Reviewing events of 2014, expected events in 2015 and beyond, technology, socio and political elements; the HERE/FORTH senior team sat down with a wide range of respected people from organisations including think tanks, trend companies, NGOs, startups, Analysts and other respected organisations to predict what will happen in 2015.
1) Uber will IPO (80%) - other likely new funding announcements (if not full IPOs) include Airbnb (50:50) and Dropbox (80%) despite already having raised good rounds recently.
2) Messaging apps will catch up to time spent on social networks. This is a bold prediction but on that could easily come to pass if social networks continue on the advertising tear we have seen in 2014.
3) Virtual Reality will continue to go nowhere - Despite a shot in the arm from Oculus Rift, Google's Glass and CardBox (although the last two aren't strictly VR), mass-consumer adoption of this technology remains fraught with issues that have plagued it for many years. Until it's as small as contact lenses or actual glasses this tech remains high potential but low likelihood.
4) Bitcoin will retreat to move forward. Named the worst financial bet of 2014 by Quartz, Bitcoin will remain misunderstood by the media and consumers but it will make the select few that take time to work with it and build on it very rich indeed.
5) Mobile payments will have a very big year - Forrester predicts a +$70bn total spend in the U.S. by 2017, although reports have also said 90% who have the functionality have not yet used it. 2015 will see this change as more retailers adopt and consumer interest rises with experimentation (and security scares with old methods). With Apple Pay launching in additional major territories and platforms like Square, PayPal and others all vying for retail attention, it's easy to see Apple being the leader of an interesting new economy.
6) Apple watch will sell 10 million units in the first quarter of release. Yet will be a consumer disappointment due to the smartphone connection required. Despite clear flaws, fanboys and tech-heads will undoubtedly call the launch a reason to believe in a clear future for Apple under Cook.
7) 2015 will be the year of the notification. Be it on your wrist, in your primary inbox or via a sensor connected the soil in a plant you need to water, 2015 will be the year that the average consumer begins to tame information in multiple ways as standard.