This time of the year it’s hard to resist those bulleted lists about what’s likely to happen in the future, and particularly what the new year is likely to bring.
At the same time, though, most lists of tech trends sound mind-numbingly dull, or at least terribly obvious.
Which makes the following lists, duly bulleted, somewhat refreshing.
They’re all different from each other, while at the same time they attempt to highlight common forces that have widespread effect. In any case, they’re interesting and may spark ongoing ideas and conversations.
So, in no particular order:
“The We Economy”
Accenture foresees digital ecosystems that will create “the We Economy.”
“Pioneering enterprises are tapping into a broad array of other digital businesses, digital customers, and even digital devices at the edge of their networks to create new digital ecosystems,” the consulting firm says in a recent report.
Associated with this are five emerging technology trends:
1. The internet of me—our highly personalized world. Businesses are creating highly personalized experiences to both engage and exhilarate customers, but having to do it while making sure to not violate customer trust.
2. Outcome economy—hardware producing hard results. As leading enterprises come face-to-face with the industrial internet of things, they are uncovering opportunities to embed hardware and sensors in their digital toolboxes and using these highly connected hardware components to give customers what they really want: not more products or services, but more meaningful outcomes.
3. The platform revolution—defining ecosystems, redefining industries. Rapid advances in cloud and mobility are not only eliminating the cost and technology barriers associated with such platforms, but opening up this new playing field to enterprises across industries and geographies.
4. Intelligent enterprise—huge data plus smarter systems equals better business. This is the era of software intelligence where applications and tools will take on more human-like intelligence.
5. Workforce reimagined—collaboration at the intersection of humans and machines. Advances in natural interfaces, wearable devices, and smart machines are presenting new opportunities for companies to empower their workers through technology.
Millennials Year of Living Spendthriftly
American Express, in a recent study, concludes that as the economy continues to recover, millennials will make 2015 a year of major purchases and life experiences.
It says that this year they now are more likely than baby boomers or Gen Xers to:
• Take a leisure trip.
• Buy a car.
• Start a new job.
• Buy a house or condo.
• Move to a new place.
• Buy a major household appliance.
• Get married.
Meanwhile, everyone wants to save
For Americans of all generations, American Express says saving money still remains the top New Year’s resolution (58% versus 33% in 2013) but the average amount Americans plan to save is slightly down from last year ($11,292 versus $12,464 in 2014).
Consumers will look to a variety of ways to get there:
• Save from primary income (52%, on par with 2014).
• Save tax returns (26%, on par with 2014).
• Pare back on little luxuries (23% versus 21% in 2014).
• Set up deductions from paycheck (21% versus 18% in 2014).
• Selling unwanted possessions online (20% versus 18% in 2014)
Harnessing the power of disruption
Deloitte issued its annual report, titled “Tech Trends 2015—The Fusion of Business and IT.” As the title implies, it is “broadly inspired by a fundamental transformation in the way business C-suite leaders and CIOs collaborate to harness disruptive change, chart business strategy, and pursue transformative opportunities.”
Some of these trends include:
• Ambient computing, or the backdrop of sensors, devices, intelligence, and agents that can put the internet of things to work.
Translating these possibilities into business impact requires focus—purposefully bringing smarter things together with analytics, security, data, and integration platforms to make the disparate parts work with each other.
• CIO as chief integration officer.
Increasingly, CIOs need to harness emerging disruptive technologies for the business, while balancing future needs with today’s operational realities.
• Dimensional marketing, involving collaboration between the CIO and the chief marketing officer as they invest in marketing automation, next-generation omnichannel approaches, content development, customer analytics, and commerce initiatives.
• The IT worker of the future: Companies will have to nurture a new kind of employee who possesses habits, incentives, and skills that differ from those in play today, while developing new techniques for organizing, delivering, and evolving the IT mission.
Mobile infiltrates everything
Among the many trends that Gartner Inc. predicts, one focuses on the growing preeminence of mobile devices for all online activities. Its predictions go way beyond simply saying “mobile is very important.”
“The use pattern that has emerged for nearly all consumers, based on device accessibility, is the smartphone first as a device that is carried when mobile, followed by the tablet that is used for longer sessions, with the PC increasingly reserved for more complex tasks,” says Van Baker, research vice-president. “This behavior will adapt to incorporate wearables as they become widely available for users. As voice, gesture, and other modalities grow in popularity with consumers, and as content consumption tasks outweigh content creation tasks, this will further move users away from the PC.
Specific trends Gartner sees in this regard include:
• Wi-fi reigns supreme. By 2018, 40% of enterprises will specify wi-fi as the default connection for nonmobile devices, such as desktops, desk phones, projectors, and conference rooms.
• Smartphones nearly disposable. By 2020, 75% of smartphone buyers will pay less than $100 for a device.
• Code by the pictures. By 2018, more than half of all business-to-enterprise mobile apps will be created by enterprise business analysts using codeless tools [programs that use graphics and intuitive connections instead of primary computer line codes to assemble derivative applications].
From EMV to mobile payments endgame
Mercator Advisory Group takes on payments as its primary tech trend this year, but likewise goes much deeper into what it will entail. It sees the convergence of U.S. EMV deployment, increased emphasis on omnichannel/omnicommerce, and the “beginning of the mobile payments endgame.”
“These three trends, which have been building for several years, all become serious business concerns in 2015 that will demand decisions and actions. And that is on top of ongoing security, regulatory, and operations concerns. 2015 is likely to be a memorable year in the payments industry,” says Ken Paterson, vice-president of research.
Some specific macro trends Mercator sees are:
• Relationship-based disruption. Evolving peer-to-peer payment and lending services threaten to disintermediate traditional financial institutions.
• A new era of risk management technology. Implementation of card network tokenization and EMV will drive new challenges and opportunities for stakeholders.
• Beyond the vapor of big data. New analytics will drive real results in specific applications, including optimization, lean data decisioning, and offer management.
• Merchant services move beyond payments. Point of sale and mobile technology will drive merchant demand for integrated data, marketing, and payment applications.
All of the above certainly is food for thought. The various sources each say much more than is listed here, and it is recommended reading them in depth in case something particularly sounds of interest.
Sources used for this article include: