2013 has come to an end. As we usher in the new year, we wanted to share some of our predictions for the year ahead. Hopefully, after reading through our list, you’ll have some ideas of what to watch for in 2014 so that you too can stay ahead of the curve.
1. The rise of “agency of record” type relationships between mobile solutions providers and enterprise clients
In the same way that brands began partnering with advertising agencies for all of their advertising needs, so too will enterprise firms begin partnering with mobile solutions providers to handle all of their mobility strategy, development, implementation and execution. No app developers have the depth of expertise to fill this role nor do advertising agencies have the technical chops to develop and execute on the mobile stage. And, as the mobile space becomes even more complex and convoluted, enterprise firms will look to vertically integrated, holistic solutions providers to act as their “mobile agencies of record” more and more as the year progresses.
2. The proliferation of Mobile Device Management (MDM) service companies
With nearly 70 percent of all enterprise employees embracing BYOD policies within their companies, services like MDM should continue to see more use in concert with that trend. Furthermore, as the cost per managed device shrinks and the concern over security grows, MDM providers will continue to pick up business throughout 2014 (and with good reason).
3. Wearable technology moves beyond first adopters, but maybe not from the brands you think
While Google glass has been a media darling in 2013, the likelihood that it makes serious inroads to the mass consumer audience in 2014 is still pretty slim. Samsung released their wearable piece of hardware with the Galaxy Gear to beat Apple to the punch on wearable watches. The rumor mill has continued to churn in regards to Apple releasing a watch of their own, and that very well may occur in 2014. However, we think Apple, Samsung and Google won’t be the only companies turning out wearable tech products with mass appeal in 2014. We predict that wearable technology will continue to grow in the consciousness of consumers, but it may not be Google, Apple or Samsung that bring you the next big thing.
4. An increased impetus on design as more companies understand it’s role in adoption (we’re looking at you, Android)
Apple clearly understands the importance of design and user experience by making iOS7 one of their largest releases for 2013. Companies are finally getting hip to the fact that more usable and “cooler” app designs and operating systems equate to greater consumer adoption. While Android has done a great job of opening its OS to multiple developers and hardware manufacturers, they still trail behind Apple and Windows in user experience. Look for app developers and OS manufacturers alike to place a renewed emphasis on design and usability moving forward in 2014
5. Learning algorithms will be at the heart of some of the bigger apps in 2014
Apps that can learn from their users and customize their respective user experiences accordingly will get serious play in 2014 (like Pandora and Zite in years past). But, this will not be confined to content curation — many apps will begin to use algorithms like this to make user experiences the best they can possibly be. Apps that can learn and adapt to their users will be far more valuable than those that cannot. Watch for more apps that include these features moving forward
6. Windows phone will continue to cement itself as a solid third OS option behind Apple and Google
While the Windows operating system is still under five percent of market share compared to Android and iOS, we predict it will continue to pick up share in 2014. With its seamless user interface and engaging user experience, it only makes sense that people searching for something beyond the either/or choice between the Galaxy and iPhone product lines would gravitate toward the Nokia Lumia and Windows Phone. Furthermore, with Microsoft’s rich enterprise history, many of the enterprise functionalities desired in the corporate world come baked into Windows Phone, therefore enjoying more robust functionality and support.
7. Internet content consumption will further shift toward streaming video as broadband speeds and wireless throughput continue to improve
Cisco predicts that nearly 70 percent of all consumer Internet traffic will be video by 2017, which is up from the 53 percent figure calculated last November. This medium is simply too large of profit vertical to ignore. Whether it’s figuring out how to better present your company through video, hosting relevant webinars or online how-to videos that relate to your product or service offering, or simply improving your online video advertising, developing a strategy within this vertical will be crucial to continued digital growth and profit generation.
8. Cloud services will continue to grow at a healthy clip, and the price point per GB of memory will continue to drop
In 2011, seven percent of personal data was stored within a cloud service of some kind. By 2016, Gartner predicts that number will rise to 36 percent. With an influx of connected devices and a desire to maintain access to personal files across all of them, consumers are more open and enthusiastic about storing files in the cloud. This trend might grow even faster as more companies have entered the storage war (Dropbox is now joined by Box, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, you name it…). These companies are fighting over huge IT contracts and that will eventually filter down into a lower cost per GB for all consumers. Watch for the migration to the cloud to speed up in 2014.