2011 Technologies: Seven Technologies That Will Rock

Samsung's 3D plasma television.

Samsung's 3D plasma television.

The rise and collision of several trends—social, mobile, touch computing, geo, cloud—keep spitting out new products and technologies which keep propelling us forward. Below I highlight seven technologies that are ready to tip into the mainstream 2011.

Before I get into my predictions, let’s see how I did last year, when I wrote “Ten Technologies That Will Rock 2010.” Some of my picks were spot on: the Tablet (hello, iPad), Geo (Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places, mobile location-aware search, etc.), Realtime Search (it became an option on Google) and Android (now even bigger than the iPhone). Some are still playing out: HTML5 (it’s made great strides, but isn’t quite here yet), Augmented Reality (lots of cool apps have AR functionality, but for the most part it is still a parlor trick), Mobile Video (FaceTime and streaming video apps pushed it forward), Mobile Transactions (Square and other transaction processing options came onto the scene), and Social CRM (Salesforce pushed Chatter, and tons of social CRM startups pushed their wares, but enterprises are always slow to adopt). And

What’s in store for 2011? Some of these themes will continue to evolve, and some new ones will gain currency. Here are seven technologies poised to rock the new year:

  1. Web Video On Your TV: We’ve already seen many attempts to turn the Internet into a video-delivery pipe to rival cable TV: Google TV, Apple TV, the Boxee Box, Roku, and a slew of “Internet-enabled” TVs.  None of them are quite yet cable killers, but they are seeding the market with simple ways to bring Internet video to your large-screen TV in the living room. The more cable-quality video that becomes available over the Web via streaming services such as Netflix, Vudu, or iTunes, the more that people will turn to Web when they are looking for something to watch. This trend is not about surfing the Web on your TV. Nobody wants to do that. It is about using the Internet as an alternative way to deliver movies and TV shows to your flat-screen TV. Even the cable companies will dip their toes into the Internet delivery waters (or plunge deeper if they already have their toes wet). What looks like a pale competitor to cable today will be a lot more viable in a short, twelve months.

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