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2015 will be the year when mobile begins to impact almost everything

by Nitin Dahad

The ubiquity of mobile communications has the potential to impact almost every part of society and industry sector. Mobile can enable digital inclusion, cut costs in public health services, save lives, feed more starving people, educate more children, enable more efficient delivery of public services, help reduce carbon emissions and improve living environments through smart and connected cities. The list goes on – and the industry has been talking about connected devices and the internet of things for years.

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Photograph courtesy of ARM

So it is no surprise that many of the technology predictions for 2015 feature mobile or mobile apps as the platform for delivery. This week’s 2015 International CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas is testament to that, with a strong focus on mobile, the internet of things (as well as 3D printing and drones this year, plus the customary latest television tech). In recent years, the show has almost become the default pre-cursor and preview to the big Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona in March.

The 2015 CES event press release issued before the show does in fact focus, yet again, on the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) – stating it will feature the largest ever showcase of products, services and technologies that make up the IoT, with more than 900 exhibitors planning to share innovations utilizing networks to connect everyday devices. Karen Chupka, senior vice president, International CES, and corporate business strategy, CEA said, “It’s all about the opportunity to connect everyday items  like cars, home security systems and kitchen appliances to networked devices like PCs and smartphones for greater control and management of our everyday lives.”

At the CES show, this will include the ‘Sensors Marketplace’, a key technology enabling the IoT. In addition, the ‘Smart Home Marketplace’ will showcase a smarter, more efficient home accelerated by smartphones and tablets interacting with a myriad of connected objects and devices, from basic security systems to connected lighting systems.

Mobile predictions for 2015

There are many predictions for 2015. Gartner talks about a merger of the real world with the physical world, with computing everywhere, the IoT and 3D printing. The forecast, published last October, says as mobile devices proliferate, there will be an increased emphasis on serving the needs of the mobile user in diverse contexts and environments, as opposed to focusing on devices alone.

According to Duncan Clark of Netbiscuits, we’ll see a positive trend towards larger and foldable screens; super batteries will be a key focus, and a closer integration of technology into our daily lives through wearables. Video consumption on the mobile will also grow sharply, and the use of gesture control technology will increase. In addition, the proliferation of big data from mobile will mean increased and better analytics, which may also require human intuitive analysis to unlock full value from the data.

The battle for wearable technology is also part of the top 15 mobile predictions for 2015 presented by Mastercard at Mashable.  As with other reports, connected environments – with expansion of the IoT footprint, enabling the connected home, integrated mobile in automotive and into other environments are also featured.  Health and nutrition monitoring will expand in 2015, with mobile and wearable devices generating and tracking real-time data regarding personal health parameters— such as blood glucose levels, sleep quality, and other data points critical to health.

With multi-screen becoming more of a norm, the screen-agnostic experience will grow, with seamless content/context transfer across devices. Sravish Sridhar, founder and CEO of Kinvey, says, “Apps are increasingly becoming experiences that live across multiple endpoints — from wearables to phones, tablets, and web applications.” As a result, products and apps that can seamlessly transfer between these different devices and states as users move from one to another will have a significant advantage.

Given the sponsor of the report, it talks about mobile payments growing both as a local phenomenon as well being part of a global mobile payment ecosystem. Businesses will also deploy mobile-first strategies, to enable staff to keep working whatever devices they might be using.

Looking to the mobile future

Taking this a step further than 2015, the Mobile World Congress will feature 4YFN (Four years from now). This event is an international program presented by Mobile World Capital Barcelona and GSMA that brings together the best mobile start-ups and entrepreneurs with investors, accelerators, incubators and corporations from the mobile ecosystem. 4YFN will host talks, interactive workshops, an exhibition and enable networking opportunities for over 5,000 attendees from 70 countries, featuring strands on ‘disrupted by mobile’, ‘internet of things’, and ‘digital media’.

In summary, we’ve written and talked about the proliferation of mobile for many years. But 2015 is likely to be a year when mobile will truly be a driver of potentially positive change for almost all technology and non-technology industries.

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