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5/29/2013
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Meeker's State Of The Internet: 5 Key Trends

Internet analyst Mary Meeker has seen the future -- and it is wearable, flyable and drivable.

7 Slick Siri Alternatives
7 Slick Siri Alternatives
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Internet analyst Mary Meeker has long been known for her opinions on technology's future -- and right now, she says brace yourself for wearable tech. At the D: All Things Digital Conference, Meeker, a partner at venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, presented her annual "State of the Internet" report. She predicts a boom in all Internet things related to mobility. Same for all things social and data related.

After poring over Meeker's 117-slide report, five facts strike me as being key pieces of info for organizations looking to get ahead of the business tech -- and cultural -- curve.

1. Content Is King.

We in the publishing and media industry have always thought content was king and now we are not alone, far from it. Meeker noted in her presentation that content is growing -- to multi-zettabyte proportions -- but that it is also increasingly findable, shared and tagged. Companies that are not currently developing the content that people seem so hungry for are missing a huge opportunity.

When we talk about content we are increasingly talking not just about photos and videos and whitepapers, but also about the kinds of data that come from digitized sensors and even the fitness bracelets people are wearing that track -- and transmit -- every step taken and Z snored. That info in aggregate is big data, and organizations will need to learn to mine it to get and stay ahead.

2. Social Studies: Specialization Is In.

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are still the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 most popular social networks, but specialized networks are gaining ground. These include Pinterest, the bulletin-board-style network that has recently gone through something of a facelift, and Tumblr, the network whose acquisition by Yahoo sparked a "gif" vs. "jif" debate.

3. Smartphones, You Complete Us.

It's no wonder that people spend an inordinate amount of time with head down, phone in hand. According to research conducted on behalf of Facebook and curated by Meeker in her presentation, smartphones make us feel -- to varying degrees -- connected, excited, curious and productive. That might also explain Facebook Home, the social networking giant's recent play to make Facebook the home screen for smartphones. It's also the reason that companies need to put across-the-board mobile high on their priority lists.

4. We Wear Computing Well.

We're at the dawn of a new age of computing. During her presentation Meeker showed a slide that illustrated how technology cycles tend to endure for approximately 10 years. As we pass from the Mobile Internet Computing cycle of the 2000s, we can look forward to the Wearable/Everywhere Computing cycle of 2014 and beyond. Google Glass is just the beginning, it seems. In addition to wearables, there will be drivables and flyables, according to Meeker. What's really interesting is how this new computing cycle will bring with it a need for a fresh look at manners and what's acceptable where and when. Google Glass in the retail store dressing room? In the classroom? On children? Some places have already banned Google Glass (for now, anyway), and it will be interesting to see how Glass and its ilk, not to mention the Internet of Things, change how people interact with each other and with the digital world around them.

5. We're Going to Need a Bigger Boat.

In the next decade or so, there will be 2.4 times more jobs requiring a computer science degree than there will be people graduating with a computer science degree. We will need to do a number of things to fill that gap, including improving education in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- subjects in our public schools and changing immigration laws. Many tech companies are already getting on board for the latter, but it will take major changes to some very deep-seated institutional beliefs -- not to mention the institutions themselves -- to effect big change.

Flipping through Meeker's complete slide deck, what surprises you? What makes you nervous? What gives you hope? Let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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