Peter Cochrane's Blog: Three tech bets for 2011

What will be the key technology themes this year?

Written on a flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to London, edited at my London hotel, and sent to silicon via a free wi-fi service.

Every year the pundits lock on to a few emerging technologies and do them to death. In 2010 social networking and child safety loomed large. So, what will it be in 2011?

By any measure, the superficial advance of technology in first decade of the new century was dominated by iPods, iPhones, iPads, iTunes, open software and app stores.

Politically, the big deals were online porn, gaming, gambling, social networking, privacy, and mobile phones cooking our brains. The invective was non-stop, with risk always voiced louder than any advantage.

Despite WikiLeaks, denial of service attacks and a rising tide of cybercrime, the planet continued to spin on its axis. The population just got on with it and new stuff was subsumed without fuss or bother. Overall, good overcame bad, a few products really succeeded, and many poor products failed, but far more lives were enhanced than damaged.

So, what will 2011 bring? More of the same for sure, but I would put my money on three biggies that will change markets and behaviours significantly:

Young man using a laptop on the grass

Mobile and fixed location-based services will change social networking by connecting the virtual and real worlds in real-time
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

1. Mobile and fixed location-based services
To date, social networking has mainly been confined to the virtual with a small proportion of physical meetings and flash mob events.

But a new technology is creeping into the frame in the form of mobile and fixed location-based services. This technology will change social networking by connecting the virtual and real worlds in real-time.

Personal information and current location data is a killer combination. Who are you, what is your gender and history, and what are your interests and recent activities? And hey, we are not only in the same town, we are only 350 metres apart. This is going to be...