Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

2015 Tech Trends from the Future Today Institute (formerly Webbmedia Group Digital Strategy)


Published on

At the end of each year, the Future Today Institute (formerly Webbmedia Group Digital Strategy) applies our FuturePrint Trend- spotting Framework to surface the most important emerging trends in digital media and technology for the year ahead. This 2015 Trend Report offers 55 key insights representing the immediate trends that we think will matter most in the coming year.

Published in: Technology, Business
  • If u need a hand in making your writing assignments - visit ⇒ ⇐ for more detailed information.
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • I’ve personally never heard of companies who can produce a paper for you until word got around among my college groupmates. My professor asked me to write a research paper based on a field I have no idea about. My research skills are also very poor. So, I thought I’d give it a try. I chose a writer who matched my writing style and fulfilled every requirement I proposed. I turned my paper in and I actually got a good grade. I highly recommend ⇒ ⇐
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Many thanks to your team at Gov-Auctions. Your information was current and very helpful. Keep up the good work you guys. Learn more... ☞☞☞
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • If you’re struggling with your assignments like me, check out ⇒ ⇐. My friend sent me a link to to tis site. This awesome company. After I was continuously complaining to my family and friends about the ordeals of student life. They wrote my entire research paper for me, and it turned out brilliantly. I highly recommend this service to anyone in my shoes. ⇒ ⇐.
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • ⇒ ⇐ is a good website if you’re looking to get your essay written for you. You can also request things like research papers or dissertations. It’s really convenient and helpful.
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here

2015 Tech Trends from the Future Today Institute (formerly Webbmedia Group Digital Strategy)

  1. 1. 2015 TREND REPORT Disruptive technologies that will affect consumer behavior and impact your business strategy in the coming year. THE FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE
  2. 2. ABOUT THE FUTURE TODAY INSTITUTE The Future Today Institute is the leading digital strategy consulting firm for emerging technology advising in media, entertainment, advertising and technology companies, and for higher education, nonprofits and government. We research near-future trends in digital media and technology, and we develop business strategies to help our clients engage bigger audiences and capture more market share. In addition to our strategic advising services, we also offer a unique subscription to our trends research. Our subscription clients receive bespoke in-person presentations and custom trends reports each quarter. For those clients who want additional perspective, we follow quarterly trends presentations with an ideation session bringing your staff together with experts from outside your industry for fresh perspective and insights. For further information about this report and how the Future Today Institute can help your organization, please contact: Amy Webb Founder Future Today Institute Tel: +1-267-342-4300 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION At the end of each year, the Future Today Institute applies our FuturePrint Trend- spotting Framework to surface the most important emerging trends in digital media and technology for the year ahead. Our research follows three tracks: far-range trends (10 - 15 years ahead), near-future trends (3 - 10 years) and im- mediate trends (within the next 36 months). This 2015 Trend Report offers 55 key insights from the latter category, repre- senting the immediate trends that we think will matter most in the coming year. The Future Today Institute is vendor-neutral. While we do advise numerous companies, universities and R&D labs similar to those mentioned, we do not have a financial interest in any company in this report. Rather, they are organizations we’re following, and we have included them to illustrate our key insights. 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  4. 4. THE FUTUREPRINT METHODOLOGY The FuturePrint Trendspotting Framework is a tool we use with Future Today Institute clients. It helps us analyze consumer behavior, microeconomic trends, government policies, market forces and emerging research within the context of the continually evolv- ing tech and digital media ecosystem. We look for patterns and attributes that help us to identify a set of likely trends on the horizon. Our FuturePrint also includes a series of challeng- es. We evaluate each trend using a series of ques- tions to determine whether or not the trend we’ve identified will stick. As an additional check, we build future scenarios for those trends using a methodol- ogy we developed to identify the characteristics of continuing innovation. The final step of the FuturePrint is what we call the F.U.T.U.R.E. test, and it pressure-tests any ideas borne out of the trends we identify. The F.U.T.U.R.E test includes six key factors, assessing the Foun- dation of a project; its Uniqueness; the metrics that will be used to Track its success; its Urgency within the marketplace; the probability it can/ will be Re- calibrated; and a system that encourages Extensi- bility, given the number of ongoing variables within digital media and technology. Often, the most important trends arise from seem- ingly unconnected dots. The FuturePrint helps us connect the dots as we create essential digital strategy for our clients. Our FuturePrint helps reveal near-future scenarios so that our clients can devel- op creative ideas to overcome current challenges or problems that will be caused by what’s to come. We use it to develop new ways to gain and engage audience, to stop the erosion of marketshare, and to pivot entirely if an emerging technology stands to wipe out a longstanding business. This year, our FuturePrint has revealed 55 trends. The next section explains how you can use the Future Today Institute’s annual Trend Report within your own organization. 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  5. 5. HOW TO USE THE 2015 TREND REPORT Our 2015 Trend Report explains how your organization should act in the coming year. Our annual Trend Report helps to ensure that your organization is better positioned to fend off near-future business disruption and competitive threats, while simultaneously identifying new collaborators and partners. Most importantly, it should spark new ideas and opportunities to help your organization innovate and grow. Explaining why these trends matter. Rather than simply offering an overview of the trends we think will matter in 2015, our annual report takes the additional step of explaining why and how these trends will impact your organization. In some cases, you will see very specific use cases and descriptive illustrations, so that you can more clearly envision the potential outcomes of these trends during the next 12 months. 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  6. 6. HOW TO USE OUR REPORT Each trend offers five important pieces of information. We recommend using our 2015 Trends Report as part of your organization’s ongoing strategic digital assessment and planning process. The Future Today Institute advises numerous organizations on digital trends using a cross-disciplinary approach. In addition to this annual report, our clients receive a monthly list of the up-and-coming founders, startups, apps, com- panies and partnerships that will create opportunities and/ or challenges within and across industries. As we keep our clients abreast of changes in the digital media space, we engage them in ideation and discussion to launch ex- periments, test new ideas and develop practical strategies for the future. If you are interested to learn more about how the Future Today Institute can advise your organization on critical changes in digital media and disruptive technologies, please contact our office. Key Insight Short, easy explanation of this trend so that you can internalize it and discuss with your colleagues. Examples Real-world use cases, some of which will sound familiar. What’s Next What this trend means for you and your business in the coming year. Watchlist Notable companies, founders and researchers working in this trend space. Years On The List We’ve noted how many years we’ve been tracking the trend, even as it has evolved. 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  7. 7. KEY INSIGHT At its essence, an algorithm is simply a set of rules or processes that must be followed in order to solve a problem. For thousands of years (Euklid’s algorithm is 2,500 years old!) algo- rithms have been used to increase speed and efficiencies, and they’ve been applied to assist with our everyday tasks. In the coming year, we’ll see the launch of services using algorithms to create stunning designs, to curate the news and even to target voters for individual mes- saging in close political districts. We’ll see the rise of public algorithm exchanges. We will also begin questioning the ethics of how algorithms can be used, and we’ll scrutinize the tendency of some algorithms to go awry. ALGORITHMSFirst year on the list Project Dreamcatcher from Autodesk Algorithmic Design Project Dreamcatcher from Autodesk is the next wave of computational design systems. While it doesn’t replace a designer herself, it does give her the ability to feed a project’s de- sign requirements, constraints and exemplars into Dreamcatcher, whose algorithm will then return possible design concepts. If you’ve ever been in a meeting when a few people offer up an app they’d like to emulate, while others prefer a different user interface, algorithmic design systems can take the best of both, combine them into one and then help you refine the favored design. 01 - 04 01 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  8. 