Studying the impact of innovation on business and society

25 Disruptive Technology Trends for 2015 – 2016


With every new year comes a landslide of predictions and trends to guide us into the new year. While the year advances, rarely do such transformative trends or changes take place in alignment with one of the top calendar apps. Not even Y2K could do so 😉

Now with that said, I was asked to present my thoughts on what lies ahead in Vegas during CES at Brand Innovators “Mega Trends” event. By the first week of January, there were already some tremendous thoughts already shared by some of the best. So, I thought about and thought about some more. What I assembled was a list of the most notable trends that brands and consumers need to know this year and next.

Consider this list v 1.0. It represents technologies and trends that I’m paying attention to and also high level thoughts around them. It’s not complete as there’s more to add on each topic or new topics to introduce of course. But this list is definitely worth exploring. I also invite you to share your ideas and the technologies you’re watching.

The trends are visualized and explained in the embedded Slideshare. I also touch upon each below…

1) Social Media 1.0 is dead.

Social media becomes part of a digitally transformed ecosystem Real-time and content marketing becomes more sophisticated and portable Social becomes key hub for shaping customer experiences Social connects the Zero Moment of Truth and the Ultimate Moment of Truth

2) The future of search and SEM also lies outside of Google.

More than 88% of consumers are influenced by other consumers’ online comments. Customers are also starting searches in places such as Youtube, Pinterest and also in apps directly.

3) Messaging apps become the new social media.

4) Asia and other foreign competitors will compete to gain share and push messaging forward.

5) Notification windows introduce a thin layer for rapid engagement.

Apps such as Yo, while a novelty at first, will redefine what an app is and will be…no kidding.

6) Chinese innovation is going to disrupt the U.S. from the outside in and the inside out.

7) The Internet of Things is a hot and beautiful mess until it becomes the Internet of Everything.

By 2020, the number of devices connected to the Internet is expected to exceed 40 billion. We’re just getting started.

8) Wearables will struggle to find their place in everyday life.

While cute and seemingly on the wrists, necks or fingers of all of our friends, wearables as an industry and market are incredibly immature. The Apple watch will start create a rising tide. Wearables are all over CES, but most are single purpose, redundant, cute or just plain useless. They need a killer app!

9) Virtual and augmented reality experiment with killer apps for consumer and vertical markets.

In 2015, Google Glass gets a ctrl alt del.

2015 represents the consumer introduction of Oculus Rift. Vertical industries along with gamers will drive early adoption.

Companies such as Skully are creating killer vertical appls for augmented reality.

10) Focus on the kids! Generation Z is mobile first and mobile only and they’re nothing like Millennials.

11) Youtube, Vine, etc., represent “a” new Hollywood.

Youtubers and Viners and the financial ecosystem emerging to support them is reminiscent of Hollywood in the early 1900s. More kids can name online celebrities than they can traditional movie and music stars. To capture attention, advertising and content will require an entirely new approach.

12) Cyber security becomes paramount to prevent the next #Sonygate.

Nothing creates a sense of urgency like an emergency. Sony sat on advice to upgrade security. They’re hardly alone.

13) Some companies are still greedy and believe the internet should not be open for the sake of profitability. This will impede innovation unless we fight back.

Debate over Internet regulation positions it as either a utility or a premium service.

14) Music streaming will continue to undermine the music business and artistry. Artists will fight back.

Streaming services condition consumers to seek out their favorite music and play it for free. Sales of music continues to freefall.

Artists feel they’re underpaid for stream plays.

Spotify, Pandora and the like compare payment models to radio stations.

Artists such as Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, ACDC, et al, believe artistry is worth more than appreciate today.

I argue that streaming services teach people to listen at will because they can whereas radio stations encouraged consumers to buy.

15) Wall Street becomes influential again forcing brands to trump customer experience for revenue.

Stakeholders and investors find it difficult to assess the ROI of customer experiences and the impact of positive reinforcement on the bottom line. I guess you can’t trade on something so fluffy. Instead, Wall Street analysts and shareholders alike accused JetBlue of being “overly brand-conscious and customer-focused.” Wall Street has spoken and JetBlue CEO Dave Barger will be replaced by someone willing to embrace extra fees, narrower seats, and diminished customer experiences…unless they’re willing to pay for something better.

16) Crowd capitalization accelerates disruption…everywhere.

Everything is subject to creative destruction because ideas can now be crowdfunded. Every product. Every industry. Innovation is democratized.

17) Bitcoin and other cyrptocurrencies lose value but teach us about how to think differently about money.

There are 163 cryptocurrencies in circulation. Bitcoin is widely known. Though its market cap is down, The Bitcoin Stack will revive the movement. h/t Joel Monegro and Fred Wilson.

18) Mobile payments early today, but will soon skyrocket.

In late 2013, just 6% of US adults said they had made a payment in a store by scanning or tapping their smartphone at a payment terminal. It will go up to 8% this year. Apple’s introduction of the Apple Pay will be the key factor that will drive this percentage up.

