7 social analytics predictions for 2014

By Howard Lau , written on December 24, 2013

From The News Desk

'Tis the season of predictions. Poke around the Interwebs and you'll encounter pundits forecasting everything from the outlook on housing to cloud computing and enterprise software to football, journalism, online video, the Oscars, technology trends and all sorts of other missions of clairvoyance.

Not to be out done, here are mine, which cover emerging trends surrounding social media, data mining and the overall state of the social analytics industry.

1. Mobile devices will become more personal as users leverage voice command capabilities to perform tasks and search for information. Applications will begin to have an "emotional" component. People will want to talk to their devices and get reassuring feedback, cheery greetings, and genuine information. Next year, we will see mobile devices capable of analyzing sentiment, picking up on subtle changes in emotions, and naturally processing and understand the emotion behind human language.

2. There will be a high demand and acceptance of social media applications able to find data that matters. These tools will become a mainstream way to provide reliable information ready to analyze. In the same fashion, we will see real-time data coexist with historic data. Real time data will be used for breaking news, catastrophe tracking, internet service tracking, stock exchange related news, etc.

3. Retailers and other sales-driven organizations will begin applying personal customer data to the development of their products and services. Wearable devices will pick up in use, they will have improved personalized settings to accurately analyze and report on fitness, sleep and diet. Same goes for visiting the symphony, dancing or watching a play – people will start showing up at all these events with wearable devices to instantly find out more about the violinist, composer, band, actors or even the people around them.

4. Big data will coexist with personalized, individual data. Big data will be important in finding patterns in high value information verticals, such as healthcare, science, etc. Eventually we’ll see big data being used to help in equitable distribution of food and prevention of humanitarian crisis. We envision companies diverting some focus from their bottom line into more philanthropic, charitable activities that are beneficial to the world as a whole.

5. Over the next year we are bound to see an increase in social media traffic to the point where a single (or a few) social media channels will become the point of interaction between people, companies and organizations. Rather than having a myriad of apps and sites for shopping, cooking, literature, music, business, entertainment, people will increasingly turn to a few social media points and expect social media to provide those services.

6. Every consumer will have his or her own personalized online agent, which will represent you on the social net. It assists you in finding the product you want, the feedback you need, it monitors your interaction with companies and organizations and follows up on your complaints and desires. Your personal agent knows about your preferences whether its cooking, reading, the latest on technology, business insights or the latest fashion trends. The agent will guide you to the people, products, apps, companies and organizations that are relevant to what you want to do providing easy interfacing and interaction. This online agent will also watch over your privacy and provide online security. This agent will prevent others from gathering information on you that you do not wish and may also warn you when you are showing interest in a product coming from a source identified as dangerous.

7. We’ll begin to see apps that can discriminate between data from the past and present to create links and patterns to make us aware of where to make improvements in relationships, fitness, work and purchasing decisions. Think of it as a new kind of data-driven self-introspection.

These are my predictions for the upcoming year(s). What are yours? Let me know in the comments below.