Machine Design

Backtalk 8/25/2011

Technology trends for 2011 - Part 2 Here are a few more things to watch for this year according to JWT Technology, a marketing communications company.

mHealth — Look for mobile health apps to help improve health care and change the way patients and physicians interact (think doctors using smartphones to access patients’ medical histories, patients monitoring their own blood pressure and glucose levels, etc.).

Mobile blogging — With the rise in smartphone use and more tablets come on the market, look for blogging via mobile devices to spike. “Mobloggers” update frequently — posts tend to be short and photo heavy — turning blogs into real-time records from travelers, amateur journalists, sports fans, etc.

Social objects — Services like Stickybits let users attach digital content to physical objects, and we’ll see virtual communities form around these real-world items.

Tablets for tots — Children love iPads and touchscreen smartphones, and the iPad was at the top of 2010’s Christmas tech wish list for kids 6 to 12, according to Nielsen. Midyear will see the launch of Isabella Products’ Fable, a 7-in. tablet focused on reading, drawing, gaming, and photo-sharing that will comes preloaded with content from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Video calling — More mobile phones now offer this technology, as well as tablets and Internet-connected TVs. Apple’s FaceTime for the iPhone 4 introduced the feature in 2010, and the next iPad is rumored to come equipped with FaceTime and a front-facing camera. The Tango mobile app is currently compatible with iPhones and Android phones.

Virtual mirrors — A camera displays a customer’s image onscreen, which then overlays various types of makeup, allowing shoppers to preview products and play with options. Virtual mirrors also allows clothes shoppers to test out styles and share the look via Facebook, mobile, and e-mail. Shiseido is rolling out virtual makeup mirrors in European stores after launching them in Japan; France’s Carrefour SA, the U. K.’s Superdrug, and U. S. Walmart stores are testing similar technology from EZface. Among others, Macy’s is trialing virtual mirrors in its flagship New York store.

© 2011 Penton Media, Inc.

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