2012 was quite an intense and turbulent year—wilder weather, the London Olympics (and a gymnastics gold for Gabby Douglas), the contentious U.S. Presidential election, Facebook’s disastrous IPO, the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini, patent lawsuits, and, as we neared the end of 2012, the “Fiscal Cliff.” And drat, that was too close for comfort.
Over the past year, the most-read news article on the infotoday.com site was my NewsLink Spotlight article posted Dec. 3, 2012, “The Fight for a Free and Open Internet.” It clearly touched a nerve, as some proposals from participating states at the World Conference on International Telecommunications could justify censorship of legitimate speech. The treaty, which was approved after 2 intensive weeks of negotiation, “sets out general principles for ensuring the free flow of information around the world.” The final document emerging from that meeting can be downloaded here. Tough issues that provoked considerable debate at the conference reportedly included network security, unsolicited bulk content such as spam email, the definition of entities providing services under the terms of the treaty, the principle of nondiscriminatory access of countries to each other’s networks, and whether or not to include language on freedom of expression in the preamble text of the treaty. Reuters reports that the treaty was signed by only 89 countries out of a possible 144. “But the acrimonious debate over the treaty—and refusal of so many countries, including the United States and much of Europe, to sign up immediately—have exposed a deep split in the international community. A U.S.-led bloc advocated a hands-off approach to the Internet, while Russia, China, and much of Africa and the Middle East sought greater governmental oversight of cyberspace.”
The next most-read article was a NewsBreak by Richard Oppenheim, “Apple iPhone 5—What You Don’t See Matters.” He reviewed some of the phone’s new and upgraded features and discussed some of the shortcomings (such as having to replace previous phone accessories and the failure of the new Apple Maps App).
Last year’s “Review of 2011 and Trends Watch 2012” was also a popular article. The full list of NewsBreaks is available here. It is also searchable.
Hot News—Anything About Ebooks
It was a wild ride in the ebook market—lawsuits, refusals to sell to libraries, library backlash against publishers, brick-and-mortar bookstores closing, start-up companies challenging traditional publishers and distributors, and publishers’ consolidation. All of our NewsBreak articles that dealt with ebooks or etextbooks in any way were very popular with our readers. Look for additional coverage of what’s happening to post next week from frequent NewsBreak author, Nancy Herther.
On Dec. 27, 2012, the Pew Research Center & American Life Project released a new survey report “E-book Reading Jumps; Print Book Reading Declines.” According to the findings, “In the past year, the number of those who read ebooks increased from 16% of all Americans ages 16 and older to 23%. At the same time, the number of those who read printed books in the previous 12 months fell from 72% of the population ages 16 and older to 67%.” Of course, this coincides with an increase in ownership of e-reading devices. There is also a growing public awareness that public libraries lend ebooks, but the growth of actual borrowing by library users increased only 2%, from 3% to 5%. As Gary Price points out, it would be interesting to learn how many users visit the library’s site and then give up because they can’t find desired titles or there are too many “digital hoops” to jump through. I borrow ebooks on my Kindle from my local library but have experienced these frustrations. There is just too much “friction” in the borrowing process.
Hot Topics in 2012
- Big Data was the buzzword of the year
- Data analytics
- Smartphone adoption skyrockets (45% of U.S. adults now own a smartphone)
- Mobile apps
- Blending of offline-online worlds
- Gesture-based computing
- Increased geo-tagging of information
- Watching news on multiple devices simultaneously—TV and (mobile) internet
- Fewer Americans read print newspapers and magazines (some big titles such as Newsweek move to online only)
- Voice interfaces
- MOOCs—Massive Open Online Courses
- Increasing business engagement with social media
- Video, video, video… (“Video is the fastest-growing digital content category; we forecast that more than 90% of the online population will regularly watch online video by 2017.”
- Ebook self-publishing market grows (and is expected to surge in 2013)
- Growing popularity of e-singles (“stories somewhere between 5,000 and 30,000 words, usually nonfiction, and sold as inexpensive ebooks”)
- Tablets sales rise, sales growth of dedicated e-readers slows
- Apple maps—big blunder and embarrassment (with iOS 6 Apple dropped Google Maps)
- Facebook’s botched IPO
- Publisher consolidation
- Web-scale discovery for library collections
- Evolving roles for librarians
- The rise of monograph e-platforms (Books at JSTOR, University Publishing Online, University Press Scholarship Online, University Press Content Consortium Book Collections of Project MUSE )
- Privacy and security concerns dominate policy discussions
- Government tries to regulate the internet (SOPA and PIPA, ACTA, WCIT)—expect more battles in 2013
- Progress in Open Access initiatives
Looking Ahead to 2013
- Apple versus Google versus Facebook versus Amazon—battling on hardware and search (“The Lines Between Software and Hardware Continue to Blur”)
- Battle of the mobile devices (Apple iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft Windows)
- Intelligent objects—The Internet of Things
- More predictive personalization
- Expansion of peer power
- Growth in open source innovation/problem solving (e.g., more installations of Solr)
- Expansion of cloud computing and thus a greater need for security and data center redundancy (outages are much more a problem than data breaches)
- Work anywhere
- More Big Data (as one search technologies expert said, “There’s plenty of hype around big data, but underneath there are compelling applications to be implemented which combine the best of enterprise search and business insight technologies.")