8. Algorithm Marketplaces Long ago, developers realized that everyone wins when knowledge is freely exchanged. As a result, communities of developers are offering up their algorithms in emerging algorithm marketplaces. Algorithmia is building a sort of Amazon for algorithms, where developers can upload their work to the cloud and receive payment when others pay to access it. DataXu offers a marketplace for its proprietary algorithms. Meantime Github, the code sharing network started by Linux creator Linus Torvalds, will continue to grow. ALGORITHMSFirst year on the list Algorithmic Curation Algorithmic curation is a process that automatically determines what content should be displayed or hidden and how it should be present- ed to your audience. Facebook’s NewsFeed already uses an algo- rithm to curate all the posts created in your network to serve only the content it thinks will engage you most. It has deployed a new service, FB Techwire, across its network to surface embeddable news sto- ries for media organizations. Google and Yahoo news will continue to refine their algorithms, which use our online behaviors to deter- mine which content to show. In 2016 and beyond, we expect to see algorithms curating news content not just based on our interests, but also for our most recent behavior. Rather than delivering a full breaking news story to our mobile phones, algorithms will deliver the “waiting in line at Starbucks” version of that story, a more in-depth longread to our tablets, and a video version of that story once we’re in front of our connected TVs. As a result, news organizations and other content producers have thrilling opportunities in the year ahead to supercharge and personalize content in ways we have never seen before. (See also: Consumer > Device.) Facebook’s new curation tool surfaces embeddable news stories for media organizations Algorithm Ethics and Oversight Algorithms promise power and efficiency– but they can also cause significant damage when left unchecked. The biggest change in algorithms since Euklid’s time is that we are adding in subjective judgements to al- gorithms and allowing them to show us an- swers. We are increasingly misclassifying objects, data, and...people. There are numer- ous stories of algorithms wrongly identifying terrorism suspects at airports. High frequen- cy trading algorithms once nearly destroyed the stock market. A glitch in Amazon’s algo- rithm caused the price of “The Making of a Fly: The Genetics of Animal Design” to spike to $26,698,655.93. In 2015, we will discuss how to include an accountability system for algorithms. 02 04 03 01 - 04 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  9. 9. Examples Most of the 2014 SVPA apps have now been acquired. In fact, some were only on the mar- ket for a few weeks. Emu was acquired by Google, Donna was acquired by Yahoo, Cue was acquired by Apple...and the list goes on. When it was still active, Emu was a clever stand-in for a personal secretary. It would monitor the conversation and automatically make suggestions as two people texted. If you asked your friend to see a movie, Emu would immediately geolocate both of you, suggest a nearby theater and show films and times, then check your calendars for your availability. It would even display a pre- view for you to watch. Once it determined the best time for you to meet, it would help you purchase tickets and enter all the data into your calendar. And it did all of this inside a single mobile application. SVPA technology is growing more powerful and will be included in services and products offered by a number of familiar companies. Amazon has launched Echo, which will assist you in your living room. What’s Next Marketers, credit card companies, banks, local government agencies (police, highway administration), political campaigns and many others can harness SVPAs to both deliver critical information – and to better read and understand constituents. One company on our 2013 trends list, Expect Labs, has just transitioned its beta MindMeld app into an intelligent SVPA interface for any app, device or website to use. Watchlist Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Expect Labs, Key Insight SVPAs made our list last year because they were just beginning to enter the market as stand-alone mobile apps. (Others call this technology “predictive applications” or “predictive intelligence.”) They used semantic and natural language processing, mined data from our calendars, email and contact lists and used the last few minutes of our behavior to anticipate the next 10 seconds of our thinking in order to help consumers manage daily tasks, finances, diet and more. In 2015, we will see SVPA technology become a key part of emerging platforms and devices. Amazon’s Echo is an SVPA for the living room. SMART VIRTUAL PERSONAL ASSISTANTS (SVPAS)05 Second year on the list 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  10. 10. Examples In his seminal 1950 paper, computer scientist Alan Turing asked “Can machines think?” Ac- cording to IBM, the answer is yes. And pret- ty soon, faster than humans. IBM’s cognitive computing platform Watson is best known for eviscerating the reigning human Jeop- ardy champions in 2011. Prepare to hear a lot about Watson in 2015. IBM hasn’t built a clev- er computer gimmick, it’s built a revolutionary cognitive computing platform capable of learning, adapting and proposing solutions to ex- tremely difficult problems. Hos- pitals are using Watson to advise on seemingly impossible cases. Watson will be built into custom- er service workflows, to learn about our individual needs and respond with exactly the right in- formation when we need it. What’s Next IBM is now developing advanced data-cen- tric supercomputing systems that will embed compute power everywhere data resides in a system, which means a convergence of analytics, modeling, visualization, and simu- lation, and driving new insights at very fast speeds1 . In 2014, it announced the SyNapse chip, which processes information using a network of more than one million “neurons” that communicate via a system of electrical spikes. In other words, just like our brains. New Research shows robots transitioning from basic computational or productivity assistants to machines capable of creating unique forms of music or even evolving an entirely new language. We expect to see Watson’s cognitive computing power contin- uing to inspire developers and data scientists alike, who will begin to adapt this technol- ogy in a wide variety of ways in 2015. One possibility: Watson could be a boon for those working with difficult customers who can list the many, many things they dislike but can never articulate exactly what they do want. COGNITIVE COMPUTINGThird year on the list Key Insight This trend evolved from a key idea in our trend 2013 report: anticipatory computing. Cognitive computing systems use natural language processing and artificial intelligence in order to understand our intentions. Watchlist IBM 1 IBM’s Watson is a cognitive computing platform. 06 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  11. 11. Examples Artificially intelligent computers are now capable of deep learning using neural net- works. In 2011, a Stanford professor cre- ated a neural network that could identify cats in photos after just watching YouTube videos—even though no one had told the network what a “cat” was. Towards the end of 2014, Google researchers unveiled a new project that uses neural networks and deep learning to identify multiple elements of a scene without hu- man assistance. Its software “learned” how to think by processing vast quanti- ties of data. For example, previous- ly Google could only identify that a photo contained a frisbee. In its lat- est experiment, it correctly wrote a caption: “a group of young people playing a game of frisbee.” (In the past few years, Google has been acquiring image recognition teams and patents including PittPatt, DNNRsch and Viewdle.) What’s Next Deep learning isn’t just restricted to Goog- le. Microsoft has its own image-describing platform, COCO. Facebook is using deep learning to make inferences about our photos and about our intentions. Binatex is a deep learning trading and investment firm. Qual- comm is developing neuromorphic chips, which have been used in robots to help them recognize objects they haven’t seen before, or navigate themselves to a new location. Deep learning is still a young field, but in 2015 this early experimentation will begin to lay the groundwork for all that’s to come. Internet searching will be aided by deep learn- ing. So will we humans, via hyper-personalized content. DEEP LEARNINGFirst year on the list Key Insight Experimental, brain-inspired systems are capable of translating pixels into English. Google’s experiment identified the objects in this photo, captioning it: Two pizzas... Watchlist Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Baidu, Stanford, University of Toronto, Singular- ity University, UCLA, UC - Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, NSA, Qualcomm 07 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  12. 12. Ultraprivate Phones Consumers are increasingly wary of their mobile phones and the vast amount of data carried on them. In 2015, we will see new mobile services aimed at easing that anxiety. The Black- phone and the technology running it (which the Future Today Institute covered extensively at the Online News Association’s annual conference in 2014) is a smartphone that effectively blocks out any potential eavesdroppers. It’s a joint venture of Silent Circle, a private and encrypted network, and a Spanish handset manufacturer. Another entrant, Open Whisper Systems, is offering encryption system for Android calls and is the tool used to encrypt pop- ular messaging service WhatsApp. Passwords There isn’t a company or industry unaffected by password leaks and hacking. Dropbox and Snapchat were in the news for breaches in 2014, but large corporations are vulnerable, too. Adobe famously allowed 150 million passwords to be retrieved by hackers. Late 2014, the U.S. State Department’s entire unclassified email system had to be shut down because of a system breach, causing a wave of frustration as staffers had no easy way to communicate with each other or between embassies. Password protection requires multiple levels of su- pervision by both the user and the service provider. We expect to see providers demanding two or three-factor authentication requirements in 2015. For example, Twitter will roll out Digits, a stand-alone service to manage access to other applications. Just like WhatsApp, Digits will send a confirmation code via text message that’s good for just one use. Meantime, a startup called Nymi will offer three-factor authentication: your heartbeat, an authorized device and a wristband. Encrypted email and keys, previously reserved for the hacker and intelligence community, will become more mainstream. PRIVACYThird year on the list KEY INSIGHT Ongoing breaches have continued to dismantle the public trust. According to a Pew Internet and Society poll,1 91% of Americans surveyed either agreed or strongly agree that consumers have lost control of their personal information and data. Whether it’s fear of a third party monitoring our mobile phone activity or concern about the safety of online transactions, peo- ple are increasingly concerned about their privacy. 1 The Blackphone is a smartphone that effectively blocks out any potential eavesdroppers. Encryption Management In 2013 and 2014, companies like Target and Home Depot had troves of credit card data stolen. Surprisingly, many companies had not been encrypting their data. To be sure, encrypting data makes it harder to hack, but also harder for staff or consumers to make legitimate use out of it. In 2015, companies will pour resources into shoring up their dig- ital security. Those who don’t stand to lose multiple millions of dollars. 08 - 14 08 10 09 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  13. 