Review of 2014 predictions

Blackberry shares in 2014 - at 49% growth, there are worse things you could have done with your money
Blackberry shares in 2014 – at 49% growth, there are worse things you could have done with your money

How did my 2014 Digital Media predictions from last December turn out?

2014 has been another interesting year in the digital world. The end of a terrible recession has forced most companies to place digital at the heart of their strategy. #Fintech has become a recognised term for banks, insurance companies and other financial services organisations trying to update their systems to become ‘digital‘.

1. TV will change

Last December I predicted Ultra HD will become production ready, 3D TV will disappear and we’ll start seeing transparent TVs on the market.

In the content industry, I said Sky losing the Champions League will have a big impact.

Well, you can now buy an Ultra HD for under £500 and use Amazon Prime to deliver 4K services, Sky have stopped their 3D coverage of the Premier League (but they still have a 3D channel… just… bundled free with their Family pack), but transparent TVs are still a way off.

Content continues to change rapidly. Netflix now produce ten original series, five titles that were discontinued from other production houses and dozen of films/ one offs. Over the next two years, Netflix is releasing 32 new original series. That’s a declaration of war to existing TV channels. The original programming story is the same at Amazon Prime.

Sky are coming under increased pressure from the Internet video companies such as Netflix and Amazon for on demand programming, and BT Sport for live programming.

Prediction rating: 9/10 – losing a mark for transparent TVs

2. Investment post recession

According to Regent’s Q3 2014 report, “European TMT merger and acquisition (M&A) activity reached an all-time high in the third quarter of 2014 with 900 deals announced. This is a 6.1% increase over the second quarter and an 8.7% increase compared to the same period last year.

Regent’s report shows the UK and Ireland have around the double the acquisition activity of our nearest rivals in Scandinavia. The UK accounts for 27% of all European activity.

What a year it was – some of the bigger deals in 2014 included:

  • Microsoft’s bought of Minecraft in September for $2.5bn
  • SAP bought Concur for $8.3bn in the same month
  • Amazon bought Twitch for $970 million in August
  • Facebook bought Liverail for $400-500m in July
  • Salesforce bought RelateIQ for $390m in July
  • Google bought SkyBox for $500m in June
  • Nest (from Google) bought Dropcam for $555m
  • Apple bought Beats in May for $3bn
  • Atos bought Bull in May for €620m
  • AT&T bought DirectTV in May for $48.5bn
  • Alibaba bought ChinaVision in March for $804m
  • Facebook bought OculusRift in March for $2bn
  • Comcast bought Time Warner in March for $45.2bn
  • Facebook bought WhatsApp in March for $19bn
  • Alibaba bought AutoNavi in March for $1.5bn
  • Rakuten bought Viber in March for $900m
  • Google bought DeepMind in February for £400m
  • Google bought Nest in January for $3.2bn
  • Zynga bought NaturalMotion in January for £317m

Prediction rating: 10/10 – a great year for M&A

3. We’ll see the pace of consumerisation speed up.

2014 has been the year of “Digital Transformation” across many industries. Business applications are now offering tablet and phone apps.

There’s still some way to go. Even Microsoft SharePoint doesn’t fully support mobile devices. And I’m still seeing apps which look more like websites than apps.

Prediction rating: 5/10

 4. Security is going to move to the top of the agenda

The irony... Sony has a problem, the odds are stacked against them, and they have nowhere else to turn to...
The irony… Sony has a problem, the odds are stacked against them, and they have nowhere else to turn to…

In the last fortnight we’ve seen Sony Pictures prevent a film release of The Interview.

Just after I wrote the 2014 predictions last December, criminals stole 110 card numbers from Target, costing the company $148m. In February, retailer Neiman Marcus had 350,000 card numbers stolen, of which 9,000 were then used fraudulently. In September, hackers accessed 60 million card numbers from Home Depot.

If you want a sobering read, take a look at this PwC report on cyber security. According to the PwC report, the cost of cyber security breaches has nearly doubled in the last year and 73% of large organisations suffered from infection by viruses or malicious software in the past year (up from 59% a year ago).

Prediction rating: 9/10

 5. From Mobile to Wearable

I was just a few months early on this one.

Apple announced the Apple Watch will be available from early 2016. The Samsung watch was released this summer though.

Whilst I believe smart watches will be popular, I won’t be getting one until battery life significantly improves – at the moment they don’t last a full day.

Prediction rating: 8/10 – Too early on the Apple announcement

6. 2014 will be the year of the wallet

No it wasn’t. None of my banks or credit cards have promoted a wallet to me.

However, Apple Pay came along and stole the wallet show. If you bought into the Apple ecosystem, Apple Pay is your wallet, and you’re probably unlikely to leave.

Prediction rating: 4/10 – saved by Apple Pay

7. Speech recognition to become more mainstream

Android, Apple and Microsoft all have speech recognition features on their smartphones which are good enough to use every day, as long as you don’t mind being stared at whilst negotiating with your phone.

I know some people who use speech recognition regularly, and I know others who don’t know it exists on their phone.

Prediction rating: 4/10 – The technology is there, but mainstream? Probably not [yet].

 8. Integration between services

The Uber & Spotify deal - striking fear into the hearts of taxi drivers across the world
The Uber & Spotify deal – striking fear into the hearts of taxi drivers across the world

If you use Uber, the taxi company, you can use Spotify to specific the music in the taxi that collects you.

If you have an XBox account, your payment details carry through on to a Windows Phone, XBox, and other Microsoft services.

This kind of integration was really difficult just a few years ago, and it’s a combination of consumerisation and consumer expectation that has brought us to this point.

Prediction rating: 9/10 – because a 10/10 isn’t possible when it comes to integration!

Summary

That’s a total of 58 out of a possible 80. Pretty good going.

I’ll release the 2014 predictions in the next couple of weeks.

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