- Publishers will use metadata in more sophisticated ways
- Publishers will still grapple with testing new business models—library pricing, subscription models, DRM-free sales, etc.
- Companies will increasingly have to deal with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) issues
- Looking forward to Microsoft Surface Pro with full version of Windows 8
- Enterprises may choose to bypass Windows 8 (because of interface issues) and wait for “Windows 9”
- Anticipated launch of “iPad 5” and “iPhone 6”
- Anticipated next Android launch—“Key Lime Pie”
- More sales of near-field-communication (NFC) enabled mobile devices—and adoption of customizable NFC tags
- Biometric security becoming more prevalent
- T-Mobile targets AT&T customers
- More publisher consolidation
- Consumers with content stored in the cloud may encounter problems when they want to move to another provider
Through Other Lenses
Consultant Marshall Breeding, who writes the Systems Librarian column for Computers in Libraries, has an excellent article on trends related to library technologies. His “Tech Review and Forecast for 2013” in the December 2012 issue is packed with his expert commentary and insights, especially on discovery services and “library services platforms.”
The January 2013 issue of Information Today features an article by Barb Brynko titled “What’s Hot for 2013.” She interviews several industry consultants for their predictions and then provides a preview of product highlights that will be coming in the new year, based on information provided by companies such as Gale, ProQuest, EBSCO, Springer, LexisNexis, and others.
One of the trend reports that I look forward to each year comes from Mary Meeker of KPCB (Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers); she was formerly with Morgan Stanley. Each year, she issues a state of the internet report that offers not just revealing charts and graphs but insights that have been spot-on. Her concept of an “Asset-Light” future has received rave reviews from blogosphere and media coverage. An Asset-Light lifestyle frees one from space, time, and money constraints. It’s about paying for access not ownership.
“This cycle of tech disruption is materially faster and broader than prior cycles.”
Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013
Digital Book World: “Ten Bold Predictions for Ebooks and Digital Publishing in 2013,” by Jeremy Greenfield.
Some interesting predictions: more consolidation, enhanced ebooks, the $0 Kindle, and “Educational publisher Cengage will default on its bonds and be combined with McGraw-Hill.”
Forbes: “Three Predictions for Book Publishing in 2013,” by Jeremy Greenfield.
The most interesting: “Goodreads, the massive social network dedicated to books and readers, will turn into a bookseller in 2013.”
The Bing Top Searches of 2012 Report
The official Google 2012 Zeitgeist website
Includes 838 lists from 55 countries, covering 1.2 trillion searches done worldwide.
And, for those who can’t get enough of these lists, there’s a new Google Zeitgeist 2012 Android app.
Yahoo! 2012 Year in Review
Facebook Trends from 2012
See Your 2012 Year in Review -- Revisit the 20 biggest moments on your Facebook Timeline
The Social Media Report 2012
“According to Nielsen and NM Incite’s latest Social Media Report, consumers continue to spend more time on social networks than on any other category of sites—roughly 20 percent of their total time online via personal computer (PC), and 30 percent of total time online via mobile. Additionally, total time spent on social media in the U.S. across PCs and mobile devices increased 37 percent to 121 billion minutes in July 2012, compared to 88 billion in July 2011.”
Trendwatching.com: 10 Crucial Consumer Trends For 2013
Example #5—Appscriptions: “Digital technologies are the new medicines. In 2013, expect consumers to turn to the medical profession and medical institutions to certify and curate health apps and technologies, or to ‘prescribe’ them, much as they prescribe medicines as part of a course of treatment.”
Another interesting one is Example #7—Data Myning: “To date, the ‘big data’ discussion has focused on the value of customer data to businesses. In 2013 expect savvy shoppers to start reversing the flow, as consumers seek to own and make the most of their lifestyle data, and turn to brands that use this data to proactively offer customers help and advice on how to improve their behavior and/ or save money.”
For some insights on the future, check out the work of global trends and innovation expert Richard Watson. He writes the What’s Next: Top Trends blog.
Visualization: Timeline History of the World, 1970-2040
It presents four potential paths for the future.
Book: Future Vision: scenarios for the world in 2040, by Richard Watson and Oliver Freeman
Business Insider: Here Are The Hot New Technologies That Will Get Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In 2013
“In 2012, the funding pendulum swung away from consumer Internet companies and back toward startups that serve businesses—enterprise technology, as it’s known in the business. The focus will stay there in 2013, say four venture capitalists…”
EContent: The Year in Social Media: Blazing the Trail to the Future, by Sean Gelles
EContent: The Year of the Ebook: 2012 vs. 2013 by Peggy Hageman