If you’re still struggling to remember to write 2015 instead of 2014, it may feel too soon to start talking about trends we can expect to see this year. But with technology moving faster than ever, there’s no time to waste.

Trends from 2014 aren’t going anywhere—big data, mobile, and personal digital assistants will still be big. But they will likely combine with emerging trends. For instance, you might be making use of big data through a wearable rather than a smartphone.

It used to be that trends were tagged as consumer or business-to-business, but the distinction is blurring. Businesses must be just as versed in consumer trends because their employees (including the boss) and customers will be using trending technologies with other vendors, and they’ll expect to be able to use them with your business, too. Even big industry events, such as the Consumer Electronics Show, which used to be targeted more at vendors and manufacturers, is increasingly geared directly toward the consumer. People see new technologies, and want to start using them right away.

People may wish to use the technology directly, wanting to have access to your data and products via wearables, for example. Or it may be indirectly. That is, if users become accustomed to a particular type of interface and responsiveness in their consumer lives—such as being able to pay for things using their smartphone—they’re going to expect it in their business lives as well. “These always-connected consumers and workers will abandon your business if it does not understand where they are and what they want,” warns Gil Press in Forbes.

So what are some of these 2015 trends?

Intelligent devices. So many things increasingly fall into this category: smartphones and the software that runs on them; devices that track and collect data and offer unparalleled control over your environment; “beacons” and other contextual devices that talk to each other or send you data (such as coupons) based on your location. Even your cars are now considered intelligent devices.

Also, consider the number of new devices looking for funding on Kickstarter these days. Not only are you going to need to be able to use these devices for yourself, you’re going to want to think about how your company can leverage these technologies for innovation in your business. Because you can be sure that if you aren’t, your competition will be. You also need to consider more mundane issues such as whether your infrastructure is up to the task, predicts IDC.

Security. Given that 2014 was a banner year for hacking and spying incidents, it’s not a stretch to expect that security is going to be a big trend in the coming year. Whether you are implementing biometrics, encrypting your data, or beefing up intrusion detection and mitigation, security is going to be a big deal and could involve making hard choices. This is particularly true in the context of intelligent devices. Do you want someone hacking into your office’s smart thermostat or Internet-controlled refrigerator? Other areas where security will be an issue include cybercrime, compliance and regulation, and issues up and down the supply chain, such as suppliers and contractors, writes Thor Olavsrud in CIO. “As the volume of data explodes, along with the means to collect and analyze that information, building security into software design and balancing security and privacy are becoming top priorities,” predicts the IEEE Computer Society.

Business growth and restructuring. With the improved economy, many businesses are growing. Hurray! But adding staff and new technology come with their own challenges, ranging from security (again) to a fair division of labor. The computer industry itself—meaning your vendors—and perhaps your own industry will continue to see lots of mergers and acquisitions activity. But also expect demergers as companies break apart into smaller, more focused, more agile components. So even if you don’t change the products you use, you could wind up dealing with a whole new company—or working for one.

Ready? 2015 looks to be an exhilarating ride.

Related Posts