Review of 2015 predictions

Time to look back on the 2015 predictions from 12 months ago…. how many of those crystal ball predictions came true?

1. Self-service: Next generation self-service offerings

When was the last time you telephoned a call centre? I can’t remember.

According to a report from Dimension Data, “Social media is already the first choice for Gen Y (globally).

The report says “Ten years ago there was no web chat, smart phone apps, social media, and very little email. Today, digital interactions account for over 35% of all interactions and, at the current rate, will overtake voice in two years’ time.

We are already signing up for services via mobile apps which allow us to find a service, pay and rate, without needing to call for any level of support.

I also mentioned how we are using real cash less frequently. From October 2016, we’ll be able to pay for London black cabs using contactless cards (although I think the £30 maximum limit might be a problem!).

Prediction rating: 8/10 – a little too early, but completely heading in the right direction

2. Micro-apps: Mini-apps inside apps

I said that we’ll start seeing functionality from one mobile app starting to appear inside other apps.

This year a new battlefront has begun to emerge on all devices – digital assistants. Microsoft have Cortana on Windows Phones and Windows 10; Google has Now; Apple has Siri; and Facebook are launching M.

These assistants will look inside all your files and apps for clues about your lifestyle, making calculated assumptions on what you want next, and how you’ll be able to get it.

As a sobering extrapolation of where digital assistants are heading, Gartner predict that within three years more than 3 million workers will be reporting to a Roboboss.

Prediction rating: 7/10 – 2015 will be remembered as the year digital ‘thinking’ became mainstream

3. PC growth

I said “In 2015 we’ll see Windows 9 (probably called Windows 10!) and Office 2016 helping to fly the PC flag.” And “Expect to start seeing touch-first interfaces and cloud first offerings from Microsoft, such as Office 365 and new SharePoint 2015.

In July this year Windows 10 was launched. According to GoSquared it took about 5 months for the number of Windows 10 users to overtake the number of Windows 8 installs, and it remains half of Windows 7 (which most enterprises still use).

As for touch-first interfaces, I think that was a little early (by 2-3 years). On Amazon.co.uk touch-screen monitors cost around three times as much as a traditional monitor, which is probably holding back sales.

Microsoft released the Surface Pro 4 this year (for the record, and for the umpteenth time I’m still delighted with my Surface Pro 3 and no I won’t be upgrading soon) and the biggest surprise was that sales of Surface devices overtook iPads in Q4 2015.

The bottom line however, is that sales of PCs are still shrinking, by double-digit figures whichever way you look at the numbers. There are several reasons for this: PCs from a few years ago are powerful and stable enough that many businesses and users don’t need to upgrade yet, and that Windows 10 has unleashed new life into older products (I can testify to this on my home PCs).

Prediction rating: 6/10 – we’re not seen touch-first interfaces yet, and PC sales are still declining, but newer Windows devices are selling well

4. Apple Watch will do very, very well. I won’t be buying one though

Apple hasn’t released any sales figures for the Watch. Anecdotally they seem to be reasonably common in US and UK city areas, and the latest figure looks like it is around 12 million timepieces.

Reports suggest Apple sold 3.6m Watches in Q2 this year (the Watch was released in April 2015).

I was right in one respect – I haven’t seen any killer apps which have convinced me to buy the device. And don’t get me started on the dismal battery life.

Prediction rating: 8/10 – a nicer earner for Apple (apparently)

5. Bitcoin to either increase significantly or fall away completely

A tale of 2 years: the number of Blockchain transactions has grown from December 2013 to 2015
A tale of 2 years: the number of Blockchain transactions has grown substantially from December 2013 to 2015 (and earning me full marks for a 2015 prediction!)

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.

Bitcoin usage has sky-rocketed much more than I had predicted. I predicted above 129,000 transactions per day – at time of writing it’s over 220,000 transactions per day. And the dollar price of Bitcoin has improved significantly too: from $334 to $442 in the last 12 months.

Prediction rating: 10/10

6. Payments inside retailer apps fuelled from the success of Uber

We’ve seen a few restaurant apps appearing with payment facilities, but nothing as ubiquitous as Uber. Only a small number of coffee shops and restaurants, such as Starbucks and Wahaca’s QuickPay apps, allow pay via app – and they appear basic in comparison to Uber.

Prediction rating: 1/10 – Perhaps users will be able to pay via mobile from 2016?

7. Yahoo! will invest the $6.3bn windfall from Alibaba

This wasn’t as straightforward as it once seemed: the windfall hasn’t happened yet.

Firstly, Alibaba’s stock price has fallen 40%, and Yahoo! are negotiating with the US Internal Revenue Service on the tax bill after the sale.

Prediction rating: N/A – the event hasn’t happened yet

8. Geofencing in mobile apps

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.

I have spoken about geofencing in mobile apps at almost every speaking event I’ve had this year, and we still haven’t seen a surge of new apps take advantage of this simple but effective user experience upgrade.

Wouldn’t it be great if your phone knew your location and offered you the most helpful user experience for the scenario?

If you can think of any apps that do take advantage of this feature, please contact me.

Prediction rating: 1/10

Summary of 2015 predictions

That’s a total of 21 out of 70. I’ve had better years. Dynamo fared better with his 2014 World Cup predictions.

I’ll release the predictions for 2016 in the next fortnight.

2 thoughts on “Review of 2015 predictions

  1. A mixed year all round. Don’t worry hedge fund managers can’t predict better. We enter 2016 with low oil prices, increasing interest rates globally and no major pending tech IPOs. So it’s either a dull year attend or chance for success from someone in the sidelines. I predict the rise of consumer VR, drones on “you’ve been framed” and phones that can replace your pc.

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