13. Ownership As we continue to upload troves of per- sonal data to social networks, photos and video sharing sites, wearable services and elsewhere, we will continue to question who owns the rights to our data. Until that debate is settled, some companies are building cre- ative platforms around our data. For exam- ple, Pixlee is a service that mines customer data and the photos we post on social me- dia–and shares that information with retailers, who can repurpose product photos on their sites. The platform helps companies identify and surface photos for their websites. PRIVACYThird year on the list Anonymity Anonymity is one of the digital trends we’ve been tracking at the Future Today Institute for the past 24 months. Popular anonymous content sharing apps Whisper, Secret and Yik Yak have collectively secured more than $100m in venture funding at a more than $500m valuation. They’ve also met harsh criticism for allowing cyber-bullying and for failing to prove that users real identities really are being protected. There are a number of new entrants to the anonymous content market. While we do not think that anonymous networks will survive as is into the future, our research shows an opportunity and need in 2015 for digital trust systems allowing comments to be cloaked but the commenters to be verified. Private Networks In 2014, Snapchat’s popularity revealed our desire to send deeply private messages to each other–as well as our desperation to protect the content we share, once it was revealed that Snapchat photos had been intercepted by hackers. A new crop of private social networks will launch in 2015 that promise the highest levels of security ever seen. Users will still need to divulge names and email addresses (though for now, there is no verification check). One to watch: MeWe, which offers private social networking and file sharing. Digital Consent Lawyers could soon use our personal data against us in court. Fitbit data, processed through a third-party analytics tool, was used in a courtroom in late 2014, around the same time that the FTC began investigating Fitbit’s practice of selling users’ personal data to advertisers. Consumers are increasingly aware of how their wearable devices are collecting and poten- tially distributing personal information. Meantime, recent experiments at Facebook and on Harvard University’s campus have raised questions about collecting private data and sur- reptitiously surveilling our movements. In the coming year, we expect to hear more debates about what kind of studies constitute human-subject research and which ones simply violate our privacy. We will see growing demands for digital consent agreements and increased transparency. MeWe offers private social networking and file sharing. 08 - 14 11 12 13 14 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  14. 14. The Cloud By now, we are all well aware of security issues with data stored in the cloud. In response, on the one year anniversary of its first Snowden story, the Guardian unveiled its SecureDrop system, which allows whistle-blowers to share files without being tracked. Anyone who wants can now submit confidential documents and data to the Guardian’s reporters for investigation. We applaud this idea, which is one we recommended to the Future Today Institute’s publishing clients during 2013 and 2014. That being said, we have not seen other media organizations developing systems to securely transfer information or to encrypt their own data. Because of the Affordable Care Act, doctors must all convert to electronic medical records, which con- tain sensitive, private patient data. We’re also seeing a new crop of remote diagnostic tools, such as the Klara app, which sends photos of your skin to dermatologists. Financial services, government agencies, foundations and universities are all storing and transferring data on the cloud...but is it really safe? In 2015, we anticipate several new services and tools to launch which will enable users to securely exchange information. Malware Most businesses do not realize this, but ma- licious software (“malware” for short) can be sent to anything that plugs into a wall or an- other machine. Malware is starting to turn up in unusual places, like USB drives (while still unopened in manufacturer’s boxes) and home routers. Added attention to securing peripherals will be critical in 2015. Open Source App Vulnerabilities In 2014, we saw two devastating breach- es in open-source projects: Heartbleed and Shellshock. Hackers exploited vulnerabilities that had existed for years but had been left unchecked and full of bugs. Hackers know there is a probability that other dormant prob- lems exist. As open-source software, proto- cols and platforms become more ubiquitous, it will be critical to look for looming threats. Businesses, financial services groups, health- care organizations, government agencies and more must perform weekly–not occasional– security checks. SECURITYSecond year on the list KEY INSIGHT Lack of oversight and poor quality control led to significant cyber attacks in the past year. We predict more sophisticated attacks in 2015. Heartbleed was a devastat- ing security bug disclosed in 2014. Malicious software can be sent to anything that plugs into a wall or into another machine. 15 - 21 15 16 17 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  15. 15. Bounty Programs Because 2013 and 2014 were successful years for hackers, and because the coming year will bring an onslaught of new mobile technologies (and their payment systems), cybercrim- inals will target larger, more lucrative institutions: banks, financial institutions, universities, customer data repositories. Security expert Brian Krebs says that the “market for finding, stockpiling and hoarding (keeping secret) software flaws is expanding rapidly” and went so far as to advocate for a compulsory bounty program. In response, a number of white hat (read: good hacker) bug bounty programs are launching. HackerOne is being used by Ya- hoo, Slack, Twitter, Square and MailChimp. Friendly hackers hunt down potential vulner- abilities and get paid for their work. Portable Security It’s no secret that the lockboxes in hotel rooms are easily opened. Staff members have emergency keys, while keypads have been proven to unlock by simply entering en- tering 000000 as the passcode. DefenDoor will launch a portable lock in 2015, and it will work anywhere consumers want extra physi- cal security. It’s a lightweight gadget and app that includes a camera and accelerometer. It detects vibrations and motion, and will de- liver activity back to a mobile phone. It can be used on car windows for an alert if any- one tries to open it, outdoor gates to monitor package delivery, or even as an extra layer of protection on your hotel safe. It can’t protect you against intruders, but it will at least tell you who they were. Mesh Networks Mesh networks rely on bluetooth and WiFi rather than cellular infrastructure. As a result, a local peer-to-peer mesh network expands as more people use it. Mesh networks do not completely anonymize each user, however they obscure individual users as the network continually grows and shrinks. Mesh net- works can be used when the Internet goes down, since there is no centralized switch to turn off. In 2014, Firechat was used dur- ing protests in Iran, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Mesh networks offer a massive advantage during natural disasters and civic unrest: they might give people access to the Internet in countries with very little infrastructure. We expect to see experimentation in developing countries in the coming year. Dark Net In 2015, we expect to see ongoing, international pre-emptive strikes against dark net op- erations. In the past year, Silk Road 2, Hydra and Cloud 9 were all taken down, with their bitcoin accounts seized. Tor, which has been used by benevolent and malicious hackers alike (and was funded in part by the U.S. government), has been targeted recently. SECURITYSecond year on the list In 2015, we expect to see ongoing, international pre-emptive strikes against dark net operations. 15 - 21 18 19 21 20 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  16. 16. Examples Chris Hardwick, whose Nerdist podcast is now a mul- ti-platform show said1 : “Our culture is so niche-oriented now, you don’t need 3 million people to listen to your podcast. If 10,000 people listen, which isn’t a hard num- ber to achieve, then 10,000 people listen to your pod- cast. You can do something with that, you can build a community, and literally change the world, just recording into a recorder.” You can also make money. The CPM (cost per 1k impressions) for commercial radio ranges from $1-$15, but with a popular podcast it’s closer to $20 - $45. To be fair, there are potentially far more peo- ple listening to commercial radio at the moment, but our research favors podcasts to scale. Meantime, This. is a new kind of niche social network where each member of the community only gets to share one link a day. As of the end of 2014, it had a few hundred users with many more pining to get a coveted invite. Dozens of news- letters, including Media REDEF, have been backed by investors – even though comparatively they have smaller audiences. What’s Next There are similar communities ready for their own One- To-Few networks: political watchers, makers,  feminist activists, small business owners, IT lawyers and others who are trendsetters within their niche fields. Advertisers always want to see scale; yet it’s clear how badly con- sumers want to be a part of small, exclusive networks. There is opportunity in that tension. An influential network with 90%+ regular engagement speaks to attention, and that’s the metric that will matter most in the near future. Some brands are already beginning to abandon tradi- tional digital marketing for niche net- works. We believe it is possible for brands to have 1:1 conversations at scale, and for news organiza- tions to publish content as con- versations. We also see oppor- tunities for government agencies to chat in a personal, meaningful way with their communities. There will be lots of possibilities in 2015. ONE-TO-FEW PUBLISHINGFirst year on the list Key Insight Newsletters, podcasts and niche networks that captivate smaller audiences will make a comeback in 2015. Watchlist Jason Hirschorn and his REDEF group; This American Life; Serial; This. (from Andrew Golis); PRX; TinyLetter writers Rusty Foster (Today in Tabs), Alexis Madrigal (5IT), Ann Friedman (The Ann Friedman Weekly), Future To- day Institute’s Amy Webb (Electronic Interestingness) and Erin Griffith (Another Fucking Newsletter); newsletters from Quartz, Foreign Policy (FP Interrupted newsletter). 1 This. represents a new kind of niche social network where where each member of the community only gets to share one link a day. 22 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  17. 