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Telus predicts the future of mobility and communications

Five predictions for mobile trends for the coming year

This year will see phones organized around contact lists, an upsurge in video-on-demand, social networking as a primary means of communication, people tracking each other via GPS and smart phones as all-in-one entertainment hubs, according to Telus Corp.‘s chief futurist.

Phones will centre on the contacts, not the functions

“Phones will no longer be organized around its functions, but holistically around your contacts,” states David Neale, chief futurist and senior vice-president of strategic content and services at Telus, in his five predictions for mobile trends for the coming year, released recently.

Neale foresees seamless communication with contacts across applications, including the ability to view interactions with contacts without switching apps. “It’s not about tasks anymore, it’s about people, so instead of categorizing communications by function such as text, voice and e-mail, smart phone interactions will be centred around your contacts,” he states.

Video-on-demand will become the norm

Neale also expects more flexibility in how, where and when users access video. “Video-on-demand is about to take over … the Internet and broadband access will be the popular way consumers will enjoy television programming and entertainment of all kinds – available when you want it, where you want it, over television and the Internet,” he states.

Social networking will become a primary means of communication

Neale sees social networks becoming a primary means of communication and smart phones as the devices that will bring all of the various channels together into one place. “It doesn’t matter if you’re communicating with someone through Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or IM – it’s all streamlined,” he states.

GPS will track your contacts in real time

The “Where are you?” question will become a thing of the past, according to Neale. “Advanced social networking mediums and GPS-based applications now allow you to pinpoint the location of your contacts in real-time, adding a deeper dimension to social networking,” he states. Neale expects new ways of connecting with contacts as a result.

Smart phones will become hubs for user entertainment

Neale anticipates secondary smart phone functions, such as the cameras and music players, will become just as important as communications. “Phones will go from being devices you ‘could’ use as music players or cameras to the ‘all-in-one entertainment hub’ where you can acquire and play your favourite music while capturing memories in high resolution on built-in cameras,” he states.

The predictions are slightly generic and highlight trends that are already taking place, according to Jayanth Angl, senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group Ltd.. “I don’t think I disagree with the predictions. I think in many cases we already see this happening,” he said.