Biggest tech buzzwords of 2012

Conversations in tech in 2012 often left us feeling like a confused parent eavesdropping on two teenagers chatting. 

Keeping tech fans on their toes were more buzzwords than an episode of Catchphrase. But which were the biggest of 2012? Read on to find out.

Gamification

We are all gamers now. That's ultimately the crux of gamification, the buzzword for making a game out of everything and anything, regardless of what you actually intended to do in the first place.

The fitness app that tells you that you are doing well against your friends? Gamification. The store card that rewards you for spending money and then sharing the news? Gamification. Or the location app such as Foursquare or Facebook that lets you earn badges every time you check-in? Yep, gamification. 

Hacktivist

The definition of hacktivism is the "use of computers and computer networks as a means of protest to promote political end".

That means hackers defacing websites of large government or commercial organisations to show their disdain. You'll have probably heard of the term in association with Anonymous, a group of hactivists wearing Guy Fawkes masks and pictured in the news from time to time.

Phablet

Is it a phone, is it a tablet? It is the hybrid word used for devices that don't seem to fit either form factor. At the moment that means devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note II that come with a 5-inch screen. If that sounds big, get used to it, Sony, HTC, and others are all planning to release phablets in 2013.

Crowdfunding

Many start-ups are now turning to services like Kickstarter to "crowdfund" their way on to the shopping shelf. The idea is that instead of a dragon (as in Dragon's Den) giving a company a huge cash investment, it turns to crowd members to donate £20 each instead. It is like pre-ordering the latest gadget, game, piece of furniture - but before it is even built. 

Big data

One of the more self-explanatory buzzwords of 2012, big data does pretty much what it says on the tin. Big data is, in essence, the huge amounts of information now available to companies and the general public and the ways in which it is processed.

Examples include things like Facebook, processes 40 billion photos from its user base, or Walmart, which handles up to 1 million transactions an hour, importing them into vast databases nearly 2.5 Petabytes in size. 

Crucial to all of this is the increased speed at which the data can be logged, managed and analysed. In 2012 big data became a useful tool for companies to connect with the customer and even, in Obama's case, to deal with problems facing the government.  

Second screen

It isn't unusual for any tech-savvy household to have access to multiple screens with which to view the same content. The second screen experience comes when said content is enhanced by another device.

A good example would be something like the recent release of the Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray, which came with access to an iPad app that let you control various aspects of the movie as well as enhance the experience with bonus content.

Taking second screen even further is the Wii U, which grabs the concept with open arms and runs wild with it. A games console designed entirely around a pair of displays? Second screen is here to stay.

The Cloud

One of the biggest terms in tech to crop up in every echelon of gadgetry was the cloud. Apple, Google, Amazon and every other major player in technology launched some sort of cloud-based service, changing the way most viewed their media and documents.

Not everyone still quite gets the cloud and the concepts behind it, but it has become as ubiquitous as a cup of tea.

For those who don't, think of the cloud like a web-based back-up of all the data you have. Provided by different companies, the theory behind the cloud is very much the same. What changes is the types of data each service provides. For those who fancy giving the cloud a spin, give Dropbox a go.