Telstra technology predictions for 2013

Media Release, 27 December 2012

Smartphones that can be used as credit cards, virtual medical check-ups and remote home monitoring using a personal device are some of the exciting technologies expected to take off in 2013, according to Dr Hugh Bradlow, Telstra Chief Technology Officer.

Telstra has outlined the top ten tech trends that are expected to gather a foothold in consumer, business and enterprise markets in the coming 12 months.

1. Big News of the Year: the Mobile Wallet takes off

‘It’s been promised for a long time, but by next year many devices on the market will incorporate near field communication (NFC) which allows radio communication to be established by touching the devices together or bringing them into close proximity,” Dr Bradlow said.

This will allow customers to take advantage of some retailers’ plans to roll out contactless terminals which will turn mobile phones with NFC capability into virtual credit cards.

“NFC has been a slow burn but it will likely become entrenched next year and we plan to be a big part of that.”

2. Old News of the Year: Cloud computing continues to accelerate

While momentum has been building for some time, 2012 was the year when many users embraced the cloud and began thinking about how to best use the service according to Dr Bradlow.

The explosive growth of consumer devices, such as tablet PCs and smartphones, along with platforms such as Microsoft Windows 8, will probably drive even more users to embrace the cloud.

 “Next year it is likely the adoption of cloud computing will accelerate and continue accelerating for the next decade,” Dr Bradlow said.

3. Hype of the Year: Big Data

While the term ‘Big Data’ is relatively new, the technology and processes associated with it have existed for many years. The volume and types of data generated over the last few years have grown exponentially as technology evolves.

“Big Data opens the door to a new approach to engaging customers and making decisions based on insights gained from data analytics,” Dr Bradlow said. “For example, building personalised marketing profiles based on individuals’ digital footprints will allow companies to better construct and target offers to customers.”

“Big Data capabilities are now easily accessible, but people with the deep analytical skills required to drive value from Big Data are in short supply. Companies that master Big Data over the next few years will have a distinct commercial advantage.”

4. Journey of the Year: Use of Information Communications Technology takes off in the health, transport and mining  industries

“Imagine a world where, if you are feeling unwell at your desk, you can book a medical appointment online and then engage in a video consultation with your doctor” said Dr Bradlow. “Next year may see the beginning of a journey of high profile adoption of this sort of technology.”

5. Hope of the Year: Use of sensors in smart infrastructure, health and intelligent transport systems

Personal health solutions such as body sensors will also move to the next level. Australians can look forward to the expansion of innovative technologies that will ultimately allow the measurement and rapid analysis online of everything from blood flow and heart health to calorie counts.

“This will be amazing for health and fitness analysis and will potentially change the way we live, for example, by allowing us to grow old in our own homes more easily.”

6. Promise of the Year: the Connected Home will become a reality

The take up of empowering connected solutions, such as remote monitoring of the home via smartphone, will become more pervasive.

“It is likely that next year we will see home monitoring technologies becoming cheaper and easier to install, run and fix,” Dr Bradlow said.

7. Achievement of the Year: Rapid growth in LTE (4G) coverage and adoption

One of the fastest growing radio technologies yet introduced will continue to bloom in 2013.

“LTE will continue to grow next year as we plan to expand our coverage and it is likely that the technology will be adopted by more users buying phones with LTE built-in.”

8. Opportunity of the Year: Battery life starts to improve

While the power of smartphones and mobile computing devices continues to explode, battery life has struggled to keep up. Bigger screens with higher resolution, higher speeds and more powerful processors continue to exact a high price.

“In the past decade, CPU power has gone up 153 fold, while battery capacity has doubled,” said Dr Bradlow. “As individual users do more things with each device, they chew up more battery life more quickly.”

Improvements to battery life will be driven not just by bigger batteries but also network efficiencies to optimise power usage. Advances in phone chip technologies such as more power efficient multi-core processors will also help.

9. Big Transition of the Year: Software goes mass market 

Global accessibility to cloud based software distribution will turn the traditional way of doing business on its head. “It’s a very, very powerful development,” Dr Bradlow said.

10. Surprise of the Year: Speech Recognition

“This technology is set to suddenly become very useful,” said Dr Bradlow.

So much so, 2013 could see developers begin to seriously incorporate speech recognition into apps and other software.

“I can see things like users being able to say ‘cup of coffee’ into their fitness app on their phone and the app will input the amount of calories.”