17. Examples Right now, many people throughout the world can stream live video, and they can participate in video conferences from virtually anywhere, anytime they want. Consumers are creators, uploading videos to social services such as Vimeo, Instagram and Vine. What’s Next Be on the lookout for something called We- bRTC. It’s the real-time communications technology powering Google Hangouts and Amazon’s Mayday video chat service. And it’s going to shake up the Internet as we know it today. Wifi is nearly as ubiquitous as our connected devices are now, and always-on, city-wide networks are being built every- where. That solves connectivity issues, but it doesn’t solve for the connection itself. There are too many steps in the process, and that’s what causes lag, band- width gobbling and consumer frustration. WebRTC works from the browser (Firefox or Chrome), and it’s part of one of the other trends we’re continuing to watch: connected machines. Rather than bridging computers to networks, which must route and relay infor- mation along various channels, WebRTC and similar peer-to-peer technologies help com- puters to talk to each other without obstruc- tion. This may seem like a subtle change in Internet architecture, but consider the implica- tions: you would no longer need a third-party operator, like Skype, to video conference with a friend. Games would load and play faster. Pandora and Spotify wouldn’t need to buffer. This technology would also allow the world’s biggest mobile network, WhatsApp, to incor- porate live video. VIDEOFourth year on the list Key Insight In 2014 we watched an unprecedented number – 38.2 billion in Q2 alone – of online videos. That’s more than 40% from the year previous. The majority were watched on smartphones. Unique monthly visits to video sites more than doubled, up 146% in a single year.1 YouTube and Facebook were the number one and two platforms respectively. What’s new for 2015 is speed and delivery. Watchlist Huawei, Telefonica, Hrvatski Telekom, Bouygues Telecom, OnSIP, Avaya, TokBox, Weemo, AudioCodes, Dialogic, Temasys, Twilio, Microsoft, Google, Cisco 1 Network overload prevented millions of fans from stream- ing the 2014 season premiere of Game of Thrones. 23 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  18. 18. Examples Robots harnessing neural networks and artifi- cial intelligence are already capable of making inferences and decisions when programmed to do so. In the next year, this technology will be brought to drones for research and com- mercialization. What’s Next Finland-based Sharper Shape is working to produce smart drones capable of making independent decisions while flying. The U.S. Navy is testing a fleet of drone bots that can function without human direction. In England, University of Sheffield engineers are developing a quad- coptor and robotic cameras to learn about its surround- ings as the unit flies. It can both navigate safely and seek out specific objects when asked. Micro-drones are on the horizon, too. These microbots can fly into tiny spaces to survey collapsed buildings or areas with hazardous ma- terials...and they can be that fly on the wall we’ve always wanted. To be sure, this is only the beginning of intelligent drones. It’s an ongoing trend that we will continue to mon- itor for the coming decade. INTELLIGENT DRONESSecond year on the list for drones Key Insight Drones are now available in an array of sizes and form factors, from lightweight planes and coptors to tiny, remote-controlled bugs. The upcoming crop of drones will have the ability to think and make inferences. Watchlist Sharper Shape, DARPA, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Navy, the U.S. Airforce, the University of Sheffield, the Micro Autonomous System Technologies (MAST) Group at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the General Robotics Automation Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. New drones have the ability to think and act on their own. 24 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  19. 19. Examples A few years ago, the Future Today Institute was introduced to a prototype at the MIT Media Lab. It was a camera that offered a new form of photography, femtophotography, which gave us the ability to see through walls. Bouncing light indirectly and reflecting off of walls con- structed a real-time 3D shape, which allowed us to see beyond the line of sight. Now, engi- neers at the University of Washington have developed a way to automatically track people as they move. Networked cameras can detect and follow specific faces as people move. In the future, we might overlay an animated ver- sion of our lives on top of real city streets in platforms like Google Earth. What’s Next This experimental technology will take more concrete form in 2015. Combined with facial and object recognition algorithms and artifi- cial intelligence, smart cameras will provide unprecedented security opportunities. They can also be used in our cars–which could bring us one big step closer to hybrid-auton- omous vehicles, where drivers could choose to take control of the wheel or allow the car to drive itself during stop-and-go traffic. This technology could be combined with maps, allowing us to see immersive, 3D scenes right from our phones. There will be more business opportunities for advertising, product testing and fan engagement at sporting events. INTELLIGENT CAMERASFirst year on the list Key Insight A new crop of intelligent cameras have the ability to communicate with each other, with ap- plications for the auto industry, cartography and immersive photography. Watchlist University of Washington, Camera Culture Research Group at the MIT Media Lab, Na- tional Instruments, Samsung, Electronic Frontier Foundation, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, University of Birmingham, Northeastern University, University of Arkansas Frames from a moving camera recorded by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, show how UW technology distinguishes among people by giving each person a unique color and number, then tracking them as they walk. 25 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  20. 20. Examples Storing and synching content on the cloud will mean starting to read a magazine story on your office computer, then picking back up where you left off on the elliptical machine at your gym–without ever using a device of your own. Just as email no longer requires a ded- icated device, neither will music, videos or other content in the near future. Our research shows a growing shift away from ownership in the content space. Rather than owning con- tent itself, users will instead want to own the playlist they’ve indexed in the cloud. What’s Next With each new year, we hear a lot of busi- nesses promising to replicate the success of new apps that shift customer behavior. In the past, we’ve seen startups saying they’re the “Pandora of X,” the “Uber of X” and the “Netflix of X.” Users want to find and save content to their own dedicated lists, but they also see recommendations. In 2015, we expect to see new con- tent upstarts promising that they are the “Spotify of News.” INDEXING THE CLOUDThird year on the list Key Insight The cloud is an effective, easy storage system that’s now available to anyone. What’s new for 2015: seamless content sharing and distribution between devices. This offers news, entertain- ment media, marketers, advertisers and other content creators a new opportunities. In 2015, we expect to see new content upstarts promising that they are the “Spotify of News.” Watchlist Watchup, Spotify, Amazon, Netflix, Oyster, Pandora, iHeartRadio, N3work, YouTube 26 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  21. 21. Examples Consumers increasingly demand immediacy and security. They want content to disappear, in part to prevent others from seeing in, but also to keep their streams and inboxes clean. Some brands, such as NowThisNews and Taco Bell, are finding success in ephemerality. What’s Next Instagram launched a Snapchat competi- tor–Bolt–in a few test countries at the end of 2014. It allows you to share disappearing photos between friends, but it also allows users to send disappearing texts. Meantime, Facebook is working on a feature that will allow users to auto-delete a post at a future date and time. Ephemeral networks can be harnessed for more than questionable pho- tos. There will be numerous business oppor- tunities in 2015: new uses for text-messag- ing, safer mobile payments, personal health test results, time-sensitive marketing materi- als and more can all benefit from encrypted ephemeral networks. EPHEMERALITYSecond year on the list Key Insight In 2014, we saw mass-market adoption of ephemeral networks such as Snapchat. In the coming year, ephemerality won’t be restricted to stand-alone apps, but will instead be built in to most of our existing messaging applications. Watchlist Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Google, Confide, WeChat, WhatsApp, Line, Stripe In 2015, Line will become one of the hottest messaging networks in the world. 27 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  22. 22. Examples You’ve no doubt heard about beacons, which are tiny devices that can be programmed to push (or receive) information to/from mobile phones. A new crop of beacons are now compatible for iOS and Android phones. The beacons themselves are tiny and can be programmed without lots of tech know-how. For example, Scheels, a giant sporting goods retailer in the Midwest, is using beacons to enhance its in-store experience. Consumers who install the Scheels app on their phones can interact with beacons to receive information, discount notifications and the like. But beacons also help the store and the brands they work with learn more about consumer behavior in real time. Beacons are located near particular products throughout the store, and they’re helping brands understand things like how many people have walked by a certain product, how long they stood next to the product, and the like. But the data goes two ways. In practice, this means that a company like Under Armour could potentially know how many women stood at their endcap and looked at a pair of their running well as how long they looked at the product. In theory, they could also pull in details from Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook to learn if that consumer had previously liked the Under Armour brand or saved any photos of Under Armour shoes. (Or their competitor’s shoes, for that matter.) If Under Armour has that kind of data to play with, it could target a consumer with custom messaging in real-time, while she’s interacting with the product. Meantime, in 2014 outdoor media company Titan hid hundreds of beacons all over pay phone booths throughout Manhattan, with the consent of NYC’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications but without the consent or knowledge of mobile phone users walking by. AMBIENT PROXIMITYSecond year on the list Key Insight New technologies can be programmed to push or receive information to/ from our mobile phones. Mobile users become part of an always-on information network. Watchlist Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, PayPal, Qualcomm, Swirl, GPShopper, MIT’s Media Lab, Estimote. Apple now uses iBeacon technology to assist with in-store product purchasing. What’s Next A new Internet protocol (IPv6) is emerging and will power our Internet of Things over WiFi, so that soon, everything we own will have its own unique identifier. Beacons won’t be necessary once our mobile phones have the ability to interact with any connected device, whether that’s a classroom blackboard or your car’s rear tires. However in the next 24 months, we expect to see new offerings from Paypal and Qualcomm, and to see increased use of bea- con technology in retail. 28 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  23. 