2014 was a monster year for mobile. Tech giants like Apple, Samsung and Google released new and innovative products at a frenetic pace. Digital titans like Facebook and Twitter continued releasing products and features fueling consistent growth while upstarts like Tinder and Snapchat stole headlines for good and bad reasons alike. Nascent technologies like Near Field Communications (NFC) saw major upticks in popularity and usage.
Many of our predictions about 2014 came to fruition, specifically regarding the growth of enterprise mobile device management, wearables moving beyond first adopters, design occupying a more central role in product strategy, Windows continuing to grab incremental market share in the domestic smartphone market, video consumption taking up more overall Internet bandwidth, and the continued growth of cloud computing offerings.
2015 is likewise poised to bring a slew of mobile/technology developments that will change the technology landscape moving forward. Here are our six big predictions for 2015:
1) Security will come to the forefront of thought leadership and product development
With major 2014 breaches like the Heartbleed Bug, the iCloud celebrity hack and the recent Sony hack, security made headlines for all the wrong reasons last year. Retailers, financial institutions, and tech giants alike fell prey to hacks or breaches, and there’s no indication these types of attacks are likely to subside in 2015.
We predict security will take a big step forward in 2014 as more and more companies move away from simple passwords in favor of technologies far more difficult to circumvent. Look for continued growth of fingerprint verification like that seen with Apple’s Touch ID along with a host of pattern-based technologies to supplant easier to crack alphanumeric passwords.
2) Mobile finance will take a massive step forward
More and more consumers are learning to live life without interacting with human bankers. Money sharing applications like Venmo and Paypal have allowed people of all stripes to send money to each other seamlessly. Companies like Intuit with their Mint app have made budgeting and expense tracking easy as can be. Banks like Chase and Wells Fargo have released their own money sharing apps. Ally Bank and Capital One both offer digital-only banking options that consumers have responded to. Mobile check deposit has enabled many of these developments, and smaller banks are including the technology in their mobile apps. The future of banking is mobile, and 2015 will see big gains on that front.
These advancements are not limited to banks, however. Apple Pay and Google Wallet are poised to finally take NFC mainstream and simplify the payment act for millions of consumers. Apple Pay also offers enhanced security over traditional credit cards with fingerprint ID verification. Mobile finance will continue taking big steps forward throughout 2015 along multiple verticals within the category.
3) Wearables on the rise
Wearables provide another category poised for a breakthrough year. Apple will release the Watch in early 2015, and it will usher in a new era for wearables across the consumer spectrum. Until now, the category has been defined by fitness applications and that will continue into the foreseeable future. But, with Apple’s fully baked solution joining second or third generation offerings from Samsung, Motorola and others, wearables are ready to advance beyond fitness monitoring.
Enterprises will also benefit from the rise of wearables. While Google Glass might not have made huge inroads into the consumer market, there are myriad enterprise functionalities a wearable device like Glass could offer in the enterprise space. From logistics and transport to inventory management and retail support, there are huge implications for enterprise connectivity, data management and productivity with the successful integration of wearable technology.
2015 might not be the year that wearables assume dominance over the tech market, but they are nonetheless poised for a major step forward in both consumer and enterprise environments.
4) Broadband Internet will see a major makeover from anyone but the established cable companies
The Internet in the United States is nothing to scoff at, but it’s certainly not the fastest in the world — not even close. In most cities or towns, there is a virtual monopoly over “broadband” access, which is controlled by one of the major cable providers. In 2015, look for the expansion of much, MUCH faster Internet access from anyone but the cable companies. Google Fiber and Century Link are already offering Gigabit Internet access within their specific service areas. And, smaller providers like US Internet are bringing unprecedented 10 Gbps speeds to homeowners and small businesses in places like Minneapolis. While these services are still confined to limited geographical areas, look for the next generation of broadband to start expanding beyond test markets into the mainstream.
5) More advanced geosensing technology will empower new technologies and features in consumer applications
As we’ve covered, the expansion of iBeacons signals a new development in the geosensing industry. No longer are phones confined to GPS or NFC tracking for close-range location monitoring (which are sub-optimal given their huge drain on battery life). Geosensing is a huge priority in mobile because it can power many of the technologies and features of the future. Retailers can use it to push customized alerts and maps while you’re in their stores. Enterprises can use it for more effective inventory management and productivity tracking. Consumer applications abound — imagine your home being able to locate you exactly while you’re inside it, turning off the lights as you leave one room and turning them on as you enter the next. We predict advances in geosensing will power a crop of new technologies and features in 2015.
6) The Internet of Things gets closer to reality
We covered the Internet of Things (IoT) earlier this year if you need a primer on the concept. For 2015, we see the IoT getting closer to reality. The technologies already exist for many of the use-cases foreseen for the IoT — home automation via heating, locks, lights; kitchen automation through refrigerators; etc. But, most of these solutions are costly to purchase and implement. As the price point comes down on these technologies and more competitors enter the fray, the IoT should get significantly closer to mainstream adoption. We won’t go out on a limb and say which facets of the IoT will make the biggest gains this year, but we do think it will be a good year for the growth of the IoT overall.
2015 should be a big year across the board for mobile and digital technologies. We hope these six predictions help you and your enterprise better prepare a mobile strategy for the future.