Last month I attended a talk given by Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) Manager of Innovation & Technology Futurist, Joseph Dvorak, Ph.D. In the first section of his talk, Dr. Dvorak discussed four key trends he saw affecting the world over the coming years. In the second part, he spelled out the emerging trends he saw for the smartphone market as it moves forward.  

1. Aging population: A world of Floridas
The story of the baby boomers in the U.S. reaching retirement age, and the opportunities and problems associated with that, has been well documented. However, many people are unaware that the average age in many societies around the world and the senior population as a whole, are growing rapidly. For example, the median age in 2000 was 26; by 2050 the median age around the world is expected to be 36. Also, there are currently only roughly 700 million people over the age of 60 around the world. By 2050, that number is expected to nearly triple to two billion people.

As lifespans grow longer and millions more people have long retirements, new models for post-work lifestyles will be needed since many people will have 20+ years of active retirement. Wellness as a lifestyle will become increasingly common as longer healthy living requires some planning and effort. This could be a long-term positive for lifestyle activity companies like Lululemon and a negative for smoking companies like Philip Morris International.

2. Ubiquitous connectivity
Expanding high speed 3G networks from carriers such as Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint (NYSE:S) are making information access more constant while mobile with high speed networks and smartphones from the likes of Palm and Motorola. As access increases, the distinction between work and home is eroding. With the continued rise of the Internet and social networking, physical and political boundaries are becoming less important in social interactions.

3. Individuals are becoming empowered as never before
As every user of (NASDAQ:AMZN) knows, the Internet facilitates product review and comparisons. Online tools such as Angie's List or even package tracking from UPS (NYSE:UPS) helps consumers keep companies accountable for both service and delivery performance. Much to the chagrin of many restaurant owners, consumers have many new outlets to express their satisfaction or anger, most notably Individual empowerment is also making headwaves on the political scene, with activists from China to Iran organizing and sharing information online.

4. Values-based interaction
Consumers are increasingly seeking out companies aligned with their social values. For example, many people shy away from Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) because they disagree with its labor or an environmental policies and choose to shop at Whole Foods or Costco (NASDAQ:COST) instead. Or perhaps a better example: Millions of people have gotten away from high-priced brokers and advisors and get their advice from the Motley Fool instead!

There aren't easy ways to profit from these trends, but by having them in the back of your mind when choosing where to invest you are already one step ahead of the game. In this second article, I explore the emerging trends Dr. Dvorak sees in Smartphones and how you can profit from them.

Motley Fool Rule Breakers founder David Gardner always has the big trends in the back of his mind when he searches for investments. To see all the stocks David Gardner and the rest of the analysts have recommended, take a free 30-day trial today.

Dan Dzombak's favorite trend will always be value investing. He does not own any of the companies mentioned in this article Costco Wholesale, Sprint Nextel, and Wal-Mart Stores are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Costco Wholesale and Whole Foods Market are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Philip Morris International is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. United Parcel Service is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy is listening to Explosions in The Sky.