From fighting cyber-crime to revolutionising the publishing industry and giving us all more free time, crowdsourcing is set to further transform our lives this year...
Throughout 2014 crowdsourcing had a major impact on our lives. It played a leading role in all kinds of innovative new campaigns, heralded in a new wave of disruptive ideas and made the world a global stage of infinite collaborations. So let’s take a look at what this might look like in 2015.
1. Roads will become safer
How great would it be to literally look around the corner? Gaining crowdsourced data on weather and traffic is no longer a distant possibility, through services such as Google's Waze. Life-changing technologies like this are being further developed each year, with tech giants splurging serious amounts on research development and testing, all hosted by crowd data.
IBM and Continental AG are also collaborating on project ‘Connected eHorizon’, where a digital net thrown over the road network enables sensors to communicate with one another. This map data will be further enhanced by using crowdsourcing. Inrix, which collects traffic data from 185 million cars worldwide, is piloting a system that could make use of on board sensors which many new cars are being fitted with in order to take headlight, windshield wiper and traction control data and work out road conditions.
What next? Data, data and more data. There is a tremendous use for the big data coming out of connected cars. Expect to see debates and best practices on how all this data will be used, privacy concerns and safety guards for consumers, corporations and governments.
2. Publishing will be driven by the crowd
Amazon is disrupting publishing through products like the Kindle Scout publishing program, which lets readers discover the next bestseller. Readers vote on their favourite excerpts from unreleased books to determine what does (and what doesn’t) get published. Readers will then determine which books rise to the top of the voting pool in exchange for free book credits, but a dedicated Kindle Scout team will have the final say, choosing from a selection of the most popular titles after a 30 day open voting period to determine which titles get the final publication nod.
Another program called ‘Write On’ is a community where readers and writers come together around the creative process to help improve already strong stories. How? Amazon will allow authors to publish a part of their draft and let other users comment and offer up suggestions.
What next? An end to the tedious and expensive self-publication process, to be followed by a dominance of social rankings which will dictate how well authors do and which titles succeed.
3. We’re all about to get a lot more free time
Would you believe it if I said that same day delivery may become the cheapest option available to you? That might soon be the case with crowdsourced delivery services such as Deliv, who are working to disrupt the retail business. By partnering with shopping malls and other brick and mortar retailers, Deliv is looking to provide the smart shopper with more convenient and cheaper options than ever before.
Still think you will have to take physical trip to the grocery store to pick up supplies? Well that too may be a thing of the past. If you choose Instacart, you can have your groceries delivered to your doorstep in a couple of hours. These businesses are using managed, intelligent crowdsourced labour to make lives easier for all of us. San Francisco on-demand delivery start-up, Postmates, plans to open up its technology to third parties who can build services or products on top of its app, so websites can add a Postmates delivery option. Now all you need to figure out is what you do with all that free time.
What next? Large retailers like Walmart are toying with the idea of turning their customers into crowd shippers, a distinct possibility in the near future.
4. A step up in cyber security
The next security expert for the enterprise system or government data will not be on the IT team. A college freshman halfway across the globe could be pointing out software vulnerability. It's becoming easier to identify threats through new technologies as companies take advantage of crowdsourcing, machine intelligence, and cognitive or advanced analytics to detect and stay ahead of security breaches.
Companies like Facebook and Google have been offering bug bounty programs for years, but wide acceptance of crowdsourcing is helping smaller companies can take advantage of a wide talent pool to evaluate IT systems by offering incentives and bounties. Though risks in a crowdsourced approach to cyber security remain, many of the platforms offering this service boast stringent background requirements for their hacker communities.
What next? Advanced, secure and private technology platforms that provide a safe and private testing ground for companies while incentivising security experts will become the norm in systems testing.
2015 will see these trends gaining mainstream traction and scaling to create economic opportunities and efficiencies for businesses, large and small, like never before. Moreover, we will see a plethora of employment opportunities emerge for populations connected to the Internet. This new year, we foresee an all-round realisation that connectivity and crowd intelligence are the intrinsic factors to poverty alleviation. All these trends and more will take centre-stage at Crowdsourcing Week Global in Singapore, April 20-24, the meeting place for the global crowdsourcing community.