these are some examples of trend info from various sources:
The top 10 tech trends
FAST FORWARD TO 2010: PART V: From 'smart' shoes and 'invisible'
cellphones to digital tattoos and a 3D Web, the future is all about
Mark Evans and Kevin Restivo
Saturday, December 31, 2005
With the pace of innovation so rapid, predicting what technology will
bring us in the way of new products even in the next few years is
After all, only a decade ago, the Internet had just started to move
into the mainstream, but how many would have predicted it would become
such a ubiquitous communications, entertainment and business tool.
Satellite radio was virtual unheard of a few years ago. Now you can buy
a receiver for $100 and have more than a 100 commercial-free channels
beamed into your car and home via satellites. And what about the iPod?
If someone had told you in 1995 that you would be able to store
thousands of songs on a device about the size of a pack of cards, you
would probably have laughed at the suggestion.
"When you are talking five to 10 years, something could come along to
make the kind of splash that is hard to anticipate," said Ragde
Prabhakar, a professor with the University of Waterloo's computer
science school. "If you look at the history of predictions of
technology, they tend to say more about the times and a linear
exaggeration of the way things are than really noticing catalysts that
come along and change the way people interact with technology."
That said, the Financial Post asked a number of experts to gaze into
crystal balls to see what high-tech products and trends could be on the
The days of one-size-fits-all are quickly coming to an end for many
products. The most exciting opportunities lie in the use of small
computer chips to personalize a product to the individual. Adidas
introduced this spring the Adidas 1, which it billed as the world's
first computerized "smart shoe." The US$250 footwear uses a sensor,
microprocessor and motorized cable system to automatically adjust the
shoe's cushioning. Based on a person's running style, the cushioning
can be softened or stiffened.
Computer chips are also being used to adjust the flexibility of skis
according to snow conditions and how you ski.
They will also be embedded in clothes so a person's body temperature
can be wirelessly transmitted to a furnace, for example. The
surrounding temperature would then be adjusted based on the person's
clothing and body heat.
"Increasingly, the future will be customized options," said Jim
Bottomley, a futurist and owner of the Peterborough, Ont.-based Breken
Group. "If you take a common product and put in computer chips, you can
adapt the product and customize it for the user. If you take this
strategy for businesses, one of my key points is how customization for
the individual is a key quest going forward, and technology will allow
you do it."
2. ONLINE MICRO-PAYMENTS
E-commerce has taken off in recent years, but an area still to be
tackled is micro-payments. These involve products or services that cost
less than $5, such as songs and newspaper articles. According to a
recent survey by Ipsos-Insight and Peppercoin, about 45 million
Americans are happy to make online purchases of less than $5.
Dexit Inc., a Toronto-based company, is trying to convince Canadians to
use its prepaid cards instead of cash. For $1.50, consumers can fill up
a Dexit card with up to $100 to pay for items at participating
Credit card companies are excited about micro-payments, too.
MasterCard, for example, has a wireless-enabled credit card designed to
let consumers use a "touch-and-pay" system in places such as fast-food
restaurants without having to sign a receipt or punch in your personal
3. BIOMETRIC PAYMENTS
Forget about using cash, a credit card or a debit card when you can pay
using your finger. San Francisco-based Pay By Touch Solutions is hoping
to develop technology that will permit finger scanning at the point of
sale to purchase a product. The company, which raised US$130-million
this year, is working on a service in which you could swipe your finger
at a retailer or restaurant to provide information about your size and
4. ELECTRONIC PAPER
For years, the promise of electronic paper has been dangled before us.
It is based on the idea that the contents of a piece of "paper"
(actually organic electronics, plastic and tiny balls) can be changed.
Imagine reading a newspaper without having to turn a page. Instead, a
thin, flexible, lightweight device would carry all the information.
This summer at the Tokyo International Forum, Fujitsu demonstrated a
bendable electronic paper featuring vivid colour images.
5. CONSUMER ROBOTS
Remember those sci-fi shows from the 1960s when a robot cleaned your
house? Well, the future is here they actually can clean your house.
This summer, iRobot Corp. started selling a robot called Scooba that
washes floors with the push of a button. The Scooba uses intelligent
software and sensors to remember the layout of a floor plan so it can
quickly perform its job. Could it be a matter of time before there is a
robot that cooks the dinner and cleans the dishes?
6. THE 'INVISIBLE' CELLPHONE
Tired of hunting for your cellphone? Pretty soon you may not have to
look for it. In fact, the cellphone will soon be as small as the
earpieces used by business people to hook up with today's devices, says
Dan Burrus, a futurist and owner of the Dan Burrus Research Group in
Phones will be a fraction of the size of today's phones and will be
lodged into people's ears permanently if they so choose, says Mr.
