in 2013.

4. Internet of iPhone things
Mobility has been on my list in some form in previous years and it won’t be missing in 2013 either. There has been a lot of talk about Kevin Ashton’s Internet of things already but in 2013, the main focus of innovation will be on devices and systems that use smartphones as a point of control. In the consumer space, we will see more and more new devices such as the Nest thermostat, the Belkin WeMo switch, or the Lockitron door lock. In the enterprise, we will start using smartphones for similar purposes - to control office and lab equipment, to replace authentication tokens, or to open secure doors.

5. Mobile market predictions
As for the mobile device manufacturers, I predict that Apple will continue to dominate by all metrics except for market share which is perhaps a less important metric anyway. It’s like comparing Porsche with Kia - who cares about their market share? What matters more is revenue, earnings, reliability, and customer satisfaction. Google Android will be the most common mobile OS, to a large extent due to feature phones being replaced with Android based phones even by people who don’t use their capabilities much. There will erupt a brutal price war among the Android device vendors in 2013. RIM will continue facing challenges but it will hang on to their niche - there are enough highly loyal users in love with the keyboard and its business usability of email and calendar. Microsoft will continue struggling as their new devices are too expensive and lag behind in application support. I also predict that Microsoft will be forced to go multi-platform with their software strategy in 2013.

6. Censorship will succeed
Governments around the world, including many US agencies, believe that this “free for all, anything goes Internet” is evil. They have been repeatedly launching attempts to control, regulate or censor the Internet by law. So far, they have only succeeded in places like China while most other attempts have failed so far - just remember the SOPA and PIPA proposals that both failed in 2012 and so did the recent UN Internet conference in Dubai. With so many government initiatives to control at least some aspect of the Internet, however, it is inevitable that some of them will succeed. In 2013, we will see the first laws passed in the US or in the EU that will have a practical impact on how we use the Internet for business by introducing new demands for compliance, legal risk mitigation and data sovereignty. BTW, I am really hoping that I get this one wrong as I am a strong proponent of a free, uncensored, and unregulated Internet.

7. New wave of computers
Forget the smartphones and tablets-  they are so 2012! In 2013, we will see the emergence of a new wave of computers that will look very different. They will have the shapes of watches, glasses, helmets, goggles, jewelry, and various pieces of clothes. Typing will be replaced by dictation and gestures - Apple’s Siri may be going through some growing pains but it shows the way. Similarly, Microsoft Kinect and the Leap Motion Controller show how useful can gestures become. The display will move from a screen to head up display (HUD) which will evolve from fighter jet pilot helmets to glasses (like in the Google Glass project) and eventually to contact lenses. The Kickstarter is full of amazingly creative ideas today - just check out the Pebble watch!

8. Responsive web design will be the buzz
With the proliferation of mobile computers and with the new wave of devices coming, there will be an even greater demand for an optimal viewing experience on every type of device, no matter what the screen size, form factor, display resolution, or its technical capabilities. Unfortunately, it is becoming exceedingly expensive for companies to support multiple versions of their mobile websites and mobile apps to deliver the optimal experience to each device. Responsive web design (RWD) promises a solution for this problem by taking advantage of new concepts such as fluid grid design and flexible images. I predict, that RWD will be quite the buzz in 2013.

9. Security finally becomes a market
Information security is an interesting issue. Every customer I speak to emphasizes how critical security is for their organization. Yet, when I probe deeper, the only security measures I usually find are firewalls, HTTPS and strong passwords - perimeter security measures designed to keep the bad actors out rather than to protect the information. The elephant in the room is the fact that information security is still very much an unsolved problem in most organizations. Particularly when we consider the balance of security and convenience, security is a tough nut to crack. For 2013, I predict that customers will finally start to take security seriously. Security will move from words to actions and customers will begin implementing real security measures to protect their information. That leads to my final prediction for 2013:

10. IT strikes back
Consumerization, mobile devices, and social media have conquered the enterprise IT fortress in the last few years. IT departments have been declared obsolete and users have taken over. Well, that will change in 2013. Enterprises come to realize the security, compliance, legal exposure, and intellectual property risks that the new technologies introduced. The CIOs will be asked to address this issue. The solution will likely manifest itself in more stringent corporate policies, greater control of the devices, and more forceful ways to extend the company’s control over its information. No, I am not predicting the end of any of the new technology trends - they are here to stay. But I am predicting that enterprises will find ways to exert more control over their information. The information belongs to the company and not to the users... and certainly not to the consumer services. The IT departments will be responsible for that.

Well, that’s it. These are my predictions for 2013. I hope that you disagree with some of them - otherwise, I would think I wasn’t trying hard enough ;-) In any case, I plan to review the success of my predictions in December. Until then, I hope you will check out my blog from time to time.

Happy new year!


  1. Sorry NOT to disagree, but great post, Lubor! I especially found your comment about responsive web design of interest. I noticed it about a year ago and blogged about it (http://novosedlik.com/2012/02/08/redefining-view-web/), but I have not seen much uptake since then. It just makes so much sense from a channel management perspective. I hope that your prediction is more accurate than mine was a year ago! Stastny novy rok!

    1. Thank you, Will! Predicting on a time line is always tricky but as you are pointing out, this is a real problem that needs to be solved.

  2. Great post. Your analysis about "Everything is digital" and "Intellectual Property" management are spot on. I would have predicted that security and IP management would have become more mainstream sooner, but time has proven me wrong. This could be the year.

    1. Thanks Rob. Timing is always tricky with predictions and I too am not certain that I got the time right on these. But from what I'm been seeing, it should happen in 2013. Right?

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