Mobile payments are already gaining traction. Nearly 15% of Starbucks customers already pay with their phones. And, 60% of consumers use their smartphones to pay because of loyalty benefits.

19) The Sharing Economy is really about renting or borrowing. Everything will become “on-demand” and available through a mobile apps that connect idle or new supplies with new or organized demand.

New supply will stimulate new demand. Mobile platforms combined with geoloco will continue to bring everyday people and businesses together to do interact with trust and efficiency serving as facilitators.

“Technology has made renting things (even in real time) as simple as it made buying things a decade ago” – Fred Wilson

20) New enterprise drone management platforms change the game for logistics.

It’s not about whether we get pizza or Amazon packages to our homes. First, drone delivery will impact B2B. Over time, the concept of a personal mail box will be upgraded with dedicates codes that will facilitate new types of drove deliveries.

21) Cyber Warfare: Political battles will play out in the 5th dimension.

22) Your privacy is Gone: It was traded for perceived security and also better customer experiences.

Older generations think about privacy differently.

Younger generations use privacy as a currency.

23) Big data and beacons: Connect online, in-app, and in-store experiences. Also opens the door to new forms of engagement.

– Footfall, visits online, visits through apps

– Regency and frequency of visits, behaviors and transactions

– Brand affinities

– Favorite products

– Demographics

– Location

– Loyalty program utilization

– Service quality, queue and abandonment

– Capacity planning and resource utilization

Beacons provide businesses with endless opportunities to collect massive amounts of untapped data, such as the number of beacon hits and customer dwell time at a particular location within a specified time and date range, busiest hours throughout the day or week, number of people who walk by a location each day, etc. Retailers can then make improvements to products, staff allocation in various departments and services, and so on.

24) Webrooming becomes more common than showrooming (69% to 46% respectively), according to Harris poll.

– Millennials prefer webrooming.

– Amazon remains #1 destination for both showrooming and webrooming.

– Emerging connected in-store experiences link online and offline, leveraging both.

25) Mass personalization and full funnel marketing suites reset vendor landscape and change how brands “think” and work.

Brands and agencies start to think about” full funnel marketing” and new “experience cloud” suites will take shape to unite marketing, service and CRM.

New adtech companies will focus on strategy + programmatic context, content AND ads.

Optimized mobile affiliate tracking capabilities.

Publishers will offer in-house capabilities for behaviorally programmatic targeting of premium advertising.

Omni-Channel finally becomes mainstream. Brands must think like their customers to create seamless omni-channel shopping experiences that keep customers engaged at all stages.

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119 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “25 Disruptive Technology Trends for 2015 – 2016”

  1. Si Muddell says:

    Really useful article – thanks

  2. Puranjay says:

    You’re right on the money about messaging apps becoming the ‘new social media’. I also predict that we will see a localization of different demos on different social media sites. Facebook for non-digital natives, Instagram/Snapchat for millennials, etc. Messaging apps, because they are private and group-oriented, will be the common meeting ground, where mom and dad and talk to their kids, and the kids can plan weekend parties with their friends

  3. simblor says:

    In 2015 I’m hoping people stop using ‘disruptive’ as an adjective. I don’t disagree with your list though Brian, very useful.

  4. gina smith says:

    This is great, Brian.

  5. Mirko Plitt says:

    Some of these predictions are wrong and other important trends are missing.
    Unfortunately, I don’t know which ones.

  6. anna451 says:

    Who digs in the dirt to supply the raw material for all this uh madness,we are flesh and blood.

  7. says:

    Great list Brian, some of them inspiring for the forthcoming months. I have a question for you: imagine I give you the best know-how in cross-platform mobile-optimized development, with a team capable of integrating any form of rich media & communicating with third-party APIs + the teck stack to run a cross-platform messenger-like experience, which service would you launch with such an amazing team asset ? 😉 (note: we’ve launched our first experiment as a mobile web app to create mobile web apps

  8. Dave Smith says:

    Google glass have proven not to be a successful data delivery system at the near eye area. So what makes anyone think that putting a beam splitter in a helmet will work. LMAO. What is the point of having a great APP if you can’t see it?

    • briansolis says:

      I don’t think Google Glass failed at data delivery because of the placement of the glass….
      Try the helmet. I rode with it. I want it back.

    • Dave Smith says:

      How did you manage to get the beam splitter to stream the light onto your retina and have the helmet fitted correctly while riding?

    • Dave Smith says:

      Strange that you haven’t managed to answer this simple question??

    • briansolis says:

      Not strange at all. Visit the HQ. Try it on.

    • Dave Smith says:

      Even more strange.. You haven’t answered my question.?

    • Dave Smith says:

      Brian.. Does this mean that you didn’t actually ride out with the helmet on and only had it on your head while stationary?

