The Top 20 Technology Driven Trends for 2012

11) Digital identity management will become increasingly important to both organizations and individuals as new software allows users to better manage their multiple identities across business and personal networks. Next generation biometrics will play a key role in both identity management and security.

12) Visual communications takes video conferencing to a new level with programs like SKYPE, Apple’s FaceTime, and others giving us video communication on phones, tablets, and home televisions. Visual communications will be integrated with current video conferencing systems, fueling this as a main relationship-building tool for businesses of all sizes.

13) Enhanced location awareness will accelerate the number of business-to-consumer apps for smart phones and tablets that will take geo-social marketing and sales to a new level of creative application, driving rapid growth.

14) Geo-spatial visualization combines geographic information systems (GIS) with location-aware data, radio frequency identification (RFID), and other location-aware sensors (including the current location of users from the use of their mobile devices) to create new insights and competitive advantage. Early applications include logistics and supply chain to name a few.

15) Smart TV using apps will get a major boost in the marketplace, fueling a major shift in home viewing. Ever wonder how you could have over 500 cable or satellite channels and nothing to watch? You didn’t have apps on your TV allowing you to personalize the experience. This is the beginning of a major shift that will take place in living rooms globally. Look for Apple to introduce the iTV, basically a living room sized iPad.

16) Multiple app stores for all smart phone, tablet, and television operating systems (Android, Blackberry, Windows, and others) will take off, creating an abundant distribution and sales ecosystem for all. This will cement the revolution versus evolution that apps software represents. We will see business app stores for the enterprise starting this year.

17) 3D displays for smartphones and tablets will be the breakthrough that will drive wide-scale consumer acceptance of 3D computing. 3D computing for the enterprise will grow rapidly for military, medicine, fashion, architecture, and entertainment applications.

18) eBooks, eNewspapers, and eMagazines pass the tipping point due to the abundance of smartphones with readable displays, tablets that provide a full color experience, and publishers providing apps that give a better than paper experience by including cut, copy, paste, print, and multimedia capabilities. In addition, eBook readers will have high quality with a low enough price to bring in the masses.

9) Interactive multimedia eTextbooks will finally take off thanks to Apple’s iBook Author and other competing tools, freeing new publishers to create compelling and engaging content, and freeing students from a static, expensive, and literally heavy experience.

20) Wireless machine-to-machine applications such as two-way meter reading, surveillance, vending machine, and point-of-sale solutions take off thanks to faster wireless data networks.

Are these the only technology-driven trends for 2012 to be aware of? Of course not. As any CIO knows, technology is always evolving, resulting in new trends emerging and new products appearing every day. That’s why one of your key functions is to stay ahead of the trends by anticipating them, adapting them to your unique environment before the competition does, and ultimately enabling your organization to profit from them. The more you’re able to do that, the sooner you’ll be able to take your organization to the next level of success.

Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and business strategists, and is the founder and CEO ofBurrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients better understand how technological, social and business forces are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. He is the author of six books, including the national bestseller “Flash Foresight: How To See the Invisible and Do the Impossible” as well as the highly acclaimed Technotrends. Be sure to check out Volume 2 of Daniel’s “Know What’s Next Magazine,” an annual publication on strategies for transforming your business and future.