Converging digital technologies will give birth to more original products and service models, breaking with past traditions. Cloud computing, virtualization, high-speed mobile, social, and data will support the proliferation of low-cost sensors in everything from cars to phones to wearables. The combination of the virtual and physical world of logistics will be attached to more business processes as everything becomes digitized. What follows is a series of projections we feel will be made in the digital world that will facilitate continued growth and innovation to make life easier for consumers, enterprise customers and suppliers.
The digital payments space will begin to see a marriage of new tech with incumbent institutions. Entering the new year, there’s anticipation over PayPal’s eventual split from eBay, the adoption of Apple Pay, and Bitcoin’s traction. Financial firms will opt for acquiring smaller, more agile and mobile-based startups – reminiscent of when mobile advertising firms were rapidly purchased in the past two years.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin will remain a popular topic, but the focus starting in 2015 will be the adoption of blockchain. Developers and companies will flock to the technology in pursuit of developing the “blockchain killer application.” Innovation like this will have implications far beyond payments, as it’ll be a new way for us to trust each other more generally, and facilitate changes in how society exchanges things of value.
Security will continue to be a priority for the enterprise and the demand for better protection has planted the seeds for a new industry – one where Big Data is being used to predict and defend systems against attacks and unwarranted intrusions. The security technology ecosystem may be immature still, but startups will work with incumbents on these issues at a faster rate, thanks to things such as the commoditization of Hadoop. An ecosystem of new Big Data applications – most of it from new companies – will be formed to enable the enterprise to ward off sophisticated attacks on its systems.
internet of things
The field of the Internet of Things will continue to generate interest and hype as gadget manufacturers will push a wide-range of products and because new original business models for IoT will be tested with insurance companies.
digital health management
The use of Big Data will also extend to sectors, such as the healthcare space. More firms like Flatiron Health in New York will utilize this type of data analysis to help predict the likelihood of illnesses and help diagnose them. Also the new generation of smart phones will increasingly facilitate health tracking and management at an individual level and by the individual.
new digital content
The projection for original content in online video channels will get stronger, but in 2015 and beyond, it will be augmented by multi-channel networks (MCNs) leveraging short-form “YouTube stars.” The Chernin Group, Disney, and Dreamworks have actively done M&A in this area in 2014 and the pace should continue. Entertainment studios will work closer with carriers to deliver smaller screen and shorter-form content via mobile multicast. From a startup perspective, specialized “short form only” studios will emerge, facilitating more interest through M&A.
mergers & acquisitions
Consolidation among incumbents will continue through traditional M&A, while also augmenting product and talent portfolios. Companies will also turn to startups as they seek to complement their products and skills by bringing on talent and technology from the digital era. The incentives to start a company have shifted from IPO exits to becoming purchased by the multitude of traditional vendors looking to meet incumbents’ changing requirements.
startups, incubators, and investors
Startup innovations will continue to find great interest not only from investors, but corporations. New specialized marketplaces will be created online to facilitate investments by individuals. Equity crowdfunding remains a viable option for entrepreneurs, but it’s unclear how the system will stand against regulatory review.
New sources of funding and support for tech startups will come from renewed accelerators and incubators. Through support like financing, tax incentives, low-cost logistics, and incubation, governments will continue to encourage the creation of tech startups to stimulate job creation. More corporations will establish accelerators in the coming years, which may create some fatigue and disappointment along the way. Despite this, the trend will accelerate, as there’s a real source of value for companies eager to work closer with startups.
the outlook: get digital
What we’ve laid out are projections, but we’re entering a time when enterprises also take the steps needed in order to become fully digital. Companies will reinvent themselves through new relationships with transformative startups. Taken all together, these are signs of a world where it’s easier to create value, and live a better life for all.
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