2015 is already shaping up to be the year of productivity, but other trends, like a focus on e-commerce and mobility, are also rising to attention.
Here are five technology trends to come in 2015, from the perspective of the areas they’ll affect directly:
1. Trends in marketing: the rise of the storyteller and the support to content creation.
Marketers need support from storytellers, since 2015 will also be a big collaborative year, employees and customers will get involved in content creation.
However, special attention will need to be put into how much content goes out. Content creators will need to distill interesting content down to its essentials to engage readers. Engagement will be granted to those exploring narratives around keywords (and not just keywords).
Regarding type of content, we’ll see more rich media –including video, audio, and slideshows– as businesses try to stand out in the crowded online space. Short videos and customer “storymonials” will be powerful tools.
Any technology that supports collaborative writing and sharing will succeed (hi, Hackpad); similar with knowledge hubs (hi, Slack).
Lastly, hyperlocal content will become a popular and effective tool. Local content producers (authors who live in a specific geographical area) will gain momentum, as search engines love original, hyperlocal content that offers new perspectives.
2. Trends in e-commerce, or How consumers are becoming more comfortable shopping from their desktops and mobile devices.
Mobile platforms were mostly used to research products before and after a purchase. However, mobile is reaching beyond that now as consumers increasingly feel comfortable doing their shopping in an app or on a mobile site.
Efforts to stand out in mobile strategies will also be necessary. In the case of brands with physical and digital stores, the conversation shifts to companion apps and mobile sites that help customers when they’re in a store.
We’re dedicating an entire post this month to mobile strategies and why small businesses should (or shouldn’t) have one. Check out our post here.
3. Trends in collaboration: everyone away together.
Business challenges with human relationships at their core are driving collaboration strategies and investments within enterprises.
A new slew of services combine the best of email, instant messaging, social media, and cloud storage into one platform for collaborating with coworkers.
Slack, Loomio, Salesforce’s Chatter and Microsoft’s Yammer are currently top players in this space, whereas the forthcoming launch of Facebook for Work has everyone curious.
Customers will also be included in this trend. Customer portals were the first step towards client participation a few years ago, then came project management software like Basecamp; now customer involvement will translate into developing content, and spending considerable time with executives and software makers to build and test custom solutions for their businesses. Online customer hubs that allow submitting requests or make payments will grow in demand too.
4. Trends in productivity: happy and organized teams.
Businesses can truly become mobile if everyone in a team is connected and aware of roles, responsibilities and deadlines. Thanks to productivity priority (and apps), these processes are becoming easier to navigate by anyone in an organization (including clients).
Business Productivity Software (BPS) can house information about customers, vendors, subcontractors, team members, job applicants and more. Multiple integrations can also connect sales, financial and payroll information to make more informed business decisions, especially when everything is in one central place.
Related to productivity and happiness: fitness alongisde coworkers. Programs, devices, and apps that support business/employee/group fitness will succeed in 2015.
Lists of apps related to productivity (like this one) are starting to make their way to front pages too.
5. Trends in the internet of things (IoT): chips, chips everywhere!
The quick idea is that every object (appliance, pill bottles, manufacturing equipment) gets a chip and can be accessed by the internet.
The bigger idea is the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. Typically, IoT is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine communications (M2M) and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications.
This means that millions of smart gadgets will be in use. Manufacturing, utilities, and transportation will lead the way. This will also create a huge market for cloud computing. Businesses will host their IoT data on someone else’s cloud.