It’s with some trepidation that I throw a few predictions into the ring for 2009; who could have predicted 2008’s global economic meltdown? Few did although in hindsight the signs were there. Without doubt 2009 is going to be full of challenges for businesses, perhaps especially those in the technology and communications areas.
There has been a tidal wave of start-ups and social media tools. Without a doubt there will now be a shake out, those with a strong business – producing revenue and growth – will survive. Some will be bought by bigger fish, or merge with others who are providing the same service, others will die. We’ve seen this before.
Start-up money will be harder to come by, particularly in the US and Europe, so new companies are going to have to be cheaper and smarter in how they develop. VCs are likely to want a faster payback and ask more penetrating questions on the business model – not just the technology. We could see start-up money coming out of Asia and NEMA rather than the US.
For big companies in the tech space like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo expectations will increase. Microsoft and Google provide a huge range of services to large corporates who are going to want more for the money they have available.
In terms of the services provided directly to customers Google needs to start providing service to the local user or disillusionment will grow – they’re no longer the cool start up and it’s going to get tougher for them.
The technology has advanced, the content had advanced, but so far it’s been early adopters who’ve really benefitted. This is changing, it’s going mainstream which means that it is generating an advertising opportunity. If this can be linked to location then we can get to micro targeting – and micro searching. Finally I can search for the product I want and get local results.
The web is no longer anonymous. Open standards, services like Sxipper, will develop further to improve authentication on the web. Companies, registration authorities and governments will pressure IP suppliers and other web site suppliers to crack down on cybercrime – forward fee fraud alone made more profit than Disney in 2007. In the past financial services companies have paid up in some cases of cybercrime even when not at fault, but this year they haven’t got any money so I predict a greater fightback from them.
So overall, a shakeout of the proliferation of social media sites and apps – those with a real audience and a revenue stream have the best chance of survival (however good the concept is). Opportunities for real innovation, both from startups and established companies, and bigger demands for companies and customers who are also trying to do more with less in their own fields. 2009 is here; ready, steady, GO!