7 IT developments to watch in 2015

Just like every year before it, 2015 promises a number of exciting new technology developments that will transform business and personal life alike. This week James Kimbley predicts the top 7 issues to watch in the coming months.

1. Email still will not die

Analysts have been predicting the imminent death of email for many years, and with the advent of social media tools, many believed that moment had arrived. But the reality is that email is alive, well and reproducing at a phenomenal rate. 

The Email Statistics Report published by the Radicati Group suggests that 191.4 billion email messages were sent every day during 2014, a figure expected to rise to 196.4 billion this year. Radicati also predict an increase of 3% year on year until at least 2017. Going by these statistics, 2015 will actually be email’s most successful year ever. Until next year anyway.

Clients, especially Gmail, will get better over the next few months and years at surfacing important emails at just the right time for when you need to see it. Your inbox will become automated as systems learn more about you. Making manual inbox management a thing of the past.

2. Google Glass will die...

Google has finally announced that their revolutionary head-mounted wearable computer “Glass” is set to move out of the company’s research labs with immediate effect. The Glass project has been passed to the Nest product team for now.

Early comments by Google suggest that they are building a second, refined version of Glass, but whether this ever sees production or not is debatable. The lack of wide public interest and volume of ridicule heaped on the initial release suggest, to me at least, that Glass is dead outside some very specific niches, like surgery.

3. …but wearable tech will thrive

The demise of Glass is not reflected in the wider wearables market however. Fitness trackers continue to grow in popularity, and the fledgling smartwatch category is also showing signs of life. The release of the Apple Watch in April will almost certainly result in a massive burst of consumer interest, at least for the first few weeks that the device is available.

Whether this growth goes on to become a long-term trend depends on the actual applications of the technology however. Patchy or poor app provision at launch could see some wearables relegated to the “not sure what the point of it is” category. Watch this space.

4. Facebook at Work will be massive

Despite some tech journalist’s sneers, Facebook at Work will be massive. Boasting 890 million active daily users Facebook already has the accounts and details required to deploy corporate social networks. Better yet, employees already know how to use the platform, negating the need for training. And then there are the massive improvements in the algorithms Facebook uses to surface relevant content, adding additional value to the user’s experience.

Faced with the choice between a costly, unfamiliar alternative (like SalesForce) and a solution like Facebook for Business, the choice isn't hard.

5. Tablets will become less important

After several years of healthy growth, sales of tablets have started to decline. Large form smartphones (‘phablets’) have been eating into the tablet market as many consumers decide they would prefer a large screen device that fits into their pocket. This coupled with longer replacement buying cycles will result in a marked decline during 2015. The tablet is not dead, but its importance will definitely diminish this year.

6. Drones will take off

2015 will see drones move from being remote-controlled instruments of death, to an affordable business asset. 

Consider the roofing contractor who would normally need a ladder or scaffolding tower in order to inspect and price a job. This year he will be able to purchase a relatively inexpensive drone that allows him to film the site remotely without ever having to take himself off the ground. 

I fully expect to see drones taking over tasks like this during 2015.

7. Apple Watch will be disappointing

Finally early reports suggest the Apple Watch will only have a battery life of a few hours. Which if true makes it useless out of the box. However, I highly doubt these reports. Releasing a watch with only a few hours battery life would be unthinkable.

I do think the concept  of the Apple Watch is wrong when compared to Android Wear. A watch has always been a notification device. It’s always notified you of the time and date. Android Wear adds to this by notifying you about Emails, Calendar appointments, directions and whole lot more. Apple on the other hand seem to be bringing apps to the watch - running full apps on the watch. Duplicating what your phone is for. I feel this is wrong. A watch should be a notification device - like it always has been - just with rich notifications.

So these are my top 7 technology predictions for 2015. What are yours? Leave them in the comments below.

James Kimbley