- The Internet of Things will go mainstream. You could argue this has already started but we are going to really see it take off in earnest. The #1 use case is going to be a connected and seamless media experience between your car, your phone and all of the rooms of your house. The real sign this has occurred will be that you can plug and play pieces from different companies (aka use your iPhone, Google Chromecast, Samsung TV, Microsoft xBox, and Sonos speakers). Notably, talking to your kitchen appliances will continue to be trope for SciFi movies.
– Bitcoin still won’t take off and still won’t have a “killer app”. Bitcoin itself still won’t solve a real problem for most people (and maybe never will) and BTC will continue to be too complicated, crime-ridden, and volatile for normal people. More importantly, the irreversibility of transactions is inherently a bad thing for most consumers. Couple that with the fact that the time it takes for transactions to be confirmed is measured in minutes/hours, rather than milliseconds, means BTC still won’t manifest itself in a meaningful way in 2015. The same goes for the larger block chain ecosystem, though we are going to see some good tech/software arrive on the scene.
– A real, viable non-Google Android will break into the West. No, not Fire Phone++. I’m talking about Xiaomi. Marketshare will be very small, but it will be enough and the products will be good enough, that the debate stops being simply iOS vs Android.
– The 2-year contract will still reign in the USA, but the cracks will deepen. T-Mobile will keep leading the charge here on the carrier side, and the continued commoditization of phones (aka the blurring of quality between mid-high range devises) will reduce the need for subsidized devises.
– Wearables will continue to fall flat. Apple Watch won’t change this and Google Glass will be canned completely.
– The tablet market will stay flat or contract. Businesses and the majority of western households’ need for a PC will not change and the phone will increasingly fill every role the tablet was suited for. The exception will be e-readers (which aren’t really tablets anyways).
– Cybercrime will continue to make headlines and it will continue to get worse. We will discover more nation-state level malware and there will be more (probably many more) Sonys and Targets. Furthermore, cybercrime will continue to usurp terrorism as the pre-eminent boogieman in the media.
– B2B SaaS will continue to kill it and we are going to see even more winners emerge at both ends of the ACV spectrum. The last big round of IPOs riding the “move to the cloud” wave will happen, and the early birds of the next enterprise cycle are going to start becoming household names.
– VR will continue to fall embarrassingly short of the hype. A consumer version of Oculus won’t ship, no other major competitors will release anything viable, and no blockbuster game (or any other app) will emerge. Despite this, hype will continue, driven by companies like MagicLeap (who also won’t launch anything).
– The path to true “cord-cutting” will become clear. 2015 will be the year that the big content providers show their hands on catering to cord-cutters. In most cases, this is going to be a streaming service, a la Netflix, but expect to see continued experimentation with mixing and matching bulk streaming access, pay-per-view content, ad-supported, exclusives, pay-by-share, and complicated release schedules. Also expect the cable/carrier companies to bundle these content services with their internet service. Notably, at least one major US sports league (or possibly ESPN) will also make this move.
Some of these are probably no brainers and all are far from original. Despite that, I think it is interesting to “tag” one’s thinking from time to time and what better time than at the new year. Overall, I’m struck by how negative my predictions are for 2015. I’m not sure what to make of that.