Technology-enabled changes are pervasive

It’s clear that technology-enabled changes are pervasive across every aspect of the economy and society during 2015. We identified 47 distinct Accelerators emerging from the underlying predictions, a surprisingly large number given our efforts to synthesize and combine similar predictions whenever possible.

Figure B shows the 47 Accelerators, ranked by the number of underlying predictions, along with our view of the rate of change and likely impact of each Accelerator in 2015 on different stakeholders. You can sort the chart by rank, Accelerator name, number of underlying predictions, Accelerometer speeds, and impact by clicking on the associated column header. Click on each Accelerator for a more detailed analysis, including links to the underlying predictions, related Accelerators, and related AcceleratingBiz research.

Figure B: Top 2015 Accelerators

(Click on each Accelerator for detailed analysis, and column headings to sort)

Rank Accelerators Number of underlying predictions Accelerometer 2015 Impact
Direct industries Other businesses Consumers and society
1 Cybersecurity 49
Flooring It

Transformative

Significant

Targeted
2 Wearables 43
Flooring It

Transformative

Targeted

Significant
3 Enterprises IT 40
Cruise Control

Targeted

Targeted

Minimal
4 Cloud 26
Speeding Up

Significant

Significant

Targeted
5 IoT for businesses 22
Speeding Up

Significant

Targeted

Minimal
6 Big data 18
Speeding Up

Significant

Significant

Targeted
6 Smartphones 18
Cruise Control

Significant

Targeted

Targeted
8 Mobile payments 17
Speeding Up

Targeted

Targeted

Targeted
8 Smarter AI 17
Speeding Up

Transformative

Targeted

Targeted
10 Health monitoring 15
Speeding Up

Transformative

Minimal

Significant
11 Hyperconnectivity 12
Cruise Control

Significant

Targeted

Targeted
12 Privacy 11
Speeding Up

Targeted

Targeted

Targeted
12 Digital marketing 11
Cruise Control

Targeted

Significant

Minimal
12 Enhancing the retail experience 11
Cruise Control

Significant

Minimal

Targeted
12 VR/AR 11
Speeding Up

Significant

Minimal

Targeted
16 Apps 10
Cruise Control

Targeted

Targeted

Minimal
16 Social networks 10
Cruise Control

Targeted

Targeted

Targeted
16 Data centers 10
Cruise Control

Targeted

Targeted

Minimal
16 Drones 10
Speeding Up

Significant

Minimal

Minimal
16 Medical advances 10
Speeding Up

Targeted

Minimal

Minimal
21 Operating systems 9
Speeding Up

Significant

Targeted

Targeted
21 IoT for home 9
Speeding Up

Transformative

Minimal

Targeted
21 Low oil prices 9
Cruise Control

Significant

Targeted

Targeted
24 Location-based services 8
Speeding Up

Targeted

Targeted

Targeted
24 Emerging markets 8
Cruise Control
N/A
Targeted

Targeted
24 Robotics and automation 8
Speeding Up

Significant

Targeted

Targeted
27 3D printing 7
Speeding Up

Significant

Targeted

Targeted
27 Alternative energy 7
Speeding Up

Significant

Targeted

Targeted
27 High-res video 7
Cruise Control

Targeted

Minimal

Targeted
30 Climate change 6
Speeding Up

Targeted

Targeted

Targeted
30 Gaming 6
Speeding Up

Targeted

Targeted

Targeted
32 U.S. growth 5
Coasting
N/A
Targeted

Targeted
32 Internet search 5
Cruise Control

Targeted

Minimal

Minimal
32 Sharing economy 5
Flooring It

Transformative

Significant

Significant
32 Streaming video 5
Cruise Control

Significant

Targeted

Targeted
32 Biometrics 5
Speeding Up

Targeted

Minimal

Targeted
37 Autonomous vehicles 4
Speeding Up

Significant

Minimal

Minimal
37 Net neutrality 4
Coasting

Targeted

Minimal

Targeted
37 Digital currencies 4
Cruise Control

Targeted

Minimal

Minimal
37 On demand everything 4
Speeding Up

Transformative

Significant

Significant
37 Workplace 4
Cruise Control

Targeted

Significant

Targeted
37 Wireless charging 4
Speeding Up

Targeted

Targeted

Targeted
44 New energy vehicles 3
Cruise Control

Targeted

Minimal

Minimal
44 Personal computers 3
Cruise Control

Targeted

Minimal

Minimal
44 Streaming audio 4
Cruise Control

Targeted

Targeted

Targeted
46 Advancing materials 2
Cruise Control

Targeted

Minimal

Targeted
46 Online education 2
Cruise Control

Significant

Targeted

Targeted

The top ranked Accelerator, based on 49 underlying 2015 predictions, is cybersecurity lockdown, in which pundits expect an onslaught of cyber attacks giving rise to new types of security measures, stricter government regulations, and expensive cyber insurance. Early 2015 developments support this ranking, including: Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab revealing that hackers may have stolen US $1 billion from more than 100 banks in 30 different countries; U.S. President Obama attending the Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University; and Facebook launching ThreatExchange, an inter-company social network for security experts designed to share knowledge about cybersecurity threats.

