Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Birnbach Communications' Top Predictions for 2013, Part V

Today, we'll look at some tech trends:

·         Jobs, unemployment, and recruiting and the need for specially-trained employees for specific industries will be a big story. There will be a lot of coverage on the impact of ObamaCare, regulations, taxes, and spending cuts on job creation and job growth -- with prescriptive op-ed articles in the New York Times taking drastically opposing perspectives from those appearing in the Wall St. Journal. Expect that immigration reform, particularly H1B visas needed by skilled foreign employees to work in the U.S., will also get a lot of coverage. Interestingly, while unemployment figures remain higher than either party would like, high tech and biotech companies are having difficulty finding qualified job candidates to fill open job -- making H1B visas an important issue. Expect that some to make the argument that the way to solve the job creation issue is a matter of addressing priorities within our education system, such as our lack of science and math teachers, which decreases the number of students interested in science and math. (However, in our polarized environment, expect opposition to spending more on education and job training.)

·         STEM will continue to be a push by businesses. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) probably won't generate a lot of media attention but we think it will continue to an important trend. More schools are focused on STEM projects (to the extent that few media articles actually feel the need to spell out what the acronym stands for), and more far-thinking businesses in related fields are realizing they need to support STEM projects in order to nurture future employees. FIRST, a robotics competition founded by inventor Dean Kamen, is flourishing because its LEGO-based robotics competition for elementary students is popular while its robotics competition for high school students draw increased support from businesses, executives who agree to mentor, etc. (Disclosure: we have done project work for FIRST.) STEM may not generate much coverage in 2013 but we still think it is an important trend.

·         App burnout: There are probably a million apps now on iTunes, Android Market, Google Apps Marketplace, Windows Phone Apps Store, but most of us use only a fraction of the apps we downloaded. Just because there’s an app for that, doesn’t mean people actually use the app after downloading it. One implication is that it will start becoming difficult to get potential users to download new apps.  We expect more coverage of this trend – way more apps than users – discussing the implications for app developers and the smartphone environment.   

·         Robotics will generate buzz. We're not at a point of having humanized (if fussy) droids like C3P0 but we expect that advances in robotics to generate some coverage in even the more staid business publications (beyond Wired and Fast Company).
Let us know if you agree or disagree. Check back tomorrow for additional predictions or click here for Part I, Part II, Part III or Part IV.

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