Improved cybersecurity, health devices among predictions at Bellingham tech event

Despite the problems around cybersecurity and theft, technology continues to make strides that will lead to dramatic changes in the coming years.

That’s one of the many takeaways from Mark Anderson in his annual top technology and economic predictions presentation, held on Friday, Jan. 9, at Whatcom Community College. The event was organized by the Northwest Technology Alliance Group.

Anderson, who operates Strategic News Service and is known for his predictions, sees two business models dominating the technology market — one that involves companies growing through new inventions and product development, and another in which new ideas are stolen.

The theft model still is not being adequately addressed, creating more of an “I win, you lose” situation in the market. He believes the encryption side of computer security will continue to improve in the coming year, but intellectual property theft will continue to be a problem.

The drop in oil prices is a good thing for the overall U.S. economy, he said, but one factor that’s overlooked is the currency wars. Many countries have taken up the practice of devaluing their currency as a way to fix the economy. It’s something the U.S. has stopped doing, Anderson said, leading to a situation where the dollar continues to strengthen and the national economy continues to grow even while things are slowing down globally.

He’s upbeat on a few emerging technologies, including the driverless car, which he thinks will start hitting the mainstream in a limited way around 2017. Health and fitness devices also should make great strides, making it possible for people to know more about their health than their doctor.

When asked about social media, particularly Facebook, Anderson believes the social media site is overvalued. He doesn’t think the advertising model will be as big a money generator as some expect, especially if the highly sought teen demographic continues to be leave Facebook.

Here are a few of Anderson’s predictions. The complete list can be found at stratnews.com:

•  Digital currencies like Bitcoin will continue to multiply but will go nowhere. When asked the future of Bitcoin, he said with a chuckle that it will make a good collector’s item.

•  Pattern recognition, which is a way of spotting trends in data, will become a goal in analysis, leading to a revolution in computing.

•  Security takes its rightful place on a CEO’s agenda, rather than being only in the purview of the tech department.

•  Amazon will stumble this year, as CEO Jeff Bezos overreaches.

•  Apple Pay succeeds, taking the necessary steps for domination in the retail sector.