We recently welcomed CNET’s Editor-at-Large and senior media commentator to our Digital Community Meeting to help guide us through future trends for 2015. Among the list of exciting new innovations set to break out next year, the most prominent were sensor-based hardware, wearable tech, connected homes (and cars) and 4K TV which were covered in detail:
The wearable tech market is very promising; however estimates of its size still vary widely. Cooley therefore recommends looking at it in 3 segments:
Fitness wearables measure activity to help the average user lose weight, get fit or sleep better. These devices are no longer the exclusive domain of professional athletes or gym junkies.
Smartwatches are an extension of the smartphone, providing a clearer, cleaner way to show you the most important notifications from what has become a very busy device.
Glassware, like Google Glass, is the longer term investment in this category. This sector has the toughest path to acceptance among consumers as they learn the benefits of augmented/virtual reality and get over the stigma of wearing tech on their faces. Watch this space.
All these devices could usher in an era of natural, unintentional input and, for the first time, data about a user’s physical state that could be transformational to media and messaging.
Sensor-Based Connected Home:
The connected home combines sensor technology with mobile apps connected over the wireless Internet to turn the home into a smart, connected zone for the first time
Climate, security, video monitoring, power management and more are all accessible with these affordable home add-ons. As with fitness wearables, this trend may reveal the state and behaviour of a consumer’s life more accurately to marketers. How that data is accessed in a way that is acceptable to consumers has yet to be solved, and based on reactions around the room from an audience well-versed in and accepting of new media technology, there was a noticeable trepidation at the thought of your own security camera being used to aggregate data about how you (albeit anonymously) live which could be sold to marketers for hyper-targeted ads.
4K or UltraHD TV is the next big thing for television. It offers a screen resolution 2x as detailed as current Full HD TVs. Assume it will be adopted because manufacturers will soon offer little else and there is a credible pipeline of 4K content to maximize the value of switching.
But, 4K or UltraHD TV does not substantially change the strategy of using TV as a media platform, it merely makes it look better. For consumers, CNET has found the improvement in picture quality is modest and only when viewing 4K content on larger TVs. Amazon and Netflix are among the early movers in streaming 4K content.
The Autonomous, Connected Car:
Connected cars have apps and familiar mobile services in the dashboard, meaning a constant mobile experience for the driver as they transition in and out of the vehicle. This trend has moved into the realm of large numbers: ABI Research predicts 60% of new vehicles will be connected by 2017, and IHS forecasts more than 150 million connected cars will be on global roads by 2020. At CES 2014, GM, Mercedes, Hyundai and Honda announced that they would support Android in their cars, following Apple’s recent announcement that more than 12 car makers will soon support iOS in the vehicle. These two announcements should help move us to much-need needed consolidation of the platforms that integrate our mobiles on the road.
Autonomous or self-driving cars rely on built-in radar, laser, sonar and optical sensors to take over part of the driving task and are becoming common in showrooms. The next layer of this technology is Vehicle to Vehicle, or V2V technology where cars signal to each other where they are and where they’re heading to manage distance and avoid collisions. Consensus estimates are that fully self-driving cars will be in showrooms between 2025 and 2030. Welcome to the future!
Stay connected… What will be next?
All of these technologies are still establishing themselves and yet to take full shape. Tracking the course of each to their eventual form or demise is going to make for another very busy technology era. Bring it on.