Tech predictions for 2015

The tech market keeps on booming. So what will 2015 bring in?

First of all a word of warning: Predicting the future is impossible. In my opinion some of the technologies mentioned here can have an enormous impact. However, at the time of writing it is unclear if some these technologies arrive in 2015 and how the market will react. Some technologies may be already on the market, but still waiting for the one use that makes the product desirable by everyone.

In 2014 we have seen a lot of trends emerging. As I predicted the PC industry fought back. With the bigger smartphone form factors and the saturation of the consumer market, tablets did not gain much. Instead after years of waiting people started buying a new PC again. Of course the PC market is already saturated, but there are a lot of reasons to believe in stable sales. The software industry is still growing and that spawns a lot of jobs that directly deal with content creation. In the end every device that is sold for content consumption helps to create or maintain jobs on the content creation side. In effect this will benefit the PC market, which is the desired platform for content creation and computation.

This is certainly not new, but what is definitely becoming more than just a trend is the internet of things. The IoT buzzword has been around for a while now, but with powerful embedded systems such as the Intel Edison, the Raspberry Pi, the Beaglebone Black, the Odroid U3, or others, there is hardly a reason not to have such a SoC at home. After all such a mini-computer are powerful enough to manage a full home, code repositories, small surveillance systems, or other light-weight computation tasks, with low energy consumption. The whole market of connecting various devices and evolving their efficiency by central computation is rapidly growing.

As a result the cloud, which still didn't stop growing despite many open questions, comes to help for any problem that goes beyond light-weight computation or massive data sets. It also helps to distribute the data to a multitude of devices. There are many interesting companies that have a lot of data centers around the globe, but in the end the consumer is only interested in a fast, secure and reliable way of accessing data, that may have been created as a result from a computation or has been archived. 2015 will definitely see even more business models, products and ideas around improving the concept and the realization of cloud based services.

A huge problem has been (media) streaming. Webpages such as YouTube, ustream or Netflix are experts in these fields. Yet, they either provide their own massive data centers (such as YouTube) or they use other popular options (Netflix uses AWS) to distribute their streams. Part of the problem is the gigantic bandwidth that is required per user. Even though such architectures are usually multi-layered (with at least one level of buffering in between), the server side does a lot of redundant work. Therefore the BitTorrent Live protocol seems like the solution. It could not only save the stream operator's network bandwidth, but could also help to load balance the ISP's network. This is especially true for mobile devices. Here providers complain a lot about certain services taking almost everything of the available resources. If such services would balance their traffic within the network (instead of inter-network), then everyone would win. Therefore 2015 could be the year when TV streaming over Internet is finally acceptable.

I did not talk much about the software side. But even though I think that (good) software is more important than ever, it is also important to realize that new hardware and purposes will spawn new software automatically. Therefore this is all coupled.

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