“Turkeys are hitting the ground like wet cement,” gasped the voice of radio newsman Les Nesman in the 1978 sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. The Thanksgiving show featured a promotion where the radio station dropped turkeys from a helicopter over the Pinedale shopping center. They were live turkeys. “Oh, they’re crashing to the earth … one just went through the windshield of a parked car … the crowd is running for their lives.” It is in this spirit I say “Be the ground and not the turkey” – and let me share my predictions for 2011 with you.
The Gadget Formerly Known As A Cell Phone
In the 2002 Tom Cruise movie Minority Report, display advertising greets each person walking down the street individually with a message that is relevant to them.
Enter mobile devices (the gadgets formerly known as cell phones) in 2011. Not only are we moving to a point where your wallet (identity and ability to purchase) will be migrating to your mobile device, but we are very much to the point that location based services (LBS or geolocation) will be a huge part of your life. These are applications that give you relevant information to your tastes based on where you are at any given moment.
Foursquare, Yelp, Gowalla, Google Places and more recently Facebook are starting to know where you are and are starting to link regular customers with special offers. Again this proves that everything, even on the web – that everything is still part of your local economy.
Shopkick is making shopping a lot more interesting and fun for iPhone and Android users with sales especially for you, based on where you are right now. Get points, get savings, get rewarded – it’s a big win for users of the free application with game-like graphics.
Augmented Reality, applications that add content over the photos being viewed through your phone’s camera provides a new level of fun and information – but this should hit big in 2012 (with heavy home shopping apps).
Draw the lines from what already exists to see the near future of 2011 – saving you money, relevant content and offers, a new type of loyalty rewards program and gaming all together supported by your phone’s ability to pay is all ahead and in the near future.
QR Codes: The Explosion of The Zebra in a Blender
Those square bar codes that can be scanned by your phone to compare pricing. Mobile applications like Google Shopping, ShopSavvy or Shopkick are going to see huge popularity in 2011. Point your phone’s camera at the square bar code, and get more information about a product from a web site or comparison shop between local and web stores. I’ve actually been in one store scanning items and bought it on my phone from another store.
Walmart is reported to be among the major retailers that will be popping the QR codes out this year, along with an increasing number of restaurants and local stores.
You Haven’t Heard About The Cloud?
The biggest single technical development that is empowering mobile productivity changes is pushing applications into the “cloud.” These web-based applications mean that your work follows you from computer to phone to computer. This now will include office applications include Microsoft Office, and even customer relationship management options.
Although I called out the cloud in last year’s predictions, it’s going mainstream this year. Google connect, just released to beta testers in late November, will add a level of compatibility with Microsoft Office documents – in the cloud.
Questions about security will continue, but even browser-based office documents within a company’s firewall are starting to grow in popularity.
The Whole Lot of It Is Social
This is all about personal, relevant content being accessible at any place, any time. Social media, the 21st century version of storytelling and word of mouth at light-speed will continue to escalate in popularity. If you’ve slept through the whole Facebook and Twitter thing, most people in the U.S. are active in social networks.
Social sharing of content is what makes all these other predictions work: people working together on a long term or ad hoc basis, as in local store reviews.
You have two choices: You can engage with other people and go mobile, or, like WKRP’s General Manager Arthur Carlson, you can think turkeys can fly