2013 promises to transform the way we work: in terms of space, in how we handle big data, and in what we demand from collaboration technologies.
Editor's Note: This is the second in David's three part series on Collaboration in 2013
3. Ubiquitous Video Conferencing
Video seems to be much more important in the post-PC era, it is part of the “I don’t want to miss anything” trend we are seeing. Last year we saw the rise of the “ubiquitous video end-point” with Vidtel, Vidyo, Magor and others all offering systems that could connect with any end-point, mobile, desktop, room-based, etc.
Most of the MCU’s or video bridges are in the cloud now, so you don’t have to fight with that hardware any more. Streaming video is available on most every mobile platform (depending on your broadband connection), now it is time to go to the next level and have video conferencing on every device.
Yes, I have FaceTime on my Apple mobile devices, but it is limited, and I don’t use it very much. I use most of these devices to consume content and less to generate it. Some of this is due to size (iPhone). While that is not a limitation with an iPad, very few people seem to use their iPads for video conferencing.
I see the rise of applications that make it easy to do video conferencing in one click on most any mobile device in 2013, making video conferencing finally ubiquitous!
4. Collaboration on Big Data
According to IBM, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are born every day (enough to fill more than 531 million DVDs), and 90 percent of the world's digital information was produced over the last two years. With this explosion in large data sets there are many start-ups with tools to help you to deal with big data often in a visual or graphic format where it is easy to see trends and patterns (something that people are really good at).
Oracle just bought DataRaker (big data about energy and utilities) to help with this, IBM has been producing tools for Big Data for a while (but other applications like Pentaho, SAS, Tibco are also offering solutions in this area. Big Data BBQ has a list of other big data start-ups.
But there are fewer applications that let you share and manipulate the data with others. GreenPlum (a division of EMC) Chorus claims to let you collaborate with others around big data, and Entagen TripleMap also allows this (see Figure 3 for the map of Leukemia).
Figure 3: Entagen TripleMap for Leukemia
5. The Changing Workplace
I think there are five technologies that are getting ready to transform your workplace: nanotechnology, 3D printing (covered in prediction 2), heads-up displays and augmented reality, Brain-machine interface, and driverless cars.
A: Nanotechnology is the ability to build things with very, very, very small robots, so small that they can move atoms and molecules. Today these technologies are used most often in material science and wellness. How they will affect your work place is another story.
Imagine the ability to build a desk or chair to your specifications and grow it right out of the floor when you need it (see Figure 4). Or the ability to re-configure your office for whatever you are using it for; a meeting, lab workbench, video conferencing room, etc.
Figure 4: Modular Roombots self-assemble to become furniture for your sci-fi abode
B: Heads up displays and augmented reality are already in use. They have been used from everything from multi-player war games, to displays in aircraft and cars. Below we see Tom Cruise in Minority Report using a wide variety of virtual reality displays to give him information on whatever future criminal he is tracking down.
Figure 5: Information displays from Minority Report
You can find similar displays today from a company called Oblong in Southern CA.