Each year I forecast some predictions in the Digital Media/ Internet world, and at the end of the year I score those predictions to see whether they came true or not.
1. Self-service: Next generation self-service offerings
Expect to see more companies offering portals for customers to service themselves.
For instance, think of the last time you bought an airline ticket – you probably bought the ticket through a website and checked in online or through your smartphone.
This will become more commonplace. I can’t remember the last time I put coins in a parking meter – I use my smartphone to pay for parking instead.
Through 2014 we’ll see coins used less, and you’ll be calling help desks less because you’ll be buying and servicing your needs online instead.
2. Micro-apps: Mini-apps inside apps
As the functionality inside apps grow, we’ll start seeing apps use each other’s services.
For instance Uber already allows customers to select music tracks to play inside the taxi when it arrives, via Spotify. Many apps allow customers to register and sign in using social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. We’ll see apps spreading into other apps – so you’ll install an app and it will appear in several other apps.
Android and iOS will enable this through a micro-app paradigm – which will be a challenge the sandbox security model for apps, and we’ll see scam-style apps increase.
3. PC growth
One of the reasons I disagree with the mobile-first approach is that millions of us still use a PC at work for several hours a day.
The PC isn’t going anywhere for a long while.
In 2015 we’ll see Windows 9 (probably called Windows 10!) and Office 2016 helping to fly the PC flag. Both will offer a working balance of touch screen, business focused functionality.
Expect to start seeing touch-first interfaces and cloud first offerings from Microsoft, such as Office 365 and new SharePoint 2015.
4. Apple Watch will do very, very well. I won’t be buying one though
In 2014 my watch battery packed up so I bought a new one. And if the new battery lasts as long as the previous one, I won’t need to worry about it again until about 2018. This experience is unlike a smartwatch which lasts between 8-12 hours per charge.
Quite how consumers are happy for a watch not to last a full day is beyond me, but I would estimate many millions will buy an Apple Watch within nanoseconds of its release in 2015, mainly because it’s made by Apple.
5. Bitcoin to either increase significantly or fall away completely
2014 was a great year for promoting Bitcoin. Many organisations now recognise crypto-currencies as a valid, legal form of tender. 2015 will see a rapid increase or demise in the number of transactions, outside its current trajectory.
Here’s a bold claim then… a linear average number of transactions taken every 10 days estimates that at the end of 2015, there will be around 108,000 daily transactions. I think the figure will be 20% outside this range – so it will be either above 129,000 or under 87,000 transactions per day.
(This prediction relies on the number of transactions per day increasing, not necessarily the value of the transactions).
6. Payments inside retailer apps fuelled from the success of Uber
If you work in payments and haven’t used Uber yet, I suggest the next time you need to travel somewhere, download the Uber app and use it. What you’ll find remarkable is that at no stage do you need to confirm the payment to the driver. You just get out of the taxi and the payment happens ‘automagically’. It’s an invisible payment.
By the end of 2015 expect to start seeing these types of payments appearing on many other apps. It’s similar, but not the same as direct debit because it is pay-per-use. I can see it being replicated for restaurants, takeaways, and most e-commerce sites.
7. Yahoo! will invest the $6.3bn windfall from Alibaba
Any other business with the falling revenue issue at Yahoo! would love the investment fund that Yahoo! enjoys. In 2014 it sold its lucrative stake in Alibaba. The question is what will it do with the windfall?
I’d like to see some exciting acquisitions and cool innovative projects appearing in 2015.
8. Geofencing in mobile apps
As companies develop more mature mobile apps, they’ll start using some of the phone’s features rather than just migrate their website to an app. Apps need to become more customised to where and when they are being used. We’ll see apps changing their appearance and functionality depending on the location of the phone, the time of the day, the day of the week, and other factors.
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