The New Year will be here before you know it, and we’re already starting to see compilations of what to expect in 2015. Of course the technology industry is constantly evolving, and next year will be no different. But exactly what can we expect?
Juniper Research put out a white paper on the topic, listing ten trends the firm’s researchers expect to emerge in 2015.
This year has been chock-full of data breaches, so we can hope next year will be better. Researchers at Juniper think cloud service providers are going to be hyper-focused on regaining the trust of consumers and enterprise customers because of all the problems this past year. They expect many companies to invest in encryption and tokenization with the goal of reducing the risk of data theft or loss next year.
Biometrics is also expected to be an important factor in securing data. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) kicked off the use of biometrics with the iPhone 5S, and Juniper expects this to become even bigger next year. The firm’s researchers said Apple Pay combined with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner is just the most high-profile example of how biometrics is being employed to protect data, but they already see signs that biometrics is advancing into the card space.
Apple will launch the Apple Watch in 2015, marking its rather late entry into the wearables category. So far smartwatches haven’t really captured the love of consumers, so Apple hasn’t really missed much. Juniper researchers think the Apple launch and other smartwatches from other major brands like Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HP) will increase consumer awareness of smartwatches.
Apple’s near field communications
Although near field communications (NFC) technology has been around for a few years already, the Juniper team thinks 2015 will be a big year for it. Of course Apple Pay will utilize NFC for payments, and other big names will likely follow, they believe. They say because security lies outside of handsets through NFC, banks may become more interested in utilizing it for payments.
By the end of next year, they think there will be “substantial consumer adoption” of NFC use for payments.
As mobile carriers continue to expand and improve their networks, data is also becoming more and more important. In fact, Juniper researchers say in some markets, voice is taking a backseat to data. For example, Sweden’s Tele2 is offering voice services free when subscribers buy data bundles.
In general, they expect mobile carriers to shift the way they price their plans to focus more on data bundled with other services like third-party messaging and voice over IP (VoIP). As data becomes increasingly important, they say music streaming will increasingly become the most popular way for consumers to consume music. They think digital streaming will begin replacing digital downloads.
The firm’s researchers also expect crypto-currency like bitcoin to become more commonplace in 2015. This year Mt. Gox, arguably the most well-known bitcoin exchange in the world, collapsed after it lost hundreds of thousands of bitcoins.
The news has been rather quiet on crypto-currency of late, but Juniper thinks that will change next year, noting that PayPal said it’s been testing digital currency. There have also been rumors that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will start supporting bitcoin payments through its upcoming Messenger Payments service.
Other major online retailers have begun to accept bitcoins as well, like Dell, Newegg and others. The firm suggests that this trend will continue and move into physical retail in 2015.
The firm’s researchers also expect drones to become increasingly popular, noting that the price point of higher end drones is now down to around $400 or $500, while mini-drones can be purchased for about $200. In 2013, the two top drone makers saw a total of $180 million in sales, and they think that number will pass $500 million this year and $1 billion next year.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) are among the major tech companies to begin testing drones, and the researchers say drone testing is only beginning. Although they think it will be several more years before commercial retail distribution is available for drones due to regulatory barriers. However, they think more adoption in other spaces will put in place the foundation for future acceptance.
Personal health data
The Apple Watch and other devices have made health monitoring a reality for consumers, and the number of data sharing health and fitness platforms continues to grow. Juniper expects the use of digital health tracking to “boom” next year as it becomes standard in new devices like the Apple Watch.
For now though, they think this will happen in the areas in which regulation isn’t needed because regulators have not set limits on the use of medical data generated by personal mobile devices.
Phablets on a budget
The Juniper team also expects budget phablets to continue spreading around the globe. They note that tablets are increasingly becoming second screens to TV sets, and they think this trend will result in consumers being more inclined to use a phablet as their main device for consuming media, which eliminates the need for tablets.
They do note, however, that price is the main driver in Asian markets, which means growth in phablets will likely be at the low end of the market.
Juniper researchers also say the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons will likely increase in 2015, as the number has already been rising this past year. BLE Beacons have become important in tracking locations indoors, replacing Wi-Fi, which can’t calculate elevation and tends to give errors due to signal noise.
Combining BLE Beacons with Wi-Fi access points and device-embedded micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) sensors will give more accurate indoors locations. The researchers think that as usage of indoor location tracking becomes more common, marketers will find more opportunities to pull in sales. However, they also see the “proximity based coupon model” as being over-hyped.
Deep-linking across apps
And finally, they think deep-linking will become a standard across all apps. They note that index apps result in higher engagement within apps and need less money spent on promoting them. From the perspective of users, deep-linking integrates native apps with the web, and apps can offer search results from other apps. Juniper sees further opportunities for app developers to enhance the experience of users as well.