Trendsplosion 1: Kinect for marketers
I've got a big mouthful of crow on this one, because I predicted not once but twice that Kinect would open up a virtual world of new marketing opportunities in 2011. I should have known better as soon as I was forced to grip a virtual steering wheel and pretend to drive as though I'd just been hauled onstage at an improv show. The only thing people hate worse than mimes is miming.
The relative crudeness of such interactions may be why Microsoft held the SDK close to its brawny chest until the recent announcement of Kinect for Windows, which is said to vastly improve on gesture recognition, especially at close distances. This should, in turn, herald the eventual arrival of all sorts of cool commercial applications, assuming consumers are willing to fork over another $250 for the Windows version.
I still think Kinect represents the first, best chance to bridge the digital and physical words with gesture-based interaction, which is a huge boon for marketers and, of course, for Microsoft...But it ain't gonna happen in 2012.