23. Examples Virtual reality is a computer simulated envi- ronment. When tethered, VR is experienced wearing a pair of goggles, and it can stim- ulate sensations of being physically present in the scenes a user is viewing. VR can be experienced untethered as well, by slipping a mobile phone into a special mask. VIRTUAL REALITYSecond year on the list Key Insight In 2015, we will see some unusual suspects entering the VR space. We will see two main options in the coming year, tethered and untethered VR. Watchlist Oculus, Facebook, Google, Sony, Canon, Gannett, MIT Media Lab, Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s Virtual Reality Laboratory, University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering. Gannett is starting to experiment with Virtual Reality for long-form, nonlinear journalism. What’s Next Experiments now include pop stars (Paul McCartney), fi- nancial institutions (Fidelity), government diplomacy ex- perts and more. Gannett Digital has created an early news storytelling prototype using VR technology. There are a number of commercial VR products, including So- ny’s Morpheus, the Oculus Rift and Canon’s MRE- AL System, in addition to the numerous VR projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Combined with earables, tiny wireless speakers that both play music and track your bi- ometrics, a VR experience will soon include unobtrusive, immersive sound. We anticipate VR software getting bet- ter during the next year, speeding up motion sensors while decreasing visual lag. In 2015, Facebook, which acquired Oculus, will be experimenting internally with VR to learn more about ocular computing methods. They, like others in tech, want to build a computing environment that uses our eyes, not our fingers tapping on a keyboard. 29 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  24. 24. CONSUMER > DEVICEFirst year on the list Key Insight As computers, tablets and smartphones have evolved, media organizations, marketers and advertisers have adapt- ed their existing content for these constantly iterating devices to fit screens better. The unintended consequence of making sure that content fits the device is that the user and her individual needs are left behind. Watchlist Google Now is the closest to this scenario. The Future Today Institute’s illustration showing how to think about the consumer. Examples Storytelling is multidimensional. There are many variables to think about when crafting the digital version of news story, such as: where is the consumer right now and what is she doing? Is she at home, at work or in a new location? What types of content will be relevant for her, given a particular moment in time and her interests, activities and location at that moment? What’s Next We believe that content-driven organizations, whether they are news media or brands hoping to reach their individual customers, can gain significant market share in 2015 if they think about all of the possible story dimensions within the context of what the user is doing...rather than what device she’s holding. To make this work, we recommend developing strategies for aggressive versioning in 2015: content cre- ators can work alongside algorithms to repackage and syndicate dif- ferent versions to different devices depending on a user’s individual needs, given that those needs will change throughout her day. Any content provider must be able to answer the following questions: What’s the waiting in line at the coffee shop version of this story? What’s the running on a treadmill at the gym version of this story? What’s the sitting at work, ready to concentrate version of this story? 30 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  25. 25. Examples We’ve all been in this situation. We leave our mobile phones out on the table during dinner, glancing at it with each new push notification. We watch the latest episode of our favorite television show while posting our reactions on Twitter or Facebook. CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTIONFirst year on the list Key Insight Continuous partial attention, a term coined by former Apple and Microsoft executive Linda Stone, is not the same as multi-tasking. When we multi-task, we’re trying to be more pro- ductive and to accomplish more within a restricted amount of time. When we divide our attention among our screens, daily tasks and each other, we’re only paying partial attention to each person or thing. Watchlist Melon, Pavlok, Lumo Pavlock can be programmed to shock users–with up to 340V in electric current–into more productive behaviors. What’s Next A number of popular methodologies, like Da- vid Allen’s seminal book Getting Things Done, have taught us how to more effectively manage our time. Soon, we will see apps and technol- ogies to help us manage our attention. Some new wearables scheduled to ship in 2015, such as the Pavlok, can be programmed to shock users–with up to 340V in electric current–into more productive behaviors. Meantime, content creators and publish- ers should consider our increasing inability to focus on just one screen for any length of time–and create programming, video, editorial content, marketing content, game logic and more to leverage that behavior. 31 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  26. 26. WEARABLESThird year on the list KEY INSIGHT As of December 2014, the Future Today Institute is tracking 284 wearable devices, which have an average price point of $350. More than half are dedicated to fitness or biometrics. We esti- mate that less than 5% were designed with fashion-forward women in mind. Contrary to what many people think, watches comprise only a fraction of the wearables space. For example, the EyeTap is both a camera and a display that sits over your eye. The FoxTel shirt converts live football (or other) game data into physical sensations you can feel in real-time. Fujitsu released a glove that allows the wearer to control machines in other cities. Athos makes ath- letic gear with biometric sensors that gives you your performance feedback as you train. BSX Insight has a device just for your calves, and it measures your lactate threshold. Advertisers, marketers, journalists and everyone else who’s even tangentially connected to the content business view wearables (and watches in particular) as the next screens to cap- ture. Many outside of the health and fitness space are already at work building apps and products that combine location, news or deals with notifications. The future of wearables will include lots of different devices and screen times, however we don’t think that wearables will be ready for meaningful content delivery for the next few years. Instead, nearly all wearables coming to market in 2015 – including the Apple Watch – are primarily data gatherers or controllers that still will require our mobile phones. The Melon headband monitors your brainwaves through elec- trical activity, collecting data over time and telling the wearer when she’s most able to concentrate, when she’s likely to be productive and when she should just take a nap. FoxTel’s Alert Shirt converts live game data into powerful sensations that are experienced instantly by the wearer. 32 - 35 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  27. 27. WEARABLESThird year on the list Women There are still relatively few wearables specifically designed with women in mind. In 2014 we saw some partnerships between popular designers and wearable tech companies, and we expect to see more in 2015. But for women, it isn’t just about design. Wearables that help track women’s health issues and personal safety stand to grab signifi- cant market share in the coming year. Brain-to-Brain Interfaces While we won’t see these come to market next year, we will see emerging research in this space during 2015. De- vices using electroencephalography (EEG) have so far produced stunning results: mind-controlled helicopters from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and robot arm from the University of Minnesota. Now, some new research has proven that we can use our minds to control each other. The University of Washington has developed a way to directly link two people’s brains together with a wearable device that looks like something out of The Matrix: a swim cap with lots of cords. Using the Internet, researchers transmitted signals from one person’s brain to control the hand motions of another person with a lag time of less than a second. University of Minnesota researchers have discovered that users who practice mind-body awareness training, such as yoga and meditation, are more success- ful at using these new interfaces. Kids An entirely new market segment will open up in 2015, and that’s kids wearables. Developers are creating wearables for parents who want to monitor their infants and young children. Several watches, such as the Filip and Tinitell, al- low their parents to track their children’s coordinates, send them messages and make calls to the device. The Leap- Band and NZN Lit track and encourage physical activity. Sproutling collects real-time data on infants, reporting their body temperature, heart rate, body movements, and sleep patterns as well as room temperature, humidity, and light. LG’s KidzON allows parents to monitor their children’s conversations and sends schedule notifications to kids. Neuroenhancers Some wearables can help you become more productive and might even boost your mood. In the coming year, three intriguing headbands are coming to market: Melon, Thync and Muse. The Melon headband monitors your brainwaves through electrical activity, collecting data over time and telling the wearer when she’s most able to con- centrate, when she’s likely to be productive and when she should just take a nap. The Thync measures your brain activity and allows you to select different moods – energy boost or relax – depending on your preference. Muse is a headband with seven sensors measuring your electrical activity and trains you to relax. Rather than waiting to get home and unwind with a glass of wine after work, you could instead program your headband to kick on during your commute home and arrive pre-relaxed. 32 - 35 32 33 34 35 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  28. 28. Examples Wireless sensors, such as devices to monitor your heart rate or oxygen level, collect data and send it back to a central hub (most of- ten, your smartphone) which then relays the information to a medical team or health care monitoring service. There are a lot of bene- fits: rather than moving into an assisted living facility or spending a lot of time in the hos- pital, patients can instead move back home while being provided with virtual care. WIRELESS BODY AREA NETWORKSFirst year on the list Key Insight Wireless Body Area Networks (WBANs) communicate information from your wearable devic- es back to medical servers, app manufacturers and your home computer. Watchlist Medtronic Inc, Hospira Inc, Google, Apple, St. Jude Medical, Food and Drug Admin- istration, Advanced Medical Technology Association, U.S. Department of Home- land Security 1 Medtronic uses WBANs to connect patients to hospitals via wireless device interrogation. What’s Next In the coming year, we’ll see several new in- gestible and implantable wireless medical devices that deliver drug therapy, monitor our vital statistics, stimulate our brains, help manage pain and bladder control and more. Even without realizing it, many of us are walk- ing WBANs right now. While some of the es- tablished medical devices use strong encryp- tion algorithms, many new wearable devices don’t. They’re sending a lot of unencrypted, unsecured personal data – including our loca- tions – across the Internet. Enterprising hack- ers can intercept these transmissions, even without being directly next to us. