Key technology trends of 2013 and beyond: Ericsson

Key technology trends of 2013 and beyond: Ericsson

The technology company's ConsumerLab has been gathering in-depth research on the global population's relationship with technology for over 15 years and claims its annual reports are representative of the views of 1.1 billion people.

Its findings highlight that the growing popularity of cloud computing is due to the growing uptake of mobile devices. Over 50 percent of tablet users and over 40 percent of smartphone users in the US, Japan, Australia and Sweden increasingly expect the apps and files they have on one device to sync seamlessly with those on another, which is driving use of cloud-based solutions, such as Apple's iCloud or Google Drive.

A growing distrust of traditional structures and authorities caused by the current economic climate is moving consumers to personal networks of friends and experts for advice and security. Social media is also growing as a forum for connecting city-dwellers. Ericsson's research discovered that 12 percent of people who live in major cities turn to social networks to connect and exchange ideas, rather than simply stay up to date with friends and family. They also have significantly more online friends than their suburban counterparts.

This increasing reliance on sites such as Facebook is also driving a new trend -- social TV. A total of 62 percent of viewers use social forums while watching video and TV -- and 42 percent of those who use social forums or chats while watching discuss things they currently watch on a weekly basis.

The widespread adoption of smartphones is also expected to continue at the same pace with total subscriptions expected to hit 3.3 billion by 2018. They are so ingrained in users' lives that Ericsson noted that mobile network coverage is already becoming a key indicator when people express satisfaction with city life. It also noted that it's women who are driving the smartphone market more than men. Its research shows that, compared to male smartphone users, a higher percentage of female smartphone users send text messages, use social networks, take and share photos, redeem coupons or check in to locations.

Of the findings, Michael Björn, Head of Research at ConsumerLab, said: "Our global research program is based on annual interviews with over 100,000 individuals in more than 40 countries and 15 megacities. Over the years we have amassed a huge database of consumer trend data - and we see that the pace of change is currently more rapid than ever."