Burrus. He calls the phones of the future "invisible" because users
won't ever hold them in their hands. Instead, users will program and
run the phones with voice commands, a change from today where people
punch in commands with their fingers.
The phones will also act as hearing aids and will have embedded, minute
Global Positioning Systems to guide lost travellers.
7. THREE-DIMENSIONAL WORLD WIDE WEB
The Web is going to go 3D. The Internet will become viewable from every
side, like a video game playable on Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 system.
Web surfers will have a deeper, more complete view of retailers' wares
rather than the simple graphics and text-filled pages that fill the
Internet now. "The browser will soon allow for three-dimensional views
of the Web," says Mr. Burrus. "It will change the Web completely."
Similarly, TV will have 3D qualities, which will eventually let
broadcasters produce shows that can be projected into the middle of the
room. Unlike cheesy 3D experiences of the past, viewers won't need to
wear flimsy glasses to watch a show or movie. And companies such as Z
Corp., a Burlington, Mass.-based maker of 3D printers, are already
working on technology that builds up layers of a material to create a
solid model from a digital image.
8. DIGITAL EYEGLASSES
Internet-enabled eyeglasses will be used by people who want to stay
connected to the Internet and have their actions monitored. They are
worn like reading glasses but are larger and more cumbersome.
"For a person, the glasses are like a walk recorder instead of a flight
recorder," says Steve Mann, a University of Toronto professor known for
his research in the "wearable computing" field. "People are already
using all kinds of these types of devices."
The glasses are useful for elderly people and others that have trouble
remembering things, said Mr. Mann. Hewlett-Packard Co., Nokia Oyj and
other large global corporations are developing so-called
"sousveillance" devices, which record a person's activities from their
The glasses may one day be able to download people's thoughts, feelings
and memories from a computer.
9. DIGITAL TATTOOS
Tired of losing cards or trying to remember the passwords to your many
online accounts? Pretty soon, people will be able to have all their
personal information embedded in a tattoo that resides under the skin.
"It's going to look like a screen but it won't be removable," said Mr.
Burrus. "It's not as extreme as it seems. It will be like getting a
Separately, a removable tattoo will be created that can be attached to
a person's skin, on which it will be able to play movies.
10. EMOTIONALLY RESPONSIVE TOYS
Responding to the sound of an owner's voice, the toys will be able to
react with a variety of emotions. Sony Corp.'s Aibo dog robot, which
sells for about $3,000, can already simulate anger, fear, surprise,
dislike and other emotions. iRobot is reportedly developing a product
called My Real Baby -- a robotic but emotionally responsive baby doll.
How to spot the top 10 new consumers
Consumer group targeting has long been a vital aspect of the media
world. However, as Clare Goff reveals, recent research shows consumer
groups are fragmented and can no longer be neatly pigeonholed into
Are you a Yuppy or a Yeppy, a Dinky or a Jones? Are you Metrosexual,
Ubersexual or Contrasexual? A New Geek or a Post-Raver? It seems like
every week, a new consumer group is born. Trendwatchers, ad agencies
and social research centres uncover a new attitude or a shift in a
particular demographic and coin a phrase to sum it up. For media and
marketing, they are a vital means of keeping up to date with rapidly
changing consumer interests and definitions.
But as some of these groupings also show, consumers are becoming more
complicated and less easily segmented into neat groupings. Emma Laney,
head of UK Pulse at McCann-Erickson, explains: "Our inter-generational
study showed there is no longer any single inherited sense of self,
whether that be a class, a political persuasion, a social group or a
We have to face up to a consumer who doesn't like to be defined by a
demographic, nor by an ‘attitude' but by their own multi-faceted,
These "selves" are different depending on circumstance and can change
categories. Some defy the basic tenets of marketing. So read the list
You might even find your own label.
1. Saffys (or new fogies/neoconservative teens)
Bubbling under the surface and still yet to make a real impact on
marketing strategy is the emergence of a conservative generation of
teenagers. Tagged Saffys, after Jennifer Saunders' prudish daughter in
the series Absolutely Fabulous, they are the children of ravers or
ladettes who are rebelling against their parents' liberal attitudes.
Research shows a significant proportion of teens are shunning
binge-drinking and drugs to focus on careers, and learning to take life
"It is hard if you are young nowadays," says Lara Colenso, senior
consultant at The Henley Centre. "There are constant exams and the
expectation that you won't get on the housing ladder." Often both
parents will have worked, meaning many Saffys have strong bonds with
their grandparents and are adopting their values.
