Game Changers 2015

The Eight Biggest “Things” of this Year

When I started writing this post I was looking for the term that best described the things I believe will be game changers in 2015. Were they words? Sort of. Terms? Maybe. Concepts? To some degree although I don’t think Apple or Google would appreciate being called concepts. Companies? Some were but not all. So lacking a specific term I opted for “things”.  And heretofore are the eight things that will make the news, impact your life and make a difference in 2015.

  1. The Internet of Everything (IoE) or The Internet of Things (IoT) – For such a grand term to be so misunderstood is actually pretty impressive. Believe it or not and in spite of over a half a billion results in a Google search, there is no Wiki page for this term. You can try and create one if you want. So what the hell is “The Internet of Everything?” It’s all the rage at CES and Samsung’s Chief said it’s time has come.  The Business Insider describes it as: “The age of Internet ubiquity…. The world is moving beyond standalone devices into a new era where everything is connected.” And if you consider yourself as part of everything, that would mean you too. We’ll all soon be connected to our cars, homes, appliances, work, family and favorite sports teams 24/7. And while you might feel that way now, give it a year.
  2. Apple – Steve Jobs saw the future. The fact that he’s no longer with us in body doesn’t mean his mind or spirit have left this plane. His vision, the one that saw computers shrunk down to the size of mini-marshmallows, still drives Apple. Tim Cook and his group will continue to turn out products that deliver friends, information and entertainment to you in high-def and high-speed. You will continue to consume Apple products and competitors will try to replicate them. And they will continue to change the way we all live. Next up is the Apple iWatch. And after that Apple will figure out how to addict people to Beats and Jimmy Iovine will figure out how to convince musicians to produce music specifically for distribution across Apple’s platform. That’s it’s checklist for 2015. Stand by.
  3. Google – OK, Google Glass was a misfire; they’ve had their fair share. But that’s all part of the risk-reward equation that this company continues to finagle. There’s neither the time nor space to list everything Google is working on here. But click on this link to be amazed – and a little bit frightened at the same time.
  4. Disney – They’ve got a mash-up of companies that go well beyond motion picture production and include Pixar, ABC and ESPN (the only effective, live broadcast content anymore)  Lucasfilm, the theme parks and the cruise lines. This kind of diversity has been a burden in the last decade or so and has proven to be the death of some large conglomerates. But Disney stock was one of the best performing of all the studios and if any company can figure out how to synthesize these different assets and leverage these diverse entertainment platforms, Disney can.
  5. SEO & SEM – The acronyms for Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing will finally replace the more abstract terms of “communications” and “marketing”. Because that’s what SEO and SEM are and it’s what they do. For all but a handful of consumer companies that still allocate big chunks of their marketing budgets for traditional media, SEO is the only affordable way to find, connect to and influence customers. Whether it’s done with nothing more than blogs, post, pins and updates across social media sites or with Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram ads, – SEO and SEM will supplant the terms communications and marketing in 2015.
  6. Haptic Technology – When I Googled this term I got 774,000 results. To put that in perspective, “The Internet of Everything” returns 698,000,000, “Apple” nets 1,470,000,000 and “Google” generates 6,730,000,000 hits. So by comparison, this term is a spec in the search universe. Dig deeper on the Haptic Technology results page and you find articles and references that range in date from 2003 to 2010. So what makes this such a big deal? Well, according to Raymond Keifer, GM safety expert who helped design the automaker’s vibrating seats (they’re a warning device), “[Y]our skin…is an underused channel. This is the way to cut through all the visual and auditory clutter.” That relatively uncluttered space when take in conjunction with the launch of the Apple Watch and it’s bevy of haptic technologies, would seem to indicate that this concept is about to boom.
  7. Big Data – This is another term that gets bantered about in public but is still Greek to all but the biggest techies. And that’s because most small businesses and companies don’t have the need for all this data or the people to leverage it. But it is still being collected every time you visit a Website, click on a link or buy a product. The things that your grocery store learns about you and your habits every time you swipe your loyalty card are mind-boggling. So just because you don’t get it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t get you.
  8. 4 K – This is the resolution everyone is talking about again at CES  this year.  Four thousands pixels wide and about half that many high on our new digital viewing platforms.  It’ll require an even more robust and rich image which means it will eventually do to Hi-Def what Hi-Def did to Standard Def.  We’ll need bigger TVs, Retina displays and the bandwidth to move all those pixels.  It’s arrival has been promised for years but this year it gets traction.

Nothing on this list should really surprise anyone.  Disney and Haptic Tech may be a bit of a stretch but otherwise what was really big in 2014 should get even bigger in 2015. Most of us were beneficiaries of all these “things” and I expect that to continue. This year won’t be about how much things change but rather how fast. We’ll notice that more; we’ll just have to wait and see what it all means.

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