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Top ten tech predictions for 2013

2012 was a massive year for technology – robots on Mars, exoskeletons offering signs that wheel chairs may one day become redundant, Windows 8, and 3D printing using recycled plastic. The biggest technology…

What’s in store for the year ahead? Take a look into the crystal ball … Crystal ball image from

2012 was a massive year for technologyrobots on Mars, exoskeletons offering signs that wheel chairs may one day become redundant, Windows 8, and 3D printing using recycled plastic.

The biggest technology impact in 2012 was the flood of new exciting consumer products including 4G smartphones, cameras, GPS, game consoles and tablets.

But now it’s time to look ahead to 2013 and see what’s in store for technology in Australia.

So what’s going to happen?

1) Election 2013

The 2013 federal election promises to be a pivotal moment for NBN Co and the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Michael Coghlan

If the government is returned, the NBN will move ahead as planned – albeit with faults including the glacial pace of the rollout, the ban on the NBN connecting with planes, trains, buses and other vehicles, and continuing to use Alcatel-Lucent as a sole supplier of the fibre system.

If the opposition wins government, we should expect to see immediate change. Key changes are likely to include a reduction in the fibre rollout – with the new mix of customer access being 60% fibre to the home, 30% fibre to the node, 7% fixed wireless and 3% satellite. The 30% fibre to the node will consist mainly of multi-dwelling buildings – many of which now utilise a fibre to the building solution.

2) Mobile internet

2013 will be the year that the move to mobile devices has the greatest impact on the internet.

Max Braun

Smartphones, tablets and the big mover for 2013, cyber-glasses, will become the focus for internet developments, and marketing will attempt to overcome the perception that it is difficult to advertise effectively through mobile devices.

Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company, has predicted that mobile app downloads will top 81 billion in 2013, an increase of about 45% over 2012.

3) E-commerce

Australians will further embrace online shopping and in 2013, Australians are expected to spend more than A$37 billion online.

Shopping image from

The government will face increasing pressure to do something about the widening competitive gap between traditional store front retailers and online international retailers.

The loss of GST revenue and the flow of capital out of Australia will reach a level that will make this an election issue. A recent survey report by SLI Systems identifies that retailers will focus their e-commerce priorities on search engine optimisation, mobile commerce, e-commerce platforms and improving website search capabilities.

4) Cyber-crime

Criminal activity over the internet will reach a new peak in 2013.

EPA/Tomoyuki Kaya

Cyber-crime may reach the A$2 billion mark in 2013. Government will come under increasing pressure to take steps to reduce cyber-crime and this may finally lead to the introduction of technologies to improve privacy and security on the internet.

Companies operating on the internet are likely to focus their attention on the cyber-crime problem and improve the security of their online presence through smart design.

5) Mobile and Wi-Fi

The shift away from the desktop to mobile platforms will continue in 2013.

Jan-Willem Reusink

Recent changes to mobile carrier plans to reduce data allowances bodes ill for mobile customers in 2013 hoping to increase their smartphone and tablet use. The move to increase charges on mobile customers continues Australia’s mobile rip-off and poses the problem for regulators – how to increase competition with such a skewed mobile landscape where Telstra is dominant, Optus seems to be asleep and Vodafone is likely still reeling from the Vodafail episode.

The big winner in 2013 will be Wi-Fi. The mobile device market is growing rapidly and customers are increasingly looking to Wi-Fi as an alternative solution to overcome the high cost of mobile plans.

Expect to see an explosion of Wi-Fi in 2013 as this technology matures as a commercial alternative to 4G. The successful Queensland train Wi-Fi system should provide the impetus for Victoria and New South Wales to introduce train Wi-Fi systems in 2013.

6) Cloud

The cloud should become a dominant feature of our online experience in 2013 … even more so than it already is.

Dennis Amith

Forrester, an information technology research company, predicts that the IT world will finally “get real about cloud” in 2013. Applications such as Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 will become central to our online experience by improving productivity and reducing organisation technology costs.

The move away from desktop computing to the cloud will accelerate many of our routine activities such as collaboration, email and document processing. There will be growth in the construction and use of date centres to match the need for ever-expanding cloud capability.

We can only hope that new Australian data centres are required to be built using environmentally sustainable technologies.

7) Social media and privacy

Increased competition, better privacy and improved security are likely to be key ingredients for the social media scene in 2013.

Steve Garfield

The big three - Apple, Google and Microsoft - went head-to-head in the market in 2012 and should turn their attention to unified social media offerings in 2013. The Facebook versus Twitter war is hotting up and we should expect to see new and existing social media organisations duke it out in 2013.

8) Broadband applications

2013 will be a watershed year for broadband applications.

Juan Ignacio Sánchez Lara

Expect to see a huge growth in consumer and business broadband applications including IPTV, eHealth, eLearning, 3D-interactive games and business applications such as machine to machine and business to business.

