Looking forward: Top Tech Trends to Watch in 2013

If you’re old enough to have seen Windows 3.1, you may recognize this video of the classic starfield screensaver, which made it look like you are flying through space as stars and astroids zoom by.

This is the way I feel with technology today — so many new concepts and ideas zooming by that it’s hard to catch each star. This post tries to slow down the pace a little, examining what we have today to predict what may come tomorrow.

Here are my top three predictions for technology and services (plus a bonus trend) that we’ll see in 2013 and beyond. Do you agree or disagree? What are your visions of the future? Chime in!

Trend One: More Do-It-Yourself Awesomeness at Our Fingertips

Remember when everyone had to pay a web design company thousands of dollars for a site? Creating an infographic through a company can cost $1500 and up, but my research for book #2 has turned up mind-blowing sites (like Piktochart) that let you make a professional-looking infographic for free! Same goes for super awesome product demo videos and even your own mobile app.

In 2013, look for more start-up companies to automate high-end products and services, simplifying them to the point that normal, budget-sensitive professionals like you and me can drag-and-drop our way to a masterpiece at a fraction of the cost of a custom product.

Trend Two: The Coolest Design Tools Go Mobile

Most of the tools that I talk about for design are web-based, but mobile devices are proving themselves a more flexible platform to create and edit graphics.

For example, you can create a beautiful animated gif with Cinemagram, edit graphics professionally on the go with Adobe Photoshop Touch and combine your video with others with Vyclone video app, which uses GPS to morph videos at the same event into one with all the different perspectives combined — just like a multi-camera shoot. And that’s just three of the thousands and thousands of apps in this category… with more being created every day. What a time to be a nerd!

Trend Three: Freelance Databases of Talented People Save Our Sanity

Sure, now we have access to more awesome capabilities and services, but how can crazy busy people like us ever find the time to create everything we want to make?

One positive effect of the U.S. economic downturn has been a whole host of awesome people who have started their own businesses to help out overwhelmed folks like us. I see increased growth in freelancer communities like Fiverr and Elance, where people with time and skills offer their reasonably priced services to the rest of us. My new favorite in this category is Fancy Hands.

Bonus Trend: Apps Connect to Anything with an On/Off Switch

This fall Apple partnered with Philips to sell Hue color-changing LED lightbulbs that you can control with your iOS device. The Nest Thermostat manages your home’s temperature from a smart device.  I can use my iPhone as a remote control for my TV or as a temperature guage for the steaks on the grill. And my favorite pediatrician  Dr. Alan Greene, is working on a tricorder-like medical device that you hold to your forehead to diagnose what ails you via your mobile device.

I think we’ll see more and more integration of technology with everyday (and futuristic) objects from around the house, so that as time passes, we’ll switch to having smart devices in our lives to having a smart lifestyle that all integrates and intercepts with technology. (Kinda scary, isn’t it?)

So, what do you think we’ll see in 2013? Keep the conversation going below…

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