2014 was a great year for technology. There were brilliant IPOs such as GoPro and Zendesk, the shareconomy rocketed thanks to the likes of Airbnb and Lyft (among others), Apple released the brilliant iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Android got a whole lot better with Android L(ollipop), and there were acquisitions left, right and centre. There were also some lows for tech in 2014. Blackberry almost completely disappeared, Uber received massive opposition from local government (and dug itself some pretty big holes), once great companies such as IBM continued in a slow decline, and hackers (for good and bad reasons) were out in full force with the biggest hacks coming late in the year to Sony along with Xbox Live and the Playstation Network (PSN) over Christmas.
I think many of these trends will continue into 2015 and the negatives will lead to some positives for many. Here's some of my full predictions:
1. Wearables will flop
There was huge hype around wearables in 2014 with Google Glass being a big player and almost every tech company at least announcing their intentions for wearables while many actually released consumer versions - mostly watches. Guess what? They all failed. And I think they'll continue to fail through 2015. I don't think the technology or the consumer want is there quite yet. The devices are still too bulky for most and so far have just emulated smartphones on a smaller screen. I think this will change slightly with Apple's iWatch as they always do UIs well but it's not going to be the big hit that the iPod, iPhone or iPad were.
2. Cybersecurity will rule
Following the high profile hack of, and release of information from Sony 2015 will be a brilliant year for the cybersecurity industry. Companies of all shapes and sizes are going to be on the hunt for protection in an attempt to avoid being 'Sonyed'. The solution too will come in many shapes and sizes but I think Software/Hardware as a Service (S/HaaS) will be the big business model. Of course, there will continue to be high profile hacks as anything connected to the open web can never be 100% secured.
3. IPOs galore
As already mentioned there were some great Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in 2014 and this will only increase in 2015. Some of the IPOs to expect include, in my opinion, Spotify, Box and possibly Uber and Airbnb. I'm still not sure about Evernote but that would great if it happened. We could also see some small unexpected IPOs from the likes of Pinterest or Snapchat but I'm not convinced these would be particularly successful/necessary.
I think 2015 will see some pretty big corporations splitting up their operations to compete with the smaller, more agile start-ups that are so threatening to their businesses. This will be out of necessity rather than something they really want to do - it's much more efficient and cost effective to have everything in one place and share overheads but I don't they'll have a choice going forward. I'd be keeping my eye on the likes of Microsoft, Sky, Cisco etc.
5.Disruption will get more opposition
Highly disruptive companies will get more and more opposition in 2015 as they spread their wings and go international. The companies I'm talking about are those such as Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, 23andMe, and Tesla. Much of this opposition will come from local government who have failed to keep-up and therefore have no, or the wrong, legislation in place for these companies. Unions and those in the disrupted industries who fail to innovate will have an ever stronger but short lived voice. Eventually the disruptor's will be successful.
6. Retail will suffer at the hands of mobile
Bricks and mortar businesses will continue their general decline as online and particularly mobile gains more and more traction. At points in 2014 Amazon saw 60% of it's sales coming from mobile. Only a couple of years ago it was still more convenient to go to a store to buy something but now with one-click purchasing on the go (on mobile), one day delivery and click and collect it's almost more convenient to buy online and with the upcoming launch of Apple Pay and increasing use of and innovation by PayPal this will only become more convenient. Any company that isn't mobile first in 2015 should be preparing for failure.
9. Healthcare will become personal
As more and more of our devices monitor our every move and heartbeat I think 2015 will just start to see a revolution in healthcare. I think individuals will become even more aware of their own health and tailored healthcare and fitness will become a big trend starting in 2015 and continuing for years after.
10. OS wars will end
Finally, I'm pretty confident that the Apple vs Android vs Microsoft wars will come to an end. As Benedict Evans has very well noted towards the end of 2014 Apple and Android have both won in their war. Android have won the mass, low price point consumer, which is what they wanted and Apple have won less market share but it's at the high end (price point) of the entire mobile market, which again is what they wanted. Meanwhile, Microsoft have retained the vast majority of their business customers and even gained some consumers with their Surface tablets. So 2015 will hopefully see an end to the OS wars we've seen over the last few years. Oh, and as for Blackberry, say Goodbye!!