[1]
[2]

The second ranked Accelerator we call defining wearables, with 43 underlying predictions, which forecasts a proliferation of smart watches, bracelets, eyeglasses, clothing and accompanying software applications during 2015. While not every analyst is convinced that 2015 is the year of wearables, reports that Apple has authorized the production of 5 to 6 million Apple Watches in the first quarter of 2015, with some analysts expecting sales of up to 20 million during 2015, support this second place position.[3][4]

The third most mentioned Accelerator, enterprises double down on IT, is based on 40 underlying predictions, and describes how enterprises will continue to invest in information technology with a focus on cloud-based data services, mobile applications and cybersecurity. With organizations further integrating the cloud into their IT strategies and intensifying competition between cloud services providers, increasing cloud adoption is the fourth ranked accelerator with 26 predictions. And in fifth place, with 22 mentions, the Internet of Things (IoT) for businesses focuses on how the number of industrial devices connected to the Internet is expected to increase exponentially, bringing industrial efficiency gains and new ways to track equipment, processes, products and consumers. 

The next five Accelerators were also cited frequently, each meriting 15 to 18 underlying predictions. Exploding big data explains how organizations are leveraging visualization, decision-making and cognitive computing tools to develop quality, data-driven insights from the exponentially increasing amount of data that are readily available. Smartphones to phablets describes the increased competition from low-cost smartphone manufacturers, greater capabilities of higher-end smartphones, and how larger smartphones, or “phablets,” are taking market share from tablets. Smarter artificial intelligence outlines how AI continues to get more powerful, user friendly, integrated across platforms, and even emotionally aware. Apple Pay and Google Wallet will lead mobile payments proliferation, though experts do not expect either platform to scale up to a transformative level in 2015. Effective health and fitness monitoring predicts that more sophisticated devices and applications will hit the market in 2015, changing the way businesses and consumers make decisions about health.

Accelerators ranked 11 through 15 followed closely, with 11-12 underlying predictions for each. Expect continued hyperconnectivity as mobile networks get faster and extend their reach further, Wi-Fi becomes more ubiquitous, and telecom competition intensifies. Enhancing the retail experience describes how brick-and-mortar retailers may resurge as they take advantage of webrooming (as compared to showrooming), use location-based technologies to gather data and deliver targeted promotions, and embrace social media. Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) devices will become available in 2015, redefining how humans and computers interact, and potentially revolutionizing industries like gaming, immersive entertainment, enterprise collaboration and education. Digital marketing highlights how marketers are creating seamless customer experiences across different channels and devices, experimenting with new mediums like wearables and virtual/augmented reality, learning to tell stories across media, and gaining better customer insights through advanced analytics. And as demand for control of personal data increases, some expect battling for privacy among stakeholders, leaving consumers more confused and potentially more vulnerable.

Accelerators ranked from 16 to 20 are each based on 10 underlying predictions. Evolving data centers are expected to become more modular, flexible and scalable in order to accommodate the continuing data explosion in 2015. Social media will continue to evolve, with curating social networks describing the need to both deepen and expand social connections, creating opportunities for up-and-coming social media providers and challenges for incumbents. Medical technology advances will continue to see progress in areas like genome sequencing and nanotechnology, with scientists working to deliver personalized, miniaturized and targeted treatments. Expect the penetration of unmanned aerial vehicles, or high-flying drones, to accelerate in 2015 as the number of competitors increases, prices decrease, and drones become more automated and easier to use, while governments will wrestle with drone-related regulations. Finally, an app for everything underscores the expectation of mobile app growth across platforms and devices, particularly in enterprise-related applications.

AcceleratingBizTM Implications: Together, the 47 Accelerators identified from 2015 predictions demonstrate that technology-enabled changes are pervasive, with every part of the economy and society affected by multiple Accelerators. No organization or individual can escape from these developments, regardless of industry, function or geographical location. Thus, it is critical to understand and build intuition about all of these Accelerators in order to anticipate changes in your business, improve your productivity and enhance your personal life in the coming year.


[1] Sanger, David and Nicole Perlroth, “Bank hackers steal millions via malware,” The New York Times, Feb. 14, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com

[2] Dormehl, Luke, “Google, Facebook, and Yahoo shun Obama cybersecurity summit,” Fast Company, Feb. 13, 2015, http://www.fastcompany.com 

[3] “Apple orders 5-6 million watches: WSJ,” Reuters, Feb. 17, 2015, http://www.reuters.com

[4] Reisenger, Don, “Apple Watch to be ‘most successful smartwatch ever’ – research firm,” CNET, Feb. 17, 2015, http://www.cnet.com

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