Opportunity next exit sign

Here are some trends I will be watching in 2013 as they relate to technology and business. If your business isn’t already thinking about these things, you may be missing some key opportunities.

The continued rise of social media

Social media has exploded in the past few years, and companies are starting to understand the shift from paid to earned media. We will continue to see more social-media platforms developed, while Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube continue to tweak and expand. Google+ is the platform to watch for businesses, and there will be more adoption of Google Hangouts for sharing video content and collaboration.

There will be more “social media experts” starting businesses, and those who are truly experts will differentiate themselves from the growing number of self-declared gurus by delivering results for their clients.

Read: Stop Being Freaked Out by Social Media

Systems that help to automate and aggregate content like HootSuite, Rebelmouse and Paper.li, will continue to expand and become more popular as businesses and individuals struggle with lack of time and resources to participate in all the various channels.

Mobile devices and their use in business

In my TedX talk in 2011, I quoted a statistic that by 2014, more people globally will be surfing the Internet through mobile devices than their desktop computers. This has already happened in China, with its 538 million internet users.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center, “In the first half of 2012, Internet surfers using desktop computers accounted for 70.7% of the total, 2.7% less than that in the second half of 2011, while the percentage of mobile Internet users increased to 72.2%, surpassing that of desktop users.”

There’s also the much quoted statistic that there are 6.8 billion people on the planet and 4.0 billion of them own a mobile phone, while only 3.5 billion of them own a toothbrush. Companies will scramble to build an app or to get their traditional websites to fit the variety of mobile phones and tablet sizes. There will be a dramatic rise in m-commerce and virtual wallets. Deals and coupons sent to mobile devices get a 10% higher adoption rate, so marketers will start to catch on to this.

IT security

This stuff keeps me up at night and gives me nightmares. Read the November Wired.com cover story “Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore” for a horrifying account of how a hacker destroyed one man’s entire digital life in an hour, and even wiped out all his photographs of his daughter.

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