They have traditional attitudes towards marriage and many are following
their US counterparts, shunning sex before marriage and taking up
religion. "It's the death of the traditional teen," says William
Higham, founder of Next Big Thing, which coined the phrase Saffys.
"It's always been assumed to be about hedonism, but we are seeing a
return to the attitude of the pre-1960s."
Media favourites: Traditional, heavyweight newspapers like The Times
and The Economist
2. Generation Jones (Late Boomers)
The term Generation Jones was coined in 1997 by American social
scientist Jonathan Pontell to describe those born between the years
1954 and 1965. Their world view sits between that of the older baby
boomers – now classified as the grey market – and the younger
Generation X-ers. Largely defined by events of the 1970s, they are
described as "realists with a social conscience" straddling the
idealism of baby boomers and the selfishness of later generations.
In 2004, the concept was identified across the UK and, according to
research by Carat, now represents about 20% of the UK adult population.
With more interest in financial security than baby boomers, this group
also has the highest personal and household income of any generational
segment in the UK. The demographic has been broken down into three
specific segments – Conservative Jones, Mainstream Jones and Radical
Increasing levels of tolerance in Britain can be put down to the
presence of Generation Jones, according to The Future Laboratory. While
Joneses do not support any particular political party, they are
committed multiculturalists, increasingly concerned about the
Media favourites: In-car radio, sports sponsorship, roadside
advertising and the internet
These Highly Educated Independent Degree-carrying Individuals are set
to become one of the most influential sectors in modern British
society, according to a study by The Future Laboratory and Allegra
Strategies. The study uncovered 10 million so-called Heidis in the UK –
affluent 30-something women who make most of the purchasing decisions
in their household and spend everything they earn. They take their
careers seriously but also party hard, with 60% of them saying they
regularly go clubbing on a week night. "These women are often going out
so much, they will still be in the same clothes the next morning," said
Tom Greatrex of The Future Laboratory.
"They will wait for Top Shop to open and buy a new outfit to wear to
work." Many of them hold down binge careers, working intensely for a
period, then taking time off to party or go on holiday. Heidis make up
60% of the people who choose to take a year off work. They also make up
almost 80% of customers in homeware stores and they spend about
£3,000 a year on home improvements.
A Heidi will often be single but, far from being a Bridget Jones, she
is likely to be having too much fun to want to settle down.
Media favourites: Various, including fashion
4. Alpha Male
From the '70s to the '90s, the Alpha Male was easily identifiable.
During the '70s, he would be sipping Campari and soda and driving a
chrome-encrusted Capri. In the '80s, he wore Armani, drove a Porsche,
clutched a Filofax and a huge mobile phone. But ostentatious symbols of
wealth have diminished and the Alpha Male is becoming an increasingly
hard species to identify. A recent study by McCann World- Group found
Alpha Male "a changed beast" and "poorly understood by marketers who
rigidly adhere to outdated stereotypes". The clichés of the
Alpha Male, such as arrogance, are no longer rewarded by society and
showy labels and brands have lost resonance. New Alpha Male makes
purchases that allow him to state his non-conformism, eg driving a
Harley Davidson or playing the electric guitar.
An Emap Advertising report divides Alpha Male into two groupings: Black
Collar Workers, seen in Hoxton holding down a web designing job and
Corporate Creatives, who have more traditional careers, but don't
conform to stereotype. Richard Fero, insight manager at Emap
Advertising, says: "If you want to capture this group, you have to
think more creatively about how to talk to them."
Media favourites: Various, but wants something inventive and
5. The New Geek
"The anorak has finally been ditched and a new, more chic Geek has
emerged from the bedroom," says Nick Betts, president of the Sci-Fi
Channel, whose Geekforce Report has revolutionised the perception of
the Geek. The bad odour-smelling loner has undergone a complete
transformation to become a "driving force in society," the report says.
It reveals that there are 6.9 million Geeks in the UK, predominantly in
the upmarket ABC1 group and spending £8.2bn between them,
pursuing their hobbies. The typifying factor of Geeks is their
single-minded focus on their chosen passion – whether it be fashion or
train-spotting – and this has, in a time of advertising overload,
accelerated them to the role of guides through consumer society. Their
single-minded passion now makes them attractive – rather than repellent
– to the opposite sex, a source of information to their friends and a
sought-after audience for marketers. The internet is the main research
tool for the meticulous research of Geeks, with 81% saying that it is
their first port of call.
Media favourites: The internet, specifically blogs, chat rooms and SMS
6. Nifty Fifties (incorporating Goagrannies, the Palin Pack and
Retirement was once about pipe-and-slippers and holidays in Skegness.
