Five disruptive tech trends for 2015 and beyond

Tech trends that will shape the way we work and live

In a couple of months we’ll be saying our goodbyes to 2014 and welcoming a new year.

What will 2015 and the next five years hold for your business? Will the Internet of Things that we read about so often these last few months begin to deliver on its promises? Will drones and smart machines take over our jobs?

Here’s a brief look into at least five technology trends that are poise to create an impact on how we work and live our lives in the near future. Technology research and advisory firms Forrester Research and Gartner Inc. also provides some advice on how you should prepare your organization to weather and even thrive in these coming changes.


The digital experience directive


In its recent top technology trend report, Forrester stressed that providing satisfactory digital experience to customers will increasingly become crucial for business.

“A great digital experience is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a make-or-break point for your business as we more fully enter the digital age,” the report said. As digital technologies become more integrated into our lives, a customer’s digital engagement is prompting many businesses to recognize that “software is the brand.”


IT turns into a service broker

IT continues to lose its control over its traditional dominion as business departments gain more influence over business information platforms, applications and tools. This is occurring at a faster phase as new class of users demands more user-friendly and self-service features. For example, as mobility becomes a strategic imperative for the whole company it leads to “various functional leaders wresting control away from IT,” according to Forrester.

In order to thrive in this new environment, IT has to transform into a “technology service broker.” IT’s focus will include: solution development to provide mobile, cloud and big data solutions; managing software lifecycle. IT also needs to alter its management focus from projects to products and change it project success metrics to focus on value, capacity and time-to-market rather than time, cost and resources.


Robots are on the march

Social media and mobile technologies are altering consumer behaviour to the extent that pretty soon “refrigerators will order groceries, robots will have them collected and drones will deliver them to your door, eliminating the need for grocery clerks and delivery drivers,” according to Gartner.

The research firm predicts the new digital business environment will profoundly change business processes along with the employment demographics and the need for higher competencies both for the consumer and the providers across all industries.

By 2018, digital companies will require 50 per cent less business process works 500 per cent key digital business job. Gartner warns that by the end of 2016 50 per cent of digital transformation initiatives will be unmanageable because of a shortage of portfolio management skills. For many businesses this could mean loss of market share.


Mobile everything will be the thing

More powerful smartphones and tablets, and the correspondingly rich and powerful applications available for each, will enable consumers and business customers to interact seamlessly with companies, content and commerce experiences at virtually all stages of the purchase process, according to Gartner.

Gartner predicts a renewed interest in mobile payment in 2015 partly due to the introduction of things like Apple Pay and the near field communication enabled Google wallet. Usability, functionality and security will be key concerns for device and solution developers.

Customers will demand that’s service providers and retailers “deliver on expectation of connected and channel-agnostic commerce experiences,” said Gartner.


3D printing

Consumers’ appetite for more control over product features and capabilities will manifest itself in the growing popularity of 3D printing (3DP), according to Gartner.

“Almost every single durable goods category will see a surge in 3DP-enabled personalization and manufacturers will develop capabilities for bringing the consumer closer to the design experience,” Gartner said. “The companies that set the strategy early will end up defining the space within their categories.”

Gartner predicts that by 2015, 90-per cent of durable goods e-tailers will look for partnerships that support the new “personalized” product business model. By 2017, 20 per cent of durable good e-tailers will use 3D printing to create personalized product offerings.

(Image of fripp design noses courtesy of


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Nestor Arellano
Nestor Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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