‘Tis the season of giving, but it's also the season of tech predictions. Ask anyone and their uncle in the channel, and they are likely to have at least half a dozen different predictions for the types of game-changing technology and disruptive practices that could affect the industry in the coming year. I was starting to feel a little left out of all the technology prediction fun, so I decided to talk to some fellow industry experts to help develop my own set of predictions for what will be hot (and not) in the New Year.
No. 1: Wearable technology will explode in popularity among enterprise users: It seems like a given that wearable tech is going to steal the spotlight in 2015. With the impending release of the Apple Watch and dozens of other wearable devices on the horizon, I believe we're going to see more wearable tech being used in the workplace. Once IT departments begin embracing wearable tech, we’re also likely to see the rise of “data snacking,” where enterprise users will look to their devices for quick bite-sized information that they can glance at on the go, according to Ojas Rege, vice president of strategy at MobileIron (MOBL). This year is sure to be one for the history books in terms of wearable tech, so I recommend getting your own wearable as soon as possible.
No. 2: Privacy issues will lead to new payment methods, including biometric payments and virtual credit cards: If you thought you saw the last of high-profile security breaches like the ones at Target and Home Depot, think again: Hackers will continue to get more and more ambitious in 2015, with the possibility of additional security breaches in both the enterprise and commercials worlds continuing to be a noteworthy problem. We could very well see the beginning of the end for traditional payment methods next year, with an increase in biometric payment experimentation surfacing. I believe companies also will begin to latch on to the idea of virtual cards for online shopping (dummy credit cards generated from a financial institution for online shopping) and an expanded amount of Apple Pay copycats popping up among smartphone providers.
No. 3: More millennials in the workforce will drive social media growth: While this one certainly isn't novel by any stretch of the imagination, I believe social media will continue to influence business in new and interesting ways in 2015. As more young workers enter the channel, big vendors will need to leverage social media for on-the-go transactions and to deliver actionable information to busy executives on the move. As a millennial and recent addition to the workforce myself, I think my fellow college graduates are going to begin making their presence known in a big way once 2015 rolls around.
No. 4: The Internet of Things finally will begin to work itself in to the average household: We already have many devices capable of turning the average home into a technology-driven environment, but not many people so far have taken advantage. I believe that 2015 will mark the introduction of more smart devices to homes and offices across the country, from simple home heating solutions á la Nest to appliances such as printers capable of automatically ordering new ink cartriges when levels drop below a certain percentage. These devices will help channel partners by increasing the amount of automated ordering among business customers and in establishing additional sources of monthly revenue.
No. 5: Cloud services will continue to gain ground over on-premise solutions: Cloud services were already big news in 2014, but there's no reason to believe that things will be any different in 2015. As managed services continue to dominate the channel, traditional VARs and system integrators used to selling on-premise solutions will begin to transition to selling more as-a-service options, according to Anna Dorcey, senior director of Americas Partner Marketing at EMC. While it's obvious that there will always be some kind of market for on-premise solutions, I agree that the popularity of cloud services will continue to grow in 2015 despite the possibility of data breaches associated with storing information in remote locations.
I'd like to think that my predictions are spot-on, but there is every possibility that some (or, in the worst-case scenario, all) of my predicitions will go up in smoke. Let me know what you think in the comments below, and, as always, feel free to offer up your own suggestions as to what technology you think will be top of mind for everyone in 2015.