We will see the start to an explosion of sensor networks and vehicles connected to the internet. Australians will increasingly turn to technologies that overcome regional and digital format restrictions.

9) Big data

Business is turning its attention to big data and investing considerable sums to mine data repositories.

Data image from

This activity will expand rapidly in 2013. Organisations are learning that big data can be a source of increasing revenue through trading or resale of data and targeted marketing opportunities.

A Gartner report published in October 2012 states that by 2015 big data will support 4.4 million IT jobs. Australian companies have been late to explore the opportunities provided by big data but we should expect that to change in 2013.

10) Government action

Australians will demand a better experience online and for this reason pressure will build in the lead up to the 2013 Federal election.

Mark Morgan Trinidad B

The internet is a fast moving space and the major issues facing people on the internet today appear to be daunting to the slow-moving government bureaucracy. Government agencies including the Australian Communications and Media Authority, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Australian Federal Police and the Australian Privacy Commissioner are seen to be too slow to react, toothless or hesitant to take action.

Several issues that should be of significant concern to Australians are the tech rip off and global roaming rip-off, cyber-crime and the failure of large international multi-nationals to pay tax.

2013, being an election year, must surely be the year that government stops the endless cycle of committees and inquiries and takes action.

Join the conversation

24 Comments sorted by

    1. Adrian Palmer


      In reply to Drew Ringsmuth

      I think this is a clever ploy to make assertions without their having to be linked as the links would be as contentious as the original assertion. It is literary trick used to draw the reader into a debate, used originally by Private Eye [REALLY? LINK?]. It is roughly equivalent to the fact that 80% of statistics are made up at the time of writing to support the argument [URBAN MYTH? LINK?]

  1. Doug Payne

    Controller of power System NSW

    Internet, internet, internet.

    There are other things you realise.

    The breakthrough that will change the world will be the realisation that we dont need fossil fuels for electricity generation or transport within the next 5 years.

    This will go hand in hand with the advances in 2013 in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology. There will be recognition of the fact that we can have a transport industry without petrol or diesel.

    There will be advances in the development of higher level products from crude oil and coal. No longer will it be just something we burn.

    These things will evolve into reality by 2040 but it will be this year that it becomes clear.

    1. James Jenkin

      EFL Teacher Trainer

      In reply to Doug Payne

      Interesting stuff, Doug, but I think most people would read 'tech predictions' as microelectronics.

  2. Gary Cassidy

    Monash University

    This article should be re-titled something like "10 Australian internet trends 2013", surely there is more interesting, exciting and useful technologies on the horizon than just the Australian internet.

    1. Firozali A.Mulla


      In reply to Gary Cassidy

      The arm that was shown in BBC made by IT is not Australian . Why take the credit. The Silicon Valley that was in USA now in Bangalore India . All are in these IT field and the youths more then ever Samsung is Korean and is great LG has come out with the beautiful TFT screen TV that is this and sharp in pixels I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA Forgot the nuke are new in the Middle East

  3. alexander j watt

    logged in via Twitter

    my prediction is that a swarm of nynja robot nurses will save the humans from a genetically engineered mutant bird flu virus, only to enslave us all in a virtual 1920's dystopia where cats are worshipped as gods and horses eat each other

  4. Firozali A.Mulla


    According to data from S&P Dow Jones Indices, the fourth-quarter operating earnings estimate for the S&P 500 has fallen to $25.29 a share from $26.87 a share over the past three months. That’s an expected 6.6% improvement from the year-ago quarter’s operating earnings of $23.73 a share rather than a 13.2% one.

    Plus, operating earnings of $25.29 is within spitting distance of the all-time high of $25.43 logged in the second quarter of 2012.

    Even as global sales have slowed and margins have shrunk…

    Read more
  5. terry lockwood

    maths/media/music/drama teacher

    Soon we won't have to leave home at all. On-line learning, shopping entertainment, work, sport etc. If it's not on-line, it ain't worth doin'.

  6. Mat Hardy

    Lecturer in Middle East Studies at Deakin University

    Ahh I remember the old cyber glasses thing about 15 years ago when I worked on the Beyond 2000 show. Sure, they're smaller and cooler now, but the basic problem is that people find it difficult to read and write an email while doing something else effectively. The guys we interviewed at MIT for the show were infuriating in the way that they would suddenly trail off in a conversation because they were looking at the latest bit of spam that had flicked into their eye piece.

    1. Mark A Gregory

      Senior Lecturer in Electrical and Computer Engineering at RMIT University

      In reply to Mat Hardy

      Hi Mat,

      I remember it well too. I'm not sure that people today will be bothered when people multi-task. Already I see people talking to other people, texting and doing Facebook all at the same time. Have you been to any meetings lately? I'm quite amazed that people have their phones, tablets and notebooks all going at the same time - and make out their listening at the meeting. Adding cyber glasses to this mix will be really entertaining for people on the freeway to work in the morning - how many will find the temptation too much and wear their cyber glasses whilst driving?

