2012: Another Year of Digital Breakthroughs?


ADOTAS – Over the last two weeks, I’ve been reviewing the predictions Fjord made at the onset of 2011 (see Part 1 and Part 2 of that review), and now, as we wrap up the first week of 2012, it seems appropriate to look forward to what can be expected from this year. Earlier this week, Fjord released our 2012 Digital Trends forecast — 10 trends we expect to overtake digital in the coming 12 months. Some of what we predict has been a long time coming, some builds on newer, more recent technology, and some will be completely different from what we’ve seen before. And what does it all mean for brands, marketers and advertisers? Read on.

2012 Prediction: From Social to Spatial

It’s no longer just “what are you doing?,” but “where are you going?” and “when will you be there?” that the social universe cares about. While Facebook’s Timeline allows us to answer, for all our friends and followers, those age-old “where were you when …” questions, Foursquare’s Radar functionality tells you when you’re near people or places that you like, just in case you’re up for a bit of a diversion in the future (even if that future is only five minutes from now). As more people transition from using social media to record what we’ve done to using it to help us plan what we will do, advertising and marketing efforts can become increasingly local — even hyperlocal — to reach an engaged nearby audience eager for interaction with companies and brands. Fjord sees a bright future for organizations that are able to harness the power of location and time — categories that, unlike social and search, are still up for grabs.

2012 Prediction: An S.O.S. from the Disconnected Living Room

2012 will see even more “clutter” in the living room. Yahoo’s IntoNow app can determine what we’re watching on TV and share that with our friends via Twitter. Hulu feeds our watching habits to our Facbook Timelines. The Xbox, more than just a gaming console, allows us to access film and video without having to leave the house, or even the sofa. Disney encouraged viewers of its Christmas Day parade to use the Shazam app to get behind-the-scenes content. Americans spend an average of four hours per day watching television, and delivering a more full-integrated experience (or at  least companion experiences) — whether through interactivity, social networking, or simple convenience — can ensure that those are four hours are enhanced. But be careful, 2012 is also the year in which the struggle for sofa supremacy could finally start to see some winners and losers.

2012 Prediction: Your Identity Is Your Currency

There’s something truly remarkable about modern society’s willingness to share so much of themselves with their friends and acquaintances. Modern stoicism is giving way to post-modern openness — but with that openness are risks. The more we share, the greater the odds that what we post can someday be used against us: in job interviews ,relationships, even financial transactions. So in 2012, we anticipate an increased sensitivity to how we value the information that we post — and how we value our ability to keep it at least somewhat private. For every service like OpenID that allows us to safely log into multiple sites and control our information, there will also be an uptick in trends like “Pay with a Tweet,” in which no money changes hands, but the whole Twitterverse can see what you’ve just “purchased.” 2012 may be the year of social media privacy trade-offs; it remains to be seen whether more secrecy or more openness will ultimately win. 2012 will see a host of services that will push the boundaries of privacy — some of these will prevail as “cool;” others are doomed to be creepy. This is the tipping point we call the social dilemma, because nobody knows exactly where it lies. 2012 could be the first year of the Social Dilemma.

2012 Prediction: Say Hello to 24/7 Wearables

One of the most tedious parts of sticking to a workout regimen? Pausing between each set to write down how many reps you’ve done. Wouldn’t it be nice if something could just do it for you? For the cost of a few sessions with a personal trainer, you can get a wearable device that will track your activity over the course of the day — not just at the gym, but on your bike, or even walking around the city. Not into fitness? What about a sensor that tracks your sleeping habits and feeds it to a smart alarm clock to calculate the ideal time to wake up in the morning? Or a pair of earrings that allows you to listen to your iPod wirelessly, without anyone even noticing? We might still be a long way off from having microchips implanted in our brains, but devices that can help us do the things we already do more quickly and easily will be increasingly in demand this year — so brands willing to give that to their consumers will have quite an edge over their competitors. The challenge for wearable electronics is to understand what users will want to do with them, and to take advantage of the growing concept of  “glanceability.” There will be a battle for people’s “glance.”


  1. Agreeish…

    “From Social to Spatial” – it is the move from what you are doing and where to….. who you are doing it with!

    “Your Identity Is Your Currency.” Identity is not a currency but it does have value…


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