The ranks of iPad apps currently swell into the thousands. One magazine title recently boasted “The Best 1,000 iPad Apps.” The question is not when will this technological avalanche stop. It will not. Rather the real question must be “What’s next?”
To try to place a finger on what is merely new, and what will actually be a life (or lifestyle) transforming breakthrough, the New Jersey Technology Council is holding its annual “Top Ten Technology Trends” meetings on Wednesday, November 9, at 4:30 p.m. at New York Internet in Bridgewater. Cost $50. Panelists include: Aaron Price, entrepreneur in residence for DFJ Gotham Ventures; James Erik Abels, founder of Three Minute Media; Darren Hammel, co-founder of Princeton Power Systems; Tom Penn, partner at MVP Ventures; and Jo Anne Saitta, senior vice-president of information technologies at PDI Inc. Visit www.njtc.org.
A native of Short Hills, Price grew up imbued with the entrepreneurial art of problem solving from his psychiatrist father and his practical mother. Before graduating from the University of Maryland in 2000 with a bachelor’s in marketing he had already launched his first business. Before the millennium turned, online food ordering from restaurants was a relatively rare service, and Price expanded his business handsomely.
Shortly following graduation Price took a fiscal roller coaster ride, marketing for ReturnBuy Inc. which traded in leftover inventory. As he stepped in, the firm swiftly raised $20 million in capital, and prospects soared. “Then within a few months I found myself mailing out the bankruptcy statements,” recalls Price. Convinced that the concept was sound, even if the company was not, Price then launched “E-fordables” with the same service. Much of his inventory trade was with the sought-after Harley Davidson parts.
Taking a brief sabbatical, Price joined his wife, a Johnson & Johnson executive, as she took a year’s rotation in China. Upon returning he founded a second business, Craftmarketmania, as well as New Jersey Tech Meetup for entrepreneurs throughout the state. He recently teamed up with DFJ Gotham, based in Manhattan, to help guide potentially profitable entrepreneurs to venturists’ negotiating tables.
“As I see it, the revolution of the mobile phone is well under way and we will see it creating major societal changes in two areas,” predicts Price.
#b#Pocket finance#/b#. Manufacturing and technical group surveys estimate that by the beginning of 2013 more people will be accessing the Internet and online messaging by mobile phone than by laptop and desktop PCs combined. The swell of mobile’s instantly transferable data can already more than handle this. “Near field communication,” though in its comparative infancy, allows individuals to walk into a store and pay via mobile phone. At first glance, such methods appear infinitely more secure than physical credit card payment. But if time has taught us anything, it is that no one keeps abreast of technology like identity thieves.
Chase Financial Systems has established an array of services that allow owners full account manipulation from their phones. This includes bill paying, personal loans, and investment trades. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of payments for goods and services will be made from mobile phones by the end of 2012.
As the act of writing a check, working through a bank, or calling a broker are replaced with an agile thumb click, the potential for devaluing our actions raises questions. Will individuals become less responsible with their own funds? Will they view transactions as merely a cybergame with play money? Or will it bring a freedom, allowing hesitant investors to use money as it is designed to be — a tool for enriching our lives.
#b#The president’s calling#/b#. “This next election will definitely see a revolution by those most able to organize mobile device strategies,” says Price. It took Internet advertisers a while to figure out the art of selected demographic appeals, and doubtless, with mobile phones, the knowledge will come more quickly.
Young college graduates use Twitter and Foursquare relentlessly. “The political group that can translate the concept of rewards and badges, similar to that which FourSquare currently uses in its check-in system, will sweep in a whole new host of voters,” says Price.
And it’s not just the wealthy techies. The politically underserved and the underprivileged younger folks spend an astounding percentage of time texting each other. The politician who can offer rewards to this group for interactive mobile participation in getting new voters, or delivering messages will unearth a politically untapped market.
And the cost for such campaigning? Remarkably minimal. Could this inexpensive method of connecting with the public perhaps provide the first wrenching of the chain that binds politicians to big money lobbyists? It might at least offer other campaigning options.
#b#Media messages#/b#. Traditional media are not standing stagnant while so many transactions drop into the public’s vest pocket. Panelist and digital media reporter Abels has founded Three Minute Media to create the very software he predicts for an explosion of cloud services, with all the sharing that entails.
Operations like ZMWare and Engine Yard are taking your computer’s basic operating platform and exploding it into an array of services. Clients have a multitude of options for setting out new connections and new sites, with information being stored away and shifted in customized packets, instantly on call.
Instead of floating simply more stuff out there, Abels foresees a new financing of our technology. The solution to all this proliferating service should be, he feels, usage-metered technological applications from which companies select and pay, just like a utility. “This month’s technology bill comes to $735.14, Henry. What have you fellows been creating in your department, anyway?” Just as the telephone exponentially expanded its capabilities and resultant billing, so may general technology applications follow suit.
It all has a grand, brave-new-world ring in which society comes out the winner, were it not dependent on so precarious a perch. The actual fact of uninterrupted electric power has yet to be achieved in the majority of nations, let alone globally. The polluting cost of fueling such power, equally, cannot be denied.
Certainly, we humans will go on creating, no matter how fragile the tools in hand. And most of our inventions will prove, as intended, for the benefit of folks worldwide. Yet hopefully with items so valuable as our finances, sacred vote, and our information at stake, we will copy a page from the many justifiably cautious programmers and develop an inviolable backup.