Our technology predictions for 2015

By: John McGarvey

Date: 19 January 2015

At the start of the year, it's traditional for bloggers and internet pundits to predict what will happen over the next 12 months.

Obviously, those predictions are usually completely inaccurate. For instance, at the start of 2013, one expert said 3D presentations would be a big thing.

In the same spirit, here are four things we think might happen this year in business technology. Leave a comment at the bottom to add your own.

1. Contactless payments (finally) take off

Card issuers hoped we'd all start using contactless payments back in 2012. The London Olympics were meant to be a showcase for the technology, which allows you to make payments by tapping your credit or debit card on a card reader. There's no need to sign or enter a PIN.

Back then, consumer apathy about the tap-and-go payments meant take-up was slow.

Fast-forward to the end of 2014, and contactless was growing more quickly. October 2014 saw UK contactless payments increase 292%, year-on-year.

We expect contactless to become far more common in 2015. As the convenience factor takes hold, consumers will expect retailers to offer it.

2. Wearable technology niches grow

Although Google Glass was much-trumpeted when it arrived back in 2013, its ungainly looks and intrusive nature have held it back — arguably more than its cost, poor battery life and lack of truly useful applications. It was canned last week, to many cries of 'I told you so'.

(As the BBC's technology correspondent discovered, you're in real trouble if Boris Johnson is mocking your choice of face-gear.)

However, wearable technology is on the march, and will grow in many niches this year. Although these will include industry-specific applications (Google Glass can be useful in a warehouse), we expect the idea of the 'quantified self' to really drive wearables forward.

That means we're predicting a big increase in the market for gadgets that measure and track what we do, how we behave, and how healthy we are. Think stress management, exercise tracking and sleep monitoring.

3. Everyone catches up with mobile

According to Ofcom statistics, 58% of UK residents access the internet via mobile devices. Yet many business websites still fail to cater for the smaller screens of smart phones and tablets.

There's no sign of this trend reversing in 2015, and so we think this will be the year when responsive web design becomes the norm.

If you're redesigning your website, either by doing it yourself or working with an agency, make sure you think about how you cater for mobile users.

If your website doesn't work properly on smart phones and other mobile devices then you could be excluding potential customers from your website.

4. We learn to live with security threats

The end of 2014 was marked by one of the highest-profile IT security incidents in history. The Sony Pictures hack included A-list names, embarrassing revelations and political intrigue. It was a reporter's dream.

But while it might have made a good story, it was just one in a long line of security breaches that made the news. Thousands of others didn't.

The online battles between hackers, security companies and government agencies are take place largely out of sight. But as online criminals become more sophisticated, they're beginning to target individual organisations and people rather than relying on brute-force attacks.

We think this shift will make 2015 the year businesses start thinking about security in everything they do – and get better at taking precautions to minimise the risks.

Blog written by John McGarvey, editor of the IT Donut.

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