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was investigating several cybersecurity cases related to WBANs, and we anticipate WBAN security growing as a trend in the coming year. 36 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  29. 29. Examples Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon developed an interface they call Skinput, which pro- jects a control panel from a watch onto your forearm, allowing you to control your iPhone. The Fin, which begins shipping early 2015, is a programmable ring that allows you to control the music on your phone, change the channel on your smart TV and more. BIOINTERFACES & GESTURAL INTERFACESSecond year on the list. Key Insight Optical sensors, pico projectors and bio-acoustic sensing arrays are transforming our hands, arms and legs into control pads. Watchlist Fin, Carnegie Mellon, Microsoft, University of Michigan, NewDealDesign The Fin, which begins shipping early 2015, is a programmable ring that allows you to con- trol the music on your phone, change the channel on your smart TV and more. What’s Next We saw a number of gestural interfaces come to mass market in 2014, including the Leap Motion Controller. Gesture detection is built into Samsung’s Smart TV. The next iteration of gestures is to combine them with more so- phisticated technologies. We expect to see more wearables offering biointerfaces–main- ly serving as alternative remote controls and smartphone touchscreens–launching during the year. For many designers, the next evolu- tion in tangible interfaces is to make the tradi- tional interface disappear entirely, instead al- lowing us to make small gestures and use our voices to control the computers in our lives. 37 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  30. 30. Examples Affictiva, started at the Media Lab, has now analyzed more than two million faces across 80 countries. In doing so, the company has created a vast database of emotions. An- other company, Emotient (founded by Uni- versity of California at San Diego PhD’s), is working on its own emotion-recognition technology. Researchers can use this tech- nology to tap into our emotional reactions to brands, advertising, news stories, music, movie trailers, video content and more. Emo- tion-aware software will also be incorporated into game systems and to further enhance facial recognition accuracy. QUANTIFYING EMOTIONFirst year on the list Key Insight Researchers at the MIT Media Lab have been learning how to use our computer cameras to monitor our emotion. In effect, they hope to create an “emotion data layer” between con- sumers, their devices, and potentially each other. Watchlist Emotient, Affectiva, Intel, Google, Microsoft Emotient uses emotion-recognition technology to tap into our emotional reactions to videos and music. What’s Next Affectiva’s software developer kit was made available to the public mid-2014. Emotient’s API offers an API. We anticipate a crop of new mobile and Google Glass apps that leverage emotion-aware computing to launch during 2015. 38 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  31. 31. Examples With its tiny screen, Google Glass is a weara- bleheads-updisplaycapableofshowingmaps and turn-by-turn directions. It also shows re- cent social media posts and text messages, and it can overlay the names of buildings and provide other information about what the user is looking at in real-time. Cars are being built with the same technology, bouncing a reflec- tion off a dashboard monitor so that the driver can see her speed and navigation displayed on the windshield. HEADS-UP DISPLAYSFirst year on the list Key Insight Heads-up displays provide a layer of real-time information as we need it, whether we’re driv- ing to the office or trying to remember a coworker’s name once we get there. Watchlist Google, Innovega, Oakley, Lenovo, Electronic Arts, Food and Drug Administration, MIT Media Lab iOptik’s heads-up display. What’s Next Heads-up displays will become more ubiqui- tous in 2015. A number of companies, such as Innovega, are working on sleek glasses capable of showing several pieces of infor- mation at once without obstructing vision. The glasses project transparent cards show- ing her any number of sources (Facebook, Instagram, maps, the Internet) and even al- lowing her to video chat in real time. Heads- up displays are getting smaller, too. Re- searchers are working on connected contact lenses for mass-market use. 39 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  32. 32. IoTThird year on the list Key Insight Millions of smart digital devices, from the Nike Fuel Band on your wrist to the phone in your pocket to the coffee maker in your kitchen are talking to each other, monitoring your activity and automating tasks in order to make your life easier. These devices and their protocols make up the Internet of Things. We are surrounded by an unprecedented number of sensors, devices and data. In order to connect to the Internet and to each other, each device needs its own unique address. (We started running out of those a long time ago, which is why so many company names and their web addresses tend not to contain vowels.) Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is helping to expand the IoT so that there are enough usable addresses to go around. International standards organizations are working on a future open standard, just as HTTP and FTP play critical roles in how we move content around on the web today. In 2015, connected devices that use machine-to-machine communication will take over our living rooms, our kitchens, our cars, our gyms and our schools. We’ll see numerous con- nected light bulbs, car locks, mailboxes, pantry sensors and coffee makers come to market throughout the year. These devices will begin actively communicating to each other, and to you. In the near-future, after the IoT hits critical mass, the next evolution will be smarter design. Connected devices must be simple, they must share a common language (they currently do not) and they need to offer a feature that makes sense for the device. IoT devices cannot assume that all users will infer how or when they should be used. Watchlist IFTTT, GE, Intel, Cisco, IBM, Qualcomm, Sony, Samsung, LG, Nest, and Mother, Google, Hadoop, Arduino, SmartThings, AT&T, Verizon, Ericsson, Atmel, Dragon Innovation, littleBits 40 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  33. 33. ROBOTSThird year on the list Key Insight Robots come in all shapes and sizes, from autonomous drones to self-driving cars. They help on the battlefield, in surgical centers and soon, in your offices. Examples Robots have the ability to venture into areas unsafe for humans - or even spaces that are simply too small. If designed well, robots can work to more exacting standards, put in longer hours and provide great efficiencies. They also have the potential to disrupt manufacturing and to provide new opportunities for that sector and for security, news media, entertainment, construction and other industries. What’s Next Ever wished you could be a fly on the wall in certain meetings? In U.S. states that don’t require two-party agreements for voice record- ing, that’s a near-future possibility thanks to tiny insect-like robots that can record audio and video. Robotic technologies are also being developed for paraplegics and others with ambulatory disabilities, to assist humans with difficult physical tasks and to help children learn how to program. In 2015, researchers will continue experimenting with algorithms to smooth out motions and movements. They’ll also work on cloud-based software updates for artificially intelligent ro- bots, so that if one learns a new skill, that information can be trans- ferred to all robots within a network. Watchlist Google, Intel, Cisco, DARPA, iRobot, Touch Bionics, Anki, Northrop Grumman, Ekso Bionics, Arcbotics, Rethink Robotics, Bosch, Double Robotics, Robotex, Qbotix, Barobo, Prox Dynamics To help alleviate physical weight on troops, DARPA is developing a four-leg- ged robot, the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), to integrate with a squad of Marines or Soldiers. 41 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  34. 34. Examples We tend to think of 3D printing as a trend in the Maker community. However, Gener- al Electric is the world’s largest user of 3D printing technologies, and it will invest tens of millions over the next few years to develop capacity. 3D printing has the potential to dis- rupt a number of established businesses and industries. It offers faster prototyping, accel- erated product development cycles and cus- tom manufacturing. Soon, “one size fits all” won’t need to fit anyone ever again. 3D PRINTINGThird year on the list Key Insight In 2015, we will see a number of new ways to use 3D printing technology, and materials will shift from plastics to metals to makeup and even human tissue. Watchlist Local Motors, GE, Formlabs, Organovo, Aurora Labs, Shapeways, MakerBot, University of Illinois Urbana, University College London. Formlabs makes an at-home printer that doesn’t require extensive calibration. What’s Next Ubiquitous home printers are still a ways off, therefore we see big opportunities for 3D printing centers. In the next year, we’ll see companies custom-printing orthotics and footwear, eyeglasses and athletic equip- ment. New startups have found a way to print metals more affordably. Meantime, a Harvard student figured out how to create custom makeups using a 3D printer. NASA is researching how to use a 3D printer to man- ufacture food in space. In the coming year, 3D bioprinting will become commercially available. One company, Organovo, is sell- ing 3D printed liver tissue to pharmaceutical labs. 3D printing will continue to fuel rapid innovation in labs, which are experimenting with new techniques to print new kinds of plastics, hybrid materials and polymer com- ponents. 42 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  35. 35. Examples Google has been trying to completely rein- vent the mobile phone...using design prin- ciples from the old DIY computers of the 1980s. Google’s Project Ara is a modular phone system that allows users to swap in components. Rather than having to buy a completely new phone every two or three years, modules offering faster speeds or bet- ter video cards can be inserted without any technical know-how. MODULAR MOBILEFirst year on the list Key Insight Google’s Project Ara is a modular phone system that can be configured for any user in every country. Watchlist Google, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-mobile and carriers worldwide Google’s Project Ara is a modular phone system that allows users to swap in components. What’s Next Google is working closely with developers to take its prototype to market sometime late 2015/ early 2016. Even if Ara fails, it will have inspired (we hope) a new form of mobile de- sign. It would likely disrupt the standard two- year contract agreements required anytime you want to buy a new phone. 