Everyone wants to know about the next big thing in technology. Scott Kirsner is organizing an evening event in Boston on Thursday, June 25th that's called "What's Next in Tech." A panel of entrepreneurs will reveal their thoughts on the next big thing, followed by a panel of VCs discussing where they are investing their money.
Speakers include people like Helen Greiner (a founder of iRobot, and now The Droid Works), Mike Dornbrook (COO of Harmonix Music Systems, the creators of Guitar Hero and Rock Band), Ellen Rubin (founder of cloud computing start-up CloudSwitch), and Brian Halligan (CEO of social media leaders HubSpot). Forward-thinking Venture Capital investors like Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital, Michael Greeley of Flybridge Capital, and John Simon from General Catalyst, and others will offer their insights.
The discussion is likely to include cloud computing, videogames, robotics, social media, clean-tech, wireless applications, and other fast-growing sectors. You can register at
Date: Thursday, June 25th
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM (ET)
Where: Boston University, School of Management, 595 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, 02215
What do you think is the next big thing in tech? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Here are a few discussion starters.
Cloud Computing – Obviously…everyone knows this. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and other big players are making huge investments in Cloud Computing. But, where are the opportunities for startups? Every decade it seems a platform shift creates opportunities for tools (management, monitoring, migration, security, performance, auditing, etc) to manage the transition. All the tools that worked so well in the mainframe era didn’t work for client/server. New companies emerged to fill the gap. Then web based applications came along and created a new need for software tools to manage the process. The old client server tools didn’t work. The move to virtualization did it again. And now we have a new set of challenges in cloud computing. There are lots of gaps and holes to fill.
Mobile Applications – Again, pretty obvious given the success of the iPhone. But, of the 30,000 iPhone apps, most of which are free, where are the real business opportunities? The key word is business. Most of the existing apps are focused on consumers. The real money will be made in enterprise applications for business. There are lots of existing business applications that should be available on your cell phone, and lots of new ways of doing the old thing. Think of how Salesforce.com changed the way CRM was done…and apply the same thinking to enterprise applications on cell phones. Take advantage of location awareness, speech interface, always connected, camera technology, recording capability, and other capabilities of the cell phone.
Social Networks – Hasn’t Facebook and MySpace already covered this? Yes, for generalized groups, but what about networks for online gamers, job hunters, dating, and other groups? Social Networks are more than just discussion groups or online meeting places. The power of social networks is in the rich data stream, preferences, profiles, ranking, and higher level patterns that emerge from using them. People feel more connected and empowered when they have information, especially information they can use to build relationships. Online gamers play in solitude. They want community. Job hunters search in solitude. So do people in the dating scene. Matching the need for community with the rich profile information and data stream of social networks will create new opportunities.
Hyper local News, Search, Community – Newspapers are in deep financial trouble. Local news coverage will be lost as newspapers go out of business. Local businesses need a way to reach their audience, advertise, and build a relationship with their community. Search works well on a macro level, but not very well on a local level. If you live in Davis Square in Somerville, or Beacon Hill in Boston, you are probably searching for very different businesses and services…even though they are less than 5 miles apart. Hyper-local news, search, and community will offer new opportunities as traditional sources of information fade away. New business models will emerge, and more efficient ways of connecting people, businesses, and communities.
These are just a few ideas. There are lots more opportunities in tech. Discuss them here, and attend the “What’s Next in Tech” conference in Boston on June 25th.
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