We will start to live life in the Cloud

Cloud and cloud-based thinking were very much the big thing in 2009 if you knew what it meant. The cloud means one thing to the technology world, it means a very different thing to the average consumer or business.

2010 will see this niche phrase spill over into the non-technical world. Our life in the cloud will become something we start to notice, and managing that life in the cloud will become an even bigger thing. Major technology providers like Microsoft, Google and Apple are providing clever tools to synchronise your life in the cloud with the many different devices with which you access it. Livemesh and MobileMe are examples of this functionality coming together. But these just handle your stuff and your devices, what about your family, your friends, your interests and your community? How does your world synchronise with your stuff and your devices?

How do you manage your tweets, Facebook friends, and Linkedin associates with your email, your schedule, your life? How do you maintain separation when it’s needed and provide collaboration and integration when required? More importantly how do you monitor it all, how can you watch the conversation, participate in it, ignore it, filter it? Will Google Wave provide some answers?

Our life in the cloud has never been more complicated and 2010 will see the start of innovative solutions to manage our new life; digital agencies have a perfect opportunity to grab a real problem that needs a real solution. So let’s look forward to some really creative and innovative solutions.

Mobile comes of age

You’ll have heard this one before… many times: this is the year of the mobile. Well, finally, it’s true. 2010 really will be the year of the mobile despite previous false starts. We will see both mobile browsing and mobile apps start to emerge as a powerful force amongst consumers. Previously, although the possibilities were there, the appetite wasn’t; screens were too small, connections speeds to slow, graphics to basic. All that has changed.

Mobile browsing and mobile applications are different: they are truly personal and are able to provide much more of a footprint in the user’s life than a standard web browser – they’re always in your pocket (or within arm’s reach). They are instant, always on, personal and increasingly cheap – as a result, they are extremely powerful.

Over the last 18 months we have seen 150% growth in mobile browser web traffic, with the Apple iPhone being the most used mobile browser. Globally, there are 1.5 billion internet users; however, the wireless subscriber base in 2008 was over 2 billion and they’re not just sending texts.

This uplift amongst the mobile browser community will have a consequential impact on the design of web sites. Mobile users are unique browsers, they are looking for different types of information: they are either on the move and want short, snappy instant information or are using their latest Smart phone device in their leisure time to browse the web. A new mindset will develop which will see the mobile as a far more important web access point. A laptop can often get in the way of fast information retrieval from the internet or simply be associated with work rather than leisure.

The mobile app adds another dimension to this world. A small application bundle of rich media content and functionality with access to the user’s most personal of personal devices; it knows their whereabouts, their personal profile and has been chosen to be installed by the user for quick and easy access to a valuable service or simply to entertain them on demand. Take Apple iPhone users: 93% of them have visited the App Store, 40 million devices have been sold, 33% of users are using at least one downloaded app over ten times per month. The times they are a-changing.

They key to comms in the near future is getting into the mind of the mobile user. What makes them tick when they interact with their device? What do they want? What do they expect? How can you add value to their life? And remember, just because it’s a ‘mobile’, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re on the move.