43 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  36. 36. Examples Bitcoins are mined using powerful computers and scripts, but it’s a competitive process. While bitcoin isn’t the only digital currency, and its volatility rules it out as a safe long- term investment, we are now seeing bitcoin being used by more businesses worldwide. In this digital currency system, bitcoin is the protocol participating on the block chain platform. Block chain is the transaction da- tabase that’s shared by everyone participat- ing in bitcoin’s digital system. BITCOIN + BLOCKCHAINSecond year on the list Key Insight Bitcoin is a digital currency, and it promises complete anonymity while using a crowd- regulated public ledger system. Watchlist Coindesk, Coinbase, Blockstream, Boost VC, Kraken, Robocoin, Coinsetter, SecondMarket Bitcoin is much more than a cryptocurrency. What’s Next The block chain is a sort of distributed con- sensus system, where no one person con- trols all the data. For that reason, some peo- ple argue that a block chain system would have prevented the massive credit card breach at Target. A new company, Block- stream, will turn the block chain into a universal platform that can be used for anything requiring signatures or authen- tication. It will therefore enable people to participate in “trustless” transactions, where buyers and sellers work with an intermediary like an escrow manager, a trustee or other middlemen. 44 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  37. 37. Examples Uber does two things very well. First, it mon- etizes downtime. For professional drivers, Uber is a fast, easy way to find riders. It’s also been a boon for people who’ve lost their jobs, offering them a way to make money when traditional jobs are hard to find. Sec- ond, Uber provides a seamless payment in- terface. Riders don’t need to carry cash or even a credit card, as the entire transaction is handled via a simple mobile interface. UBER FOR XFirst year on the list Key Insight In spite of harsh criticism about its business practices, 2014 was a significant year for Uber. With an $18 billion valuation, the app connecting drivers to passengers is now worth more than Whole Foods, Yelp and big data company Palantir. Watchlist HouseCall, Shyp, Instacart, SixDoors, Nimbl, Zeel, Ringadoc, Washly and many others. Shyp is an on-demand shipping service. What’s Next It’s likely that Uber will continue to face le- gal and ethical challenges in 2015. That won’t stop other businesses from building their own Uber of X applications. In the next year, expect to see pitches and demos for “Uber of X” delivery and intermediary busi- nesses, including fast grocery delivery, heli- copter rides, portable ATMs, alcohol delivery, in-home massage service, dry cleaning and laundry, iPhone repair, personal shopping, medical marijuana, dog walkers and on-site car mechanics. 45 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  38. 38. Examples Platforms are quickly replacing brick- and-mortar retailers. The appeal of having access to the latest dress/mov- ie/song, along with the ability to re-bor- row it, increasingly trumps consumers’ desire to actually own and store it in their closets. In fact, you may be part of the lendership economy without even realizing it. If you own a Kindle and you’ve purchased books for it, you’ve actually purchased a license for the book – not the book itself. LENDERSHIPFirst year on the list Key Insight Rather than buying to own products, consumers are paying to temporarily lease them. Watchlist Rent The Runway, Netflix, Sparkbox, Toys Trunk, Bag Borrow or Steal What’s Next Impermanence puts pressure on CMOs to tell a different story. As the lendership econ- omy grows in 2015, brand visibility will be- come more important, as will the consumer’s relationship to the brand. We expect to see new subscription lending platforms for pre- scription glasses, baby gear and equipment, home and office furnishings, art and even personal technology. Still dubious? Consider Rent The Runway’s rapid growth: 5 million women members in 5 years for its marquee dress borrowing service. 46 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  39. 39. Examples Last spring, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of giving Oracle a copyright on its Java APIs. Google had used some of the code in its Android operating system against the wishes of Oracle. Advocates decried the court’s decision, saying it would impede innovation. There are thousands of public-facing APIs and more than a hundred thousand private APIs currently in use. API PROTECTIONFirst year on the list Key Insight What does it mean if APIs, which have traditionally been open for all to use, can be protected under copyright? Watchlist API Commons, dozens of tech companies What’s Next API Commons is working to establish an API Interface Commons, much like the Cre- ative Commons licenses being used all over the web for content. Meantime, we expect to see new copyright filings and lawsuits in 2015. API Commons wants to provide a simple and transparent mechanism for the copyright free sharing and collaborative design of API specifications, interfaces and data models. 47 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  40. 40. Examples Yammer and HipChat remain the mar- ket leaders, but there are new apps on the horizon. Asana and Flow both offer project management. Wrike offers project planning, charts and time management tools. Slack is a hybrid instant message/ email system that lets you sort and tag, search, and choose to broadcast messages to your whole team or just to a few members. For organizations suffocating underneath the hefty weight of email, Slack has offered a helpful alternative. It integrates with a slew of other services, like Dropbox, Google Drive, IFTTT, Heroku, Mailchimp and Zendesk. COLLABORATIVE SOFTWAREFirst year on the list Key Insight New productivity tools combine the best of email, instant messaging, social media and cloud storage, offering a single place to communicate with colleagues. What’s Next 2015 may be the beginning of the end of email as we know it, as more and more offic- es abandon internal email systems for these apps. Look for the launch of Facebook@ Work in the coming year. It’s Facebook for your internal work needs, and it leverages your staff’s proclivity to check updates and post photos during work hours. Slack is real-time messag- ing, archiving and search for business groups. 48 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  41. 41. Examples Venmo is a popular peer-to-peer (P2P) pay- ment system, one that spent 24 months in beta. After two rounds of acquisitions, it’s now owned by PayPal. Unlike PayPay, Ven- mo doesn’t charge transaction fees. It al- lows friends to pay each other or to easily split bills. When you make a payment to a friend, you can tag it with whatever you’d like. Which has made Venmo’s social feed become a popular network itself. Just like a Facebook feed, Venmo shows photos of friends and what they’ve been spending their money on. Venmo is the fastest-growing mo- bile payment system around. SOCIAL PAYMENTSFifth year on the list Key Insight New social payment systems offer the ease of seamless transactions, but they’re also bud- ding social networks in their own rights. These certainly aren’t the first wave of mobile-social payment systems, as the first apps came out several years ago. We do think the market is now right for widespread social payment engagement. What’s Next We expect to see deeper third-party integra- tions with P2P APIs. Venmo’s relatively fast success means that the network has grown exponentially. That makes it and P2P pay- ment networks possible targets for hackers; it also means competition in the space will heat up during 2015. Venmo is one of the fastest-growing P2P payment networks. Watchlist Venmo, Square, Ingenico, BOKU, PayPal 49 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  42. 42. Examples New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and San Jose are repurposing abandoned pay phone booths as WiFi hotspots and charg- ing stations. In some areas, towers are be- ing installed that will offer those services plus modern phone systems, allowing anyone to make free phone calls within the U.S. In com- mercial areas, towers will include screens for advertisements. REPURPOSED TECHNOLOGYFirst year on the list Key Insight Many of our once-ubiquitous technologies are no longer being used, but they’re still taking up physical space. Smart companies are figuring out how to give retired technologies a new purpose. What’s Next We will see the phone booth initiative spread to other cities throughout 2015. Expect to see more charging stations throughout air- ports, train stations and other areas where people tend to congregate, and expect to see new ad spaces popping up there as well. Smart marketers will find a way to capture attention while people wait for their phones to charge. We anticipate more repurposing on the horizon: newspaper boxes, computer towers, shipping containers and the like. Repurposed phone booths in New york City will soon offer free charging and WiFi. Watchlist Titan, CityBridge, Qualcomm, Pensa, various large cities 50 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  43. 43. DATAFifth year on the list Key Insight Data is a broad category with many stakeholders, applications and implications. For exam- ple, data on our locations, our health and our individual preferences is collected and analyzed to help others predict everything from the next disease outbreak to what copy should be used in a Superbowl ad. It’s also used to understand population changes, political land- scapes and public sentiment. In the coming year, Big Data will continue to be a buzzword and a trend throughout many in- dustries and fields. Businesses will want access to analytics tools in order to make important business decisions, while government agencies will rely on data to determine funding for various programs. Organizations of all sizes should begin thinking about what data makes sense to collect, analyze and interpret. We recommend that large organizations (public, private, foundations, nonprofits, universities, government agencies) create a Chief Data Officer position and bring on board someone with the unique skills to champion data initiatives, make smart decisions, collaborate on security and surface insights. Speaking of Data Officers, we are predicting a shortage in Data Sci- entists in 2015 and beyond. There just aren’t enough skilled data scientists to fulfill all the work available (a shortage of 200,000 by some estimates). Kaggle helps match companies with data scien- tists, while IBM’s Watson aims to help companies solve all of their own data science challenges. New Relic Insights allows compa- nies to mine their own data. Eureqa Desktop from Nutonian allows companies to outsource their thinking to a data science robot. In the coming year, Big Data will continue to be a buzzword and a trend throughout many industries and fields. 51 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  44. 