To get you ready for our brand-new insights, I thought it would be constructive to take a look back at our last trend report and to update you on critical developments related to each trend. Shall we take a quick trip down memory lane?
With the Streamed Future, we said that more people would watch streamed on-demand video on a weekly basis than broadcast TV. While the share of people streaming is still roughly equal to the share watching broadcast TV, recent developments may further increase the interest in streamed video; such as YouTube Red entering the premium market and T-Mobile offering free data for streaming video.
2015 may be seen as the year when Helpful Homes became a reality, with analysts predicting the smart connected home appliance market to grow over 200 fold over the next five years, and new generations of smart appliances entering the market.
When we introduced the notion of Mind Sharing in last year’s trends report, we felt that such an audacious concept was at least five years away. To our surprise, we read several stories in the press and heard other accounts that show others too think this will become a reality. Already, we saw people steering drones with their thoughts, and even Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated he believes communication via thought will happen. The main point we were trying to convey was that consumers will continue to try new forms of communication. That also goes for social networks, as our most recent smartphone user research indicates more than half want a dislike button.
Although we have seen many new information apps for all walks of city life, perhaps the most intriguing Smart Citizens event was an EU-wide experiment in which thousands of people took to the streets to measure pollution with their smartphone cameras using a specifically developed app.
Many have realized that the Sharing Economy goes way beyond cars and rooms, including journalist Janet Morrissey who highlighted the effects on the local economy in a thought-provoking New York Times article. In fact, in our broadest Ericsson ConsumerLab study this year, representing 1.1 billion people in 24 countries, we saw that as many as one-third already participate in some form of the sharing economy!
While Japanese consumers already had 30 million mobile wallet phones back in 2008, a Digital Purse is finally coming to the rest of us with recent market launches. Even more interesting though, US regulator CFTC defined Bitcoin as a commodity – and our most recent survey indicated that one-fifth of smartphone users in San Francisco and one-third in New York would like to use BitCoin for online purchases.
My Information talked about the need to avoid automatic transfer of personal information. That got even more difficult during the year, as Facebook announced they can now recognize you from the back of your head.
With the Longer Life trend, we wanted to highlight that wearable technology is no longer just a novelty – it will provide significant health benefits. But it’s important to start early, so among a wealth of new products and services that came out this year we saw the first connected diaper.
Realizing that more than one-third of smartphone users would like to have a robot that keeps them company made us want to talk about Domestic Robots – and what could then be better than a Sphero’s BB-8? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
Finally, we saw that Children Connect Everything – kids who grow up with smartphones and tablets are going to expect all objects to be connected. Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt made headlines at the World Economic Forum at Davos when he said that the internet will disappear. When everything is connected, I guess we won’t even think about it anymore!
Michael Björn is Head of Research at Ericsson ConsumerLab and has a PhD in data modeling from the University of Tsukuba in Japan. One of Michael’s keen research interests is the process of assimilation of ICT into everyday consumer life.
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