Goodbye Facebook really Brophy predicts changes

February 19, 2011
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Technologist Keith Brophy doesn’t just throw his thoughts on the proverbial wall in the hope that something sticks. The CEO of Ideomed Inc. takes pride in predicting the future of technological breakthroughs, having forecast in the past the early arrival of i-Pod popularity, changes in the publishing world, and the pending emergence of Facebook and the general rise of social networking.

He was back at it last week on the stage of Wealthy Theatre for the Tech Trends event hosted by aimWest.

“The real goal of the presentation is to provoke thought and get insightful discussion going about these transformational technology trends,” Brophy said. Following Wednesday’s presentation, he said he “felt like it’s ‘mission accomplished.’ The audience’s enthusiasm about the future is at the highest in 2011 than maybe it’s ever been.”

Part of that enthusiasm was no doubt driven by the fact that those in attendance, populated by a liberal sprinkling of techie geeks supposedly in the know, could weigh in on Brophy’s outlook in real time.

Here are some of Brophy’s predictions and instant responses from a panel of judges and an audience taking advantage of their mobile devices:

  • Underwater kites will produce a “meaningful amount of the world’s energy by 2021.” Brophy noted the technology will be used in more than 10,000 locations across the world to harvest tidal energy, generating 3 percent of the world’s power. Reaction: Agree: 43 percent. Unsure: 16 percent. Disagree: 41 percent.

  • The top social networks will pay their users in one form or another, “and Facebook is not among the top five by 2016.” Instead, Brophy suggests, “there will be many vibrant networks that offer users financial incentives, and all major social networks will support ‘cross friending.’ The government will take steps to further control the social networking industry due to progressive privacy abuses.” Reaction: Agree: 71 percent. Unsure: 7 percent. Disagree: 21 percent.

  • Smart meters will be used heavily in 30 percent of homes in five years and “open the floodgates to a wide variety of sophisticated new remote and automated daily home control activities by homeowners.” Smart meters will make it easy and compelling to control a home’s energy utilization by appliances and home power subsystems, reacting to utility variable costs. This “new norm” of interacting with home systems will bring a new industry of home control solutions that include all types of monitoring systems. Reaction: Agree: 72 percent. Unsure: 5 percent. Disagree: 23 percent.

  • In 15 years, “we will reach an era of personalized health management where the average person will have three or more devices tracking and accumulating their health data each day.” Standard connection interfaces will be built into many personal health devices that will allow data to be seamlessly uploaded to designated personal health portals. Health portals, in turn will integrate with electronic medical records of health care providers. “The growing minority who embrace these solutions will enjoy proven health benefits,” Brophy said. “This really straddles a lot of different business sectors. It will impact the makeup of consumer solutions, health systems, and a lot of IT and new products and support created around that. There will be a wealth of business opportunity in that space.” Reaction: Agree: 65 percent. Unsure: 11 percent. Disagree: 24 percent.

  • Social autotuners will become prevalent within 10 years. A subset of the population will use social autotuners to monitor and provide feedback in a variety of social situations. Many types of audio monitoring and feedback devices will be available as part of these solutions. “A thriving sub-industry of social autotuner domain expertise module creators will result, as well,” Brophy believes. Reaction: Agree: 34 percent. Unsure: 11 percent. Disagree: 55 percent.

Brophy is convinced that in five years Facebook will be obsolete, pushed to the side by new social networks catering to specific needs of participants. “The day of Facebook’s dominance comes to an end,” he assured those willing to listen. “Other social networks are going to come up with a smart business plan.”

The “tremendous potential benefits and opportunities for business and commerce created by “a new age of multiple social networks” will mean those who get in and make use of social media strategies, particularly in marketing and advertising, will mark “a clear deferential” of those who find success.

A fleeting moment

Believe it or not, local Chevy dealers should be overjoyed that Kent County just made a fleet purchase with Tony Betten Ford. Why? Because the county agreed last week to buy 15 Crown Victoria patrol cars for the Sheriff’s Department from the longtime dealership — likely for the last time, as Ford is ending production of the Crown Vic. County Purchasing Director Jon Denhof said the Vic will be replaced by the Chevy Caprice starting next year.

Denhof said each Vic in the sheriff’s fleet has about a two-year lifespan, and the county bought 15 for $312,000, an average price of $20,800 each. Members of the Finance Committee were happy with that cost, which came about from the county’s reverse auction.

“Competition, pricewise — yes, it definitely worked for us,” said Denhof of the online auction the county has offered since June.

Denhof added that the county is likely to put more items up for bid through its reverse auction in the coming months. “We’ll probably do the reverse auction for ammunition, too,” he said.

Gerber Muskegon bound

A new organization called E-merge Entrepreneur Network has been formed in the Muskegon area, and it’s booked a prominent name in the literature of U.S. small business/entrepreneurship issues to speak at its first big event.

Michael E. Gerber, author of the E-Myth series of books, will be the keynote speaker May 18 at the 2011 West Michigan Entrepreneur Celebration starting at 7 p.m. at the Frauenthal Theater in downtown Muskegon. His books, which have sold millions of copies worldwide, include “The E-Myth Revisited; Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It,” “E-Myth Mastery,” and “Awakening The Entrepreneur Within.”

Gerber is a writer, business consultant, and founding dean of the Grand Canyon University College of Entrepreneurship in Phoenix, a private, Christian faith-based college that has been a for-profit business since 2004 and is operated by Grand Canyon Education Inc. (NASDAQ: LOPE).

E-Merge is a community-based economic development initiative designed to create jobs by supporting entrepreneurs, specifically those who are in the pre-launch or early growth stages of their business. Gerber’s appearance will promote the importance of small business and create an “entrepreneur-driven community” mindset throughout the West Michigan region, according to a news release from the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce.

H&S Cos., a CPA, wealth management and business consulting firm, is sponsoring the event. H&S co-founder Dan Slate said he has applied Gerber’s principles to create success for H&S and its clients for decades.

“It is hard to express the enormous impact Michael Gerber has had on our business,” said Slate. “We have used his approach to help us grow from a single office in 1983 to seven offices across West Michigan today.”

Tickets to the 2011 West Michigan Entrepreneur Celebration are $12 ($7 for students) and go on sale Feb. 23 through Star Tickets at www.startickets.com, by calling 1-800-585-3737, at Meijer ticket outlets and at the Frauenthal box office at 231-332-4110.

Snagging the big one

The Macatawa Bay Yacht Club announced it will host, for the first time ever, the prestigious Canada’s Cup match race Sept. 1-4. The world-class sailing event will draw top sailors from around the globe to West Michigan to compete in the U.S. Defender Trials Aug. 26-29 for an opportunity to defend the Cup. Team Heritage, led by sailing enthusiast Doug DeVos and defending Cup champion and helmsman Bob Hughes, will represent MBYC as the Cup’s defender of record.

The 115-year-old Canada’s Cup is the pre-eminent sailing trophy in the United States today. Race organizers noted this year’s match represents only the second time racing on Lake Michigan waters, and will be the first to take place on Michigan’s west coast. Hughes and then-challenger MBYC won the 2007 Cup in Toronto against Royal Canadian Yacht Club defender Alek Krstajic, after narrow margin losses in 2003 and 2001 to the defending RYCC and Olympian Terry McLaughlin.

“We cannot wait to defend the Great Lakes’ most prestigious trophy on our home waters,” said Hughes. “It will be like a Great Lakes version of the America’s Cup right in our own backyard, with very close-quarter, hard-fought racing against some of the world’s best sailors. We’re in the process of assembling a top-rated racing team to ensure this is the most spectacular event Lake Michigan has ever seen!”

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