My Email Wishes and Predictions for 2013
I wouldn't call these predictions as much as they are wishes for email and the inbox in 2013. We've seen a lot of cool apps and products over the past couple of years, but one thing is missing: they all still require me to interact with email too much. Can we automate the inbox in 2013? Give me talking TVs, location aware emails, more apps and emails that write themselves.
Forget the third screen. Let’s talk about the first screen.
Analysts have predicted the launch of Apple’s television set for so long now that it’s hard to tell if it’s real or vaporware. I predict that it is real and will launch late in 2013, but that’s not my email prediction. Besides being an obvious major game changer for content producers, I predict it has the potential to be a game changer for email as well. How? Imagine waking up every morning and telling Siri via your TV to read your emails from all of your VIP contacts, and even replying by dictating to Siri. The most exciting thing would be for email to be a true marketing channel that rivals commercial television advertisements of today. When you wake up and check your email, rather than looking at marketing messages with static images, marketers will have the opportunity to show animated GIFs, slide shows or video. I’d like to predict we will see our first iTV optimized email next year, but I am probably better off just putting on my wish list of what I’d like to see in 2013.
HTML5 Will Revolutionize Email. Finally.
I’ve discussed the potential HTML5 has for email many times. Flash is now all but dead with even Adobe fully adopting HTML5. With HTML5 now being “feature complete” I predict we will see a lot more desktop and mobile email clients supporting HTML5. Apple has been great about supporting HTML5 with the iPhone, iPad and even the Mac version of Outlook 2011. Hotmail supports it too (well, kind of). With a feature complete version of HTML5, Google and Microsoft will no doubt start supporting it across their applications. This means 2013 will see video in email, geolocation in email, games within email, and more.
Webmail Innovations Continue, But Mobile Accelerates Them.
Mobile apps for email have been around for years, but 2013 will see these apps be more useful. We’ve seen a bit of this already with apps like Easily.do that automates tasks like updating address books with contacts, reminders to pay bills based on emails received, removing expired email deals, tracking shipments, and filing receipts. We’ve also seen a lot of innovations around redesigning the inbox and workflow with applications like Mailbox and Mail Pilot. In 2013, my wish is to see more of this and more automation. For example, the CEO emails you about getting that TPS report ASAP. My inbox takes the information, searches my documents on the cloud, automatically creates a reply with the attachment so when I am back at my desk I can verify the reply and attachment is correct and hit send.
Microsoft Mimics Apple in the Enterprise.
Office 2013 launched late 2012 for the enterprise and will launch this year for consumers. I am excited about one thing that will finally spur innovations for our friend, Outlook. Microsoft has been gearing up for big changes with Outlook recently. They re-branded Hotmail this summer as Outlook.com and announced full integration with SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud version of their office suite. The potential game changer will be Microsoft’s Office Store and Apps. Apps can be developed for any of the Office products, but Outlook Apps can be for either Outlook 2013 or Outlook Webmail. My Outlook Apps wish list: better integration with Dropbox and Google Drive for attachments, Priority Inbox for Outlook, a way to easily delegate or sort emails automatically based on tasks, and an automated reminder for potentially important emails that I have read but forgot to reply to. I also wish the Office App store takes off in 2013. I do think that Outlook is great for business email and having outside developers writing apps for it will only make it better.
What’s on your wish list for email in 2013?
About Tom Sather
Email data and deliverability expert Tom Sather has worked with top-tier brands to diagnose and solve inbox placement and sender reputation issues as a strategic consultant with Return Path. As the company’s senior director of research, Tom is a frequent speaker and writer on email marketing trends and technology. His most recent analysis of new inbox applications’ effects on consumer behavior was widely cited across leading business media outlets including the Financial Times, Ad Age, and Media Post.