As we approach the end of 2015, a time when we look forward and make predictions as to what the next year has in store from a consumer technology perspective, it’s interesting (and perhaps embarrassing) to revisit the predictions we made in this area at the start of 2015 to see how they panned out.
Internet of Things
The IoT promises to relegate the people of the internet to minority status with the majority of internet citizens instead being connected machines – the things. This year has indeed seen the foundations of this new world being laid. A number of leading tech companies announced platforms that would welcome the things including Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite, Amazon’s AWS IoT, Google’s Brillo and IoT initiatives from Facebook, Intel, Samsung, Apple and Ericsson’s Device Connection Platform. One innovative example of the latter is the Internet of Grapes, a connected vineyard.
4G Becomes Ordinary
We predicted that 2015 would be the year when LTE really went mainstream, enabling greatly increased mobile video consumption. The industry trade association 4G Americas announced last week that LTE connections have now passed the 51% mark. LTE growth in Latin America also increased by over 350% during the year. A similar picture has been seen across the world. This creates an exciting platform for media services in the year ahead.
Consumer adoption of cloud services was already very well established before the year began with most of our emails, photos, videos, storage and our digital lives in general operating in the cloud. Enterprises followed this path, with significant growth in cloud adoption during the year (UK business cloud adoption has grown from under 50% to almost 85% since 2010).
We predicted more pixels (4K), faster pixels (HFR) and better pixels (HDR) would feature prominently during the year and so they have. In addition to a slew of UHD TV sets launching at CES and appearing in the shops we saw the launch of one of the world’s first UHD TV channels by BT Sport offering 4K coverage of some of the best sports content available. Last month the European digital TV standards body, DVB, announced it had reached agreement on Phase 2 of the UHDTV specifications. This adds support for high dynamic range and other features what will dramatically improve picture quality for digital television over the coming years.
Apple launched their widely anticipated smart watch earlier this year, joining an increasingly busy marketplace for wearable technologies. Other leading manufacturers updated their watch ranges including Pebble, Samsung, LG, Motorola and traditional watch manufacturers such as TAG Heuer entered the fray. The smartphone had seemed to spell doom for the wrist watch in recent years, so it’s interesting to see it offer salvation through the extension of its features to its connected sidekick the smart watch.
The past year saw the launch of new drone models by leading manufacturers such as DJI and also significant public and regulatory debate on how they should be operated. With sales expected to fly high this Christmas, official guidance from civil aviation authorities in many countries are expected to be updated in the very near future.
VR has been much discussed but not much seen during this year. Prominent launches from Sony, Facebook and others have been pushed out into 2016 but a range of new 360 degree cameras were launched and many companies and individuals are shooting content in anticipation of headset availability in the near term. It remains to be seen how mainstream VR will become outside of gaming but the potential is exciting at least.
Unfortunately, they have still not arrived but we can only hope that they will appear over the horizon sometime soon.
Predictions for 2016 will be coming soon.
Steve Plunkett, CTO