44. CLIMATEFirst year on the list Key Insight Last year, the U.S. General Services Administration discovered $800k worth of rogue fans running in the Ronald Reagan building in Washington, D.C. That’s just one space. A deeper analysis of 100 GSA buildings uncovered another $16 million in possible energy savings. Which for some is a more meaningful way of quantifying our energy consumption.  You could argue that part of our current environmental problem stems from missing data and, as a result, missed opportunities. Until recently, it was difficult to understand just how much energy was seeping out of older buildings. Boston’s FirstFuel Software company used open data to analyze the efficiency of more than 1 billion square feet of building space, and discovered that 2.6 billion kilowatt-hours of energy were being wasted. That’s enough energy to power nearly all the homes in Pittsburgh every year. Meantime, that there are parts of upstate New York still using pipes that were built when Lincoln was president. We often conflate fuel consumption with power and energy, so elected officials argue about the causes and effects of resulting cli- mate change. Though it makes a great narra- tive, the real problem isn’t just our gas-pow- ered cars or the soot spewing from factories. Many people are finding success stories in data. New devices that use our smartphones to show real-time consumption and efficiency data are coming to market in 2015. There are numerous opportunities for those in the IoT space, for utility companies, for local govern- ments and for those hoping to engage con- sumers with environmental causes. Photo credit: János Kerekes In the coming year, Big Data will continue to be a buzzword and a trend throughout many industries and fields. 52 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  45. 45. SPACEThird year on the list Key Insight A commercial space boom is only just beginning. SpaceX will soon use autonomous drones to recover reusable rockets. Examples Some of the most exciting tech innova- tion isn’t happening in Silicon Valley – it’s centered deep inside the Mojave Desert, where 17 space-related companies are closing in on commercial space travel, exploration and development. We saw successful (and tragically, some unsuc- cessful) commercial space launches in the past year. Academic and govern- ment agencies have celebrated great achievements in recent months, including landing a spacecraft on a comet. What’s Next Expect to see more launches in 2015. The reasons for commercial exploration are nu- merous, from mining to a competitive re- search market to supplementing govern- ment-run space programs, both in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to the spacecraft themselves, there will be a boom in launch vehicles, landers, probes, rovers, space sta- tions and research craft. We’ll also see part- nerships formed for astroid and moon min- ing and for space manufacturing. There will be ancillary opportunities across industries, from durable clothing retailers to skilled man- ufacturing operations. Media companies, too, should think about early partnerships, while private equity firms should start looking at the soon-to-launch companies that will ul- timately supply the tools, materials and tech- nologies for commercial space operations. Watchlist Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic (The Spaceship Company), XCOR Aerospace, SpaceX, Interorbital Systems, Stratolaunch, Masten Space Systems, Firestar Technologies, Copenhagen Suborbitals, Japanese Rocket Society, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Planetary Resources, NASA, ESA and many more. 53 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  46. 46. NET NEUTRALITYSecond year on the list Key Insight In 2015 a decision will be made about who controls the Internet. Senator Ted Cruise tweets about Net Neutrality, comparing it to the Affordable Health Care Act. Examples The FCC did not decide on net neutrality in the past year. However, it was a hot topic among Internet activists and politicians alike. As just one example, Senator Ted Cruz likened Net Neutrality with the Affordable Health Care Act in a somewhat confusing tweet. The debate pits Internet companies against the White House and open technology advocates. Comcast and various ISPs want to restrict access to the Internet, while many people argue that charg- ing additional fees to access bandwidth goes against the very nature of the Internet and how it was built. The best explanation we’ve seen to date was written by David Weinberger on Medium1 : “[The Internet isn’t] a broadcast medium, we are not mere consumers, and when content includes stuff that we make and that we partake in socially, calling it content is highly misleading. But it’s not misleading if you’re a cable company. You make your big money selling content. That’s why you want to prioritize some content over others. It’s one important reason you give your subscribers ten times more capacity for downloading than for uploading. If you’re a cable company, it’s all about content. That is the original sin of the way we get access to the Internet in this country.” What’s Next The debate will continue well into 2015. Watchlist The FCC’s Chairman Tom Wheeler and Julius Genachowski; Columbia University Law School professor Timothy Wu; AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson; Netflix CEO Reed Hastings; the White House; Senator Al Franken; Senator John McCain; Marc Andreessen; CEO of the Internet Association Michael Beckerman; Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts 1 54 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  47. 47. FTCFirst year on the list Key Insight In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission will take a bigger role regulating bogus Internet companies, scammers and cybercriminals. The FTC will take a larger role in regulating and policing cyber fraud in 2015. Examples The FTC’s main purpose is to protect consumers against fraud, deception and unfair business practices. As more and more of our business shifts to the Internet, the FTC is stepping into the spotlight. The FTC has been speaking at digerati conferenc- es, hosting workshops, examining if and how to regulate the IoT and even going after big-name hackers. What’s Next The FTC will play a larger and more visible role in ongoing discussions about cybercrime and hacking in 2015. Watchlist Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, Director Jessica Rich, Chief Technologist Latanya Sweeny 55 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  48. 48. We recommend thinking about these 55 trends as they relate to your organization, asking questions such as: 01. Which of our customer segments does this trend address? 02. How are our competitors/ related agencies harnessing these trends (or failing to do so)? 03. How are non-competitors applying this trend? 04. Will this trend create new competitors for us? 05. Where does this trend create potential new partners or collaborators for us? 06. How does this trend impact our industry and all of its parts? 07. Who are the drivers of change in this trend? Which companies, founders, startups? 08. How will the wants, needs and expectations of our customers change as a result of this trend? 09. How does this trend inspire us? 10. How does this trend help us think about innovation? We also recommend tracking all 55 trends throughout the year, noting major changes and adding new developments as they happen. The emerging technology and digital media landscape is constantly evolving, and at the Future Today Institute, we often find that midway through the year, we’ve added at least a few new trends. 10 QUESTIONS How to relate these trends back to your business in 2015 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  49. 49. COMPANIES MENTIONED IN OUR 2015 TRENDS REPORT Advanced Medical Technology Association Affictiva AIT Austrian Institute of Technology Algorithmia Amazon Anki API Commons Apple Arcbotics Arduino AT&T Athos Atmel AudioCodes Aurora Labs Autodesk Avaya Bag Borrow or Steal Baidu Barobo Binatex Blackphone Blockstream BOKU Bolt Boost VC Bosch Bouygues Telecom BSX Insight Canon’s MREAL System Carnegie Mellon Cloud 9 Cisco CityBridge Coinbase Coindesk Coinsetter Confide Copenhagen Suborbitals DARPA DataXu DefenDoor Dialogic Double Robotics DNNRsch Dragon Innovation Dropbox Ekso Bionics Electronic Arts Electronic Frontier Foundation Emotient Ericsson ESA Estimote Expect Labs EyeTap Facebook Federal Communications Commission Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Fidelity Filip Fin Ring Firechat Firestar Technologies FirstFuel Software Fitbit Food and Drug Administration Formlabs FoxTel FP Interrupted Fujitsu Gannett GE Github Google GPShopper Guardian HackerOne Heroku HipChat Home Depot Hospira Inc HouseCall Hrvatski Telekom 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  50. 50. COMPANIES MENTIONED IN OUR 2015 TRENDS REPORT Huawei Hydra IBM IFTTT iHeartRadio iRobot Ingenico Innovega Instacart Instagram Intel Interorbital Systems Japanese Rocket Society Kaggle Kindle Klara Kraken LeapBand Leap Motion Controller Lenovo LG’s KidzON Line littleBits Local Motors Lumo MailChimp MakerBot Masten Space Systems MeWe Media REDEF Medtronic Inc Melon Microsoft MIT Media Lab Muse N3work NASA National Instruments Nerdist Nest Netflix NewDealDesign New Relic Insights Nimbl Northeastern University Northrop Grumman NowThisNews NSA Nutonian Nymi NZN Lit Oakley Oculus Rift OnSIP Oracle Orbital Sciences Corporation Organovo Oyster Palantir Pandora Pavlok PayPal Pensa Pinterest PittPatt Pixlee Planetary Resources Prox Dynamics PRX Qualcomm Quartz Rent The Runway Rethink Robotics Ringadoc Robin Labs Robocoin Robotex Samsung Scheels SecondMarket Serial Podcast Shapeways Sharper Shape Shyp Silent Circle 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  51. 51. Silk Road 2 Singularity University SixDoors Skype Slack SmartThings Snapchat Sony SpaceX Sparkbox Spotify Sprint Sproutling Square St. Jude Medical Stratolaunch Stripe Stanford Swirl Swiss Federal Institute of Technology T-mobile Taco Bell Target Telefonica Temasys This This American Life Thync Tinitell TinyLetter Titan TokBox Tor Touch Bionics Toys Trunk Twilio Uber UC - Berkeley UCLA UC - San Diego Under Armour University of Arkansas University of Birmingham University College London University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Maryland University of Michigan University of Minnesota University of Pennsylvania University of Sheffield University of Toronto University of Washington U.S. Airforce U.S. Army Research Laboratory U.S. Department of Defense U.S. Department of Homeland Security U.S. General Services Administration U.S. Navy U.S. State Department Twitter Venmo Verizon Viewdle Vimeo Vine Virgin Galactic Washly Watchup WeChat Weemo WhatsApp Whisper Wrike XCOR Aerospace Yahoo Yammer Yelp Yik Yak YouTube Zeel Zendesk COMPANIES MENTIONED IN OUR 2015 TRENDS REPORT 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute
  52. 52. For further information about this report and how the Future Today Institute can help your organization, please contact: Amy Webb Founder Future Today Institute MORE INFORMATION Tel: +1-267-342-4300 2015 Tech Trends | | © 2014 Future Today Institute