The most adventurous of the older generation saved up for a cruise. But
as the original "backpackers" reach their 60s, they are eschewing this
sort of holiday to relive experiences of their youth.
The Palin Pack view Michael Palin as a hero and are taking adventurous
journeys. "They may have backpacked around Cambodia in their youth and
they are not suddenly going to start going on cruises," says Next Big
Thing's Higham, who coined the phrase. An OMD survey showed that more
than 80% of the UK's wealth is in the over-50s age bracket.
More than half of them are planning a holiday at any one time, says
"They are looking to regress to the freedom of their teen years," says
The Henley Centre's Colenso, "and they have loads more money to do it."
A McCann Erickson report uncovered a high number of brandmothers:
brand-literate, outgoing women over 50 who refuse to grow old the way
their parents did.
Media favourites: Events such as theatre, art exhibitions, newspapers,
They were Generation X-ers who took ecstasy and lived for weekend
raves. Now they are in their 30s, settling down and incorporating that
which they loved about the rave scene into their own lives and the
upbringing of their children. Many of them are still hedonistic and
chasing the highs of their younger years, though on a more occasional
basis: they may go clubbing, take drugs, do extreme sports and take
exotic holidays, according to research by Next Big Thing, which coined
the term post-raver.
They see themselves as being as cool and youthful as their children,
and indulge in "peer parenting". "They buy Motorhead bibs for their
kids and drag them to see Scooby Doo at the cinema," says Higham. But
they also have a serious side and are driving some key 21st Century
trends, such as a renewed interest in spirituality, ecology and
community and striking a work/life balance.
Media favourites: Cinema, "right on" newspapers, such as The Guardian
and Big Issue
8. Metrosexuals and retrosexuals
Modern urban man is struggling under the weight of descriptors applied
to him. New Man metamorphosized into Metrosexual Man circa 1995,
allowing a evolved, enlightened form of masculinity to emerge.
Epitomised by David Beckham sporting a sarong, the metrosexual message
is that masculinity and manicures are not diametrical opposites.
Research by Dragon Brands showed more men prefer to treat themselves by
taking a bath than going to the pub. It's been a boom time for the
grooming industry, as men take up skincare products and waxing.
Talksport's ad profits were boosted last year by advertising from
Nivea, and lads' channel Bravo introduced metrosexual programming (see
Media Week, page 15, 16 August) But the backlash is beginning.
McCann-Erickson believes 2005 could be the year that men embrace a 21st
century version of maleness.
The rise of Retrosexual Man is epitomised by Levi's new viral online
campaign, Uncomplicate, and new retrosexual literature from Karl Mark
and Dan Indanteeum, entitled The Complete Arsehole's Guide To Handling
Media favourites: Viral communication, niche literature
Coined by Next Big Thing research group, Kilroys take their name from
both ex-UKIP president Robert Kilroy- Silk and the mid-20th Century
graffiti figure (as in "Kilroy was here"). These people proudly believe
that they are the true representatives of England and are becoming
increasingly vocal as they find many of their personal freedoms
becoming eroded. Kilroy activism began during the fuel revolt in
September 2000, when a previously silent majority of middle Englanders
took to the streets in protest. Since then, activism – particularly by
older members of society – has continued, from the revolts against
speed cameras, to the fathers4justice invasion of Buckingham Palace.
"We assume activists are young lefties," says Higham, "but these are 30
to 40- year-old neo-conservatives." Choice and personal freedom are the
main hobby horses of this group and they have been found in various
states of revolt as shareholders, in pensioner power groups and during
the Countryside Alliance march on London.
Media favourites: TV, especially BBC1 & 2 and UK Gold. Also, web
sites for protest groups such as like fathers4justice
Generation Y has been replaced by Generation-I, as today's young adults
are increasingly tech-savvy and digitally driven. Yahoo! researched the
behaviour of more than 4,000 Brits and Europeans to uncover the
interests of the first generation to grow up with digital technology.
Making up 11.5 million young adults in the UK and a quarter of all over
15s, the I-generation is a key group for marketers, with a £3bn
spend targeting them in the UK alone. The research revealed six key
insights into this group: members are digitally-driven, homogenous,
self-absorbed, time-pressured and brandist, while a sub-section are
so-called "social sparks", at the forefront of technological
advancements. Overall technology rules their lives. For those living at
home, mobiles and e-mail are key for connecting with friends, while for
newly-independents, they are the "umbilical cords" of their social
life. Almost half of those researched said they watch less TV following
the advent of the internet. Half of the respondents said they spent up
to two hours a day surfing the net.
Media favourites: Internet and mobile phones