In this post, Shaul Levi, Chief Scientist of Innovation Labs, looks at the trends he believes will impact consumers the most in 2015. This post was originally posted in January 2015 on the AVG Blogs.
2015 will be a big year for technology but how will our relationship with our devices change and how will it affect our behavior?
As 2014 comes to an end, it is time to look ahead to 2015. This year though, rather than give my predictions about emerging technology, my mind is drawn to our behavior and the changing way we actually interact with technology.
I foresee significant change in three main areas over the course of 2015:
We will start using privacy based solutions
The discussion about privacy, my right to be me and own my data has been gaining momentum in the last five years. We are rapidly losing control over our personal information in today’s fast moving digital world. Advertisers collect more data than ever in a bid to try and predict our needs based on our data. 2014 has shown us that our online identity isn’t always safe from advertisers, hackers or even governments.
Laws regarding how data should be secured, stored and shared are on the way through movements like the Right to Be Forgotten.
In the past year we saw lots of apps, devices and services launched with “privacy by design” as the key feature. Apps like Snapchat, Whisper, Secret, Tinder, Tumblr, Silent circle messaging and the Blackphone. These applications are social sharing apps where the privacy and trust is supposedly built in.
Clearly, the market demand for privacy oriented solutions is there and the technology has existed for several years. So why aren’t privacy based solutions more popular? The key question that must be answered before privacy based solutions can become mainstream, is how business can make money from privacy? Therefore in 2015, I expect to see more business models emerge that center on monetizing solutions that focus on privacy and anonymity.
We will fall in love with electronics (again)
Since the 90’s, the idea of a connected smart home has excited millions. The dream of an electric light that automatically turns on when you enter a room and turns off with a clap is as old as science fiction. But it is only in the last year that the idea of the Internet of Things has really become feasible.
The good news is that electronics are back and so is software. After all, it is through software that we interact with devices and makes them seem exciting and new. Getting the software right can literally transform the fortunes of a product.
In 2014, we saw Fitbit emerge as a leading wearable device, and a big part of its success can be attributed to its software. FitBit software makes the experience feel very personal to every one of its users. It was the same with the GoPRo camera – transferring a simple camera into high end extreme sports filming equipment.
In 2015 I expect many devices will evolve to become connected and take on new roles in our digital world. Software will be an important factor in deciding which devices are successful, it’s through software that devices become personal and relatable.
We will search less and discover more
Since the beginning of the Internet, search has taken a cardinal place in our interaction with data. First Yahoo and then Google made sure our homepage is a search page.
Microsoft went on and translated this behavior into our operating systems and now we have a search box almost in everything and everywhere…
Then later, with Adwords technology, Google cracked the way to monetize search behavior. The search term that the user enters translated to ads that the user wants at that moment.
Smartphones arrived and quickly become a main vector for search, both of the Internet and of ever growing app stores. Importantly they also heralded the arrival of voice recognition technologies and of voice search. But as technology advances, a race has begun to try andpredict the search. The aim is to analyze requests and behavior so that the information we seek is already there waiting for us. We can see it in action with programs like Google Now that collect information about us from a range of sources and tries to predict what we need, whether it’s directions to work, flight times that day or what the weather will be like.
But in a less obvious move, many successful mobile apps have removed the search field entirely and actually suggest things to discover as a way increasing engagement. Examples of discovery replacing search can be found in popular apps like Instagram, Flipboard and Facebook where people are encouraged to roam and discover news, pictures or friends. But perhaps the best example of this is Tinder where rather than searching for match, the app makes constant suggestions that the user accepts or rejects.
I think in 2015 we will see this trend getting stronger and more apps and services will increase the promotion of content to their customers as a way to keep them interested in using the application or service.
Disclaimer: All opinions are those of the author and not those of AVG or Innovation Labs.