It’s usual at this time of year for journalists to make predictions – something I’ve tended to avoid as a fool’s game beset by needless optimism, over-excitement or the patently obvious. But for 2015, I’ll make an exception and offer one forecast as a counterpoint to some of the hyperbole you will no doubt have come across.
My prediction is this: nothing much particularly different will happen in technology in 2015.
Yeah, I know, a bit dull. Sorry.
We will continue to hear a lot about the buzzwords we heard a lot about in 2014 – cloud, mobile, big data, digital, internet of things, wearable technology – all of which are at different stages of adoption and maturity, and all of which will continue their merry progress along those paths.
The giant Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week was dominated by announcements related to the internet of things (IoT), but nothing that is going to break through into the mainstream this year. Wearables will get plenty of headlines, particularly when the Apple Watch goes on sale, but aside from the inevitable Apple fanboys and early adopter geeks, it’s not going to set the world alight yet – the form factor is too unproven.
Cloud adoption will continue to grow – as it continued to grow in 2014. Mobile will continue to expand in enterprise IT, as it did last year. Big data will still be big, but mostly for the big companies with big budgets. More companies – and government bodies – will come to realise their future is digital, and wend their way in that direction at varying rates of change. But these are all journeys that are well underway, and are mostly unstoppable trends now.
Having said all that, we are on the cusp of something very big. Not this year, I suspect, but starting in 2016, and then progressing over the subsequent two or three years, such that in 2020 we will look back on this five-year period as a dramatic time of change – the time the digital revolution really accelerated.
Today, we’re still waving red flags in front of motor cars to warn passers-by, in terms of where we are in that revolution. But the digital equivalent of the Ford Model T is very close. It needs cloud to gather more trust, mobile to be more secure, data to be better protected, and the internet of things to commoditise. It needs digital skills to be more widely available, and companies to be confident enough in the economy to invest again in innovation – although many will not, and will fall by the wayside as a result, including some very big names.
So spend 2015 doing what you’re doing, but in the process take a deep breath and get ready, because the inevitable, unstoppable and dramatic acceleration of the digital age is getting very close.