Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Birnbach Communications' Top Predictions for 2012, Part 2

Here's Part 2 of our predictions:
  1. Shifting to more efficient light bulbs in 2012 will not cause the end of the world. Last year, there were a lot of published complaints about the fact that legislation signed by President Bush would replace the traditional 60-watt incandescent light bulb with more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs or LED fixtures. The New York Times and Wall St. Journal both ran stories about consumers stockpiling traditional 60-watt incandescent bulbs. Guess what: The deadline for shifting to more efficient bulbs came, and suddenly it became a non-story. We don’t expect there to be much coverage this year as people realize the alternatives do actually deliver decent white light. (Please note: we represent a manufacturer of sustainable architectural LED-based fixtures.)
  2. Academic integrity will continue to be important to deal with cheating scandals. With many Americans unemployed or underemployed going back to school, we expect more will take online courses for convenience.  But because of competition among job seekers, people will look for programs that ensure academic integrity of their tests – and those academic institutions will turn to technology to monitor tests to ensure there’s no cheating. As more school districts open up virtual academies for students K-12, expect that academic integrity will become important even at the elementary and junior high school levels.
  3. The most overused phrase in 2012 could be: lean-back/lean-forward user experiences.  Lean-back activities are those in which users passively access content, like watching TV. Lean-forward activities are those in which the user is actively engaged in consuming content, as when they’re searching for content on the Internet or via an app. Lean-back activities can last as long as it takes to watch a sitcom or movie, while the attention span for lean-forward activities tends to be much shorter.  While useful, LB/LF leaves out one other way people now access content: standing in line, holding their smartphone in the position that Jerry Seinfield described as modified chipmunk: with hands chest high and head bent to check out their screen. Of course that amounts to the same thing: short attention spans. LB/LF is important as content developers look at how to best present their content. Also expect to hear a lot of about ultrabooks – PCs as sleek and thin as Macbooks. We expect that Post-PC will be a term we’ll hear a lot in 2012, given the exploding popularity of tablets, especially iPads. 
Let us know if you agree or disagree. Check back tomorrow for additional predictions or click here for Part 1 predictions.

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