The world is more interdependent and interconnected than ever before. Technology is ensuring the free flow of ideas, information and energy; creative co-operation and influence; and is bringing change across the globe that is happening at an unprecedented and accelerated rate.
And, as Bill Clinton says: "Progress changes consciousness and when you change people's consciousness then their awareness of what is possible changes as well - a virtuous cycle."
Social uber alles
As we embrace the reality that social technologies have become a day-today part of our lives, Generation Y staffers (or the ones they call the millennials) are increasingly reshaping companies, helping them to build broader, more agile networks to create and deliver value to customers.
Mobile apocalypse: the global power of the fourth screen as a channel of distribution is now indisputable
Consumers will look to their mobile devices to maximise absolutely every moment. A survey of US adult smartphone owners found that 63% of female respondents and 73% of male respondents don't go an hour without checking their phone (Source: Harris Interactive, June 2012).
In 2012 Google and Apple drove unprecedented adoption of mobile devices, Facebook declared itself a "mobile" company, and Amazon and Microsoft both made significant investments into mobile computing.
In Africa, 4% of households have Internet access, but more than 50% have cellphones.
It's an APP world
According to data released by Flurry Analytics, the combined downloads of apps for both Android and iOS devices for the last seven days of 2012 racked up an extremely impressive 1.76 billion downloads worldwide.
Flurry said that "the last week of 2012 was the largest week for both new device activations and app downloads in iOS and Android history", with some 17.4 million Apple and Android devices being activated on 25 December.
Looking forward to 2013, Flurry expects the trend of one-billion-download weeks to become the norm, and that the industry will surpass the two billion download week during Q4.
How I would have loved to coin this phrase of how digital technologies are the new medicines; however, this specific reference belongs to the clever people at www.trendwatching.com.
DIY health has been on the trend line for the last two years so, 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...
Successful, established traditional media will continue to deliver good profits; however, as circulations decline and media audiences fragment, media companies will increasingly find ways to leverage their brand relationships to generate new revenue streams.
Local media companies continue to seek new revenue sources derived from digital for growth and sustainability. Expect more e-tailing sites such as Zando and 36Boutiques using audiences derived from existing brand relationships.
In our world of print, watch more publishers take their brand relationships to new and exciting places, but also expect more closures and layoffs from those who are not able to adapt quick enough.
It's not just about the medium; it's still all about the message
Research shows different audiences require different delivery mechanisms at different times, and magazines remain highly relevant in the consumer's repertoire of choice. According to MRI data in the US, adults under 35-years-old read more issues per month than adults who are over 35.
Magazine audiences are growing at a rate second only to the Internet across all groups.
Magazine readers want to experience content in print and digital versions; among current subscribers, more than half chose to renew with a digital product. Among non-subscribers, nearly 40% chose an offer including print. Eighty-seven percent of those interested in reading magazines on a digital device still want a printed copy.
Made with me
Consumers increasingly desire ownership and personalisation, and participation in value creation. "Made with me" is a growing trend, driven particularly by younger generations who value experiences they share - and that also deliver benefits to society - over possessions.
So expect more crowdsourcing such as Kaiser Chiefs (the band) allowing its fans to create a custom album (with a choice of new songs). Customised media will flourish and savvy media owners will create apps to customise content through digital platforms and allow their consumers to be content curators and creators.
Augmented reality goes mainstream
Technology will change the way content is published - in publishing, posters and physical places. Tech experts predict in 2013 augmented reality (AR) will become even more important to the mobile world.
AR companies have created great relationships with movie studios, game makers, publishers and more, and their technology is already showing up in many of their products. This will amplify the media experience and the way in which consumers interact with media platforms, including and especially print.
The heightened connectivity we now enjoy means that any event anywhere is reported at literally in seconds of it happening - mostly accurately, but sometimes not. Consumers are susceptible to all sorts of provocations at any given moment in time.
We will live with growing levels of social unrest over rising inequality, austerity, unemployment, political ineptitude and institutional failure. And, as The Economist suggests, "Mobility and connectedness is at the heart of the future business environment: communications and marketing are moving from a focus on one-to-one relationships, to many-to-many. New technologies and rethinking consumption will be critical in future - with businesses rather than governments likely to lead the way."
"Every morning when we wake up, we have twenty-four band-new hours to live. What a precious gift." - Thich Nhat Hanh
Gisèle Wertheim Aymés has worked in the media industry in South Africa for over two decades. She is a director of a medical company, owner and publishing editor of Longevity Media (www.longevitymag.co.za) and a shareholder in Stuff Group SA, publishers of Stuff (www.Stuff.co.za) - the world's best-selling gadget magazine. Email her at and follow her on Twitter at @giselewaymes.
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