    2. Mat Hardy

      Lecturer in Middle East Studies at Deakin University

      In reply to Mat Hardy

      I thought of the driving too. But compared to sitting in (a probably worthless) meeting and pretending to listen, talking to someone requires a higher level of engagement. If you're too obvious about throwing away that eye contact or attention, you're more apt to be seen as rude. But yes, it's a sign of the times. Like people sitting down with you and placing their phone in front of them as if to say "I'm only talking to you until something else comes along."

  7. Firozali A.Mulla


    Given the prices of 7-in. tablets — which can be as low as $79 but mostly hover around $199 — it’s not a stretch to believe that this form factor will dominate the market in 2013. But what’s not obvious is how they’ll impact the PC market. The problem for consumers with 10-in. tablets is that with a cheap Bluetooth keyboard, these tablets almost become mini-laptops. Also, since many consumers can do about 80% of what they do on a PC by using a tablet instead, many consumers are either extending the…

    Read more
  8. John Davidson

    Retired engineer

    The technologies that should really count for an article like this are the really new with serious potential and things that have reached some tipping point that makes the technology much more useful. In some cases the really important thing will be the removal of some non-technological barrier that has hed back progress.
    My transport list includes:
    1 Autonomous vehicles. Will expand the range of people who can safely "drive" and dramatically reduce taxi fares. May make public transport much…

    Read more
  9. Tony Grant


    Are you providing...smoothing out "Coalition Policy" on the NBN?

    Are you suggesting that "balls' is what is needed..." 2013, being an election year, must surely be the year that government stops the endless cycle of committees and inquiries and takes action". Direct reference to Mr Testosterone himself...Abbott...our national "go to man" we already have one of these types in Qld...Newman?

    Politics in Australia is filled with the media supporting the rhetoric of the coalition...these are not the political figures that have a history of "progress". They (coalition) are all about "market forces" and powerful supporters who know the coalition will let them have it anyway they like!

    I did like many of the issues you brought up...keep to the science, it's your obvious strength!

  10. Tim Scanlon


    The obvious one was missed: consumers will rush out to buy a slightly faster version of the device they already own the day it is released.

  11. Peter Hindrup


    John Robert Davidson; I like your list.

    Nano is the only car
    The Tata Nano, by Tata Motors, India is the only modern vehicle that I know of, designed from the road up the make use of modern materials and manufacturing processes. It could well fit John’s ideas.

    It could be vastly improved if they went to compressed air powered motors. The french tried this with a modified 4 cylinder motor, but the best air powered engines to date, are manufactured by a firm in Melbourne.

    No talk of anything…

    Read more
  12. Firozali A.Mulla


    India has come out with the IPAD that is more powerful but will be used in the Indian schools for some time ndian iPad: India Debuts $35 Touchscreen Tablet, Video ...
    Indian Government Unveils $35 iPad Like Device, Touchscreen Tablet. India has unveiled a remarkable new device, a solar powered, tablet, touchscreen computer powered I thank you FirozaliA.Mulla DBA

    1. Brian Atkin

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Firozali A.Mulla

      That's what they hoped for but the Aakash tablet hasn't delivered much at this point.

  13. Firozali A.Mulla


    My prediction is that convertibles and tablets powered by Windows 8 will dominate. Many prominent businesses will adopt such devices because they are preferred for doing serious work. The U.S. Army recently signed a contract for $617 million with Microsoft to use Windows 8 and Office 2013. We are now seen many good deals for Windows 8 computers I thank you FirozaliA.Mulla DBA

  14. Brian Atkin

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Agree with most of the article with some comments:
    4-cybercrime- the new federal privacy legislation will have a significant impact on how organisations deal with cybercrime. Although it won't come into place until 2014, companies should spend 2013 assessing how this will impact them and implement accordingly.

    5-wifi will be the big winner. You sure about that? Vodafone is on the way…

    Read more
    1. Mark A Gregory

      Senior Lecturer in Electrical and Computer Engineering at RMIT University

      In reply to Brian Atkin

      Hi Brian,

      thank you for your points and you have identified a few important areas that we need to watch in 2013. Crowdfunding is an important source of venture capital that may provide Australians with a new way to bring products or services to market. The IMT-Advanced standard which will "4G" encompasses (read more here includes VoIP and the end of the separate voice channels used in "3G" (and current "4G" offerings). Your correct that this is a big change and will benefit online VoIP providers like Skype / Microsoft. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is growing, though as your point out will be a security problem for many organisations. Time to setup guest Wi-Fi access in your company! Collaboration will grow and this includes an increase in teleworking.

      Big year in 2013.