By Jim Bruckbauer

As Economic Development professionals, we need to keep track of various trends in technology and how we can apply (or not apply) these trends to reach our long-term goals. As we well know, technology is having a profound impact in almost every aspect of our lives, and if you’re anything like me, you often find yourself constantly trying to “keep up” with new tools.
I recently had the privilege of attending a speaking event by Keith Brophy, who is the president of a software consulting company called Nu-soft Solutions. For the past ten years, Keith has been making predictions on future trends in technology. So far, his predictions have been fairly accurate, and two of this year’s predictions merit some mention, since they affect a community’s ability to market itself effectively.

“10 years from now, 5% of the US population will derive their primary satisfaction from an on-line program.”

This is isn’t a huge surprise when you think of the populations time spent on social-networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Also, think of the negative impact of addictions to gambling and pornography. There is an up-and-coming fascination with, which allows the user to create a realistic 3-dimensional life in the virtual realm. We’re already seeing signs of the huge impact of that site, both positive and negative. Our society may have a hard time adjusting to the impacts these programs may have.

“Ads will track us, bringing on ads that are catered specifically to us.”

Pay-per-click advertising by Google is reinventing traditional advertising. Google has also been able to create specific advertising to match the words that appear on your computer screen. The Eyebox2, from sensor manufacturer Xuuk, will very soon give companies another way to find us. With the Eyebox2 technology, a small device can be placed on any object that advertises and scans human retinas using infrared technology. Advertisers can then be charged on a pay-per-look basis.
Keith gave an interesting example of how this Eyebox technology may be used. Say there was a very attractive, luxury watch capable of showing a small digital advertisement. With the Eyebox2 technology in place in the watch, the ad could change every time you simply glanced at the time. Advertisers on this product could fund the manufacturing of the watch, thus making the watch available for free. Big Brother may be watching us sooner than we think. Who wouldn’t take a free luxury watch?

We might keep these things in mind as we think of how we can market our products, services, and places. Forward-thinking and innovative ways to market what we can provide will always stand out in a highly competitive world. It will be interesting to see which companies adapt quickly to the changing world.