    • briansolis says:

      hi dave, i’ve ridden with it. do you work for a competitor? your behavior is strange. if there’s another helmet i should try, let me know. i’m open to testing all of them and making my decision from there.
      perhaps this one?

    • Dave Smith says:

      Hi Brian.. Thanks for that and yes I do work for a Helmet brand Called REEVU. Its a real helmet with a rear vision part made of Non rigid construction so it will Pass a Test. NOT GLASS. I know you are a tech Guru but don’t know a great deal about helmets and helmet construction. So let me explain. Having a beam splitter in a helmet as Skully’s Patents confirm is not the way to achieve rear vision in a helmet. Projecting light onto your retina from a beam splitter is also not a good idea while driving and the reason the DfT banned its use. The ECE 22.05 Certificate that Skully say they already have achieved is questionable considering you can’t block the clear way. See attached image. Selling helmets to consumers stating that a product has already achieved some of the regulated standards is an offence in the UK and something that the UK authorities are looking into. We aren’t aware of what is happening in the USA, but we see Skullys latest pictures it has lost its DOT sticker??

    • briansolis says:

      Hi Dave, communication is a better approach. Thank you for this reply. If you need a beta tester in Silicon Valley, please send one along. My email is brian at altimetergroup dot com

    • Dave Smith says:

      Hi Brian. I do the social media at REEVU. I was interested in trying out a Skully helmet and I thought it would make a great addition to my collection. But I know that any helmet imported into the UK has to have UN ECE 22.05 as a minimum standard so I asked the Skully people on face book for their Test Certificate NUMBER. I was barred? I mentioned this to the head of production here Mark and he told me that the Skully was a very interesting product that would never come to market due to the BEAM splitter Tech as he mentioned it was already banned for driving. He said he had already checked out the Skully Patents and that it stated that they didn’t use a beam splitter. So I started digging, seems like there are a lot of things about Skully that are contradicting the PR. this picture shows that to position the beam splitter at right angles to the eye the Helmet isn’t fitted correctly, and the helmet has now lost its DOT sticker. I will pass your e mail onto one of our marketing people so they can touch base.

    • Dave Smith says:

      Hi Brian.. Have you heard anything about the development as it seems a lot of they first adopters aren’t been kept informed.

  9. X-7 says:

    Here’s an innovation for complex network Relationship-Value calibration that terminates the increasingly destructive, archaic value calibration tech called monetary code. The short version: Re Reach: Software code is to monetary code as alphabet code is to pictograph code . . .
    A fundamental structural problem with the economy not addressed by pop media views the economy in a physics / evolution context, involves code and complexity.
    Complexity: our species’ reach in and across the geo, eco, bio, cultural & tech
    networks is unprecedented. We added about 5.5 billion people since 1915, many
    using exponentially more powerful techs, further extending our reach. We don’t
    have a cultural genome, i.e., a set of coding structures that sufficiently
    matches that reach, including monetary code.
    A threat to our survival, because:
    “The rule of thumb is that the complexity of the organism has to match the
    complexity of the environment at all scales in order to increase the likelihood
    of survival.” Yaneer Bar-Yam –“Making Things Work”
    CODE: Entropy-generated, efficacious-in-physics infrastructure for complex network relationships.
    “The story of human intelligence starts with a universe that is capable of encoding
    information.” Ray Kurzweil
    Genetic and epigenetic code / Bio network;
    Language (spoken & written), moral, religious, mathematical, legal, etiquette &
    monetary codes / Cultural network;
    Software code / Tech network.
    COMPLEXITY: Accelerating exponentially.
    “There were 5 exabytes of information created by the entire world between the dawn of civilization and 2003; now that same amount is created every two days.” Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO
    Whole new worlds every two days and humans are asked to configure the Value of nearly ALL current relationships in and across geo, eco, bio, cultural, tech networks, not only short-term relationships but long term as well, like what increases in carbon will do to various networks, using a 5,000?-year-old tech or coding structure: monetary code. Ain’t working. Can’t.
    Religious, legal, & moral codes are also strained by complexity.
    In the transition from simple hunter-gatherer social structures to the exponentially more complex information architecture of city-states, we added writing, legal, etiquette, and monetary coding structures to our cultural genome.
    “A technology can only be pressed so far it runs into some limitation.” Brian
    Arthur — “The Nature of Technology”
    Complexity, which includes knowledge accruement, has reduced the efficacy of monetary code, as it’s done with much of religious code, 1988 software code, 1388 legal code, etc.
    Need to “redomain” our cultural genome as we did in the transition to city-states, part of which will be to bring innovation to our coding structures for relationship value calibration.
    Monetary code: too slow, weak, inaccurate code — contributes to network disruption in the form of obesity, infrastructure decay, climate change, income disparity, exponential extinction, etc.

  10. Adrian Brown says:

    I agree with your take on emerging connected instore experiences linking on line and off line to leverage both – this will be vital in people to people service led businesses such as hospitality retail, restaurants, and services like hair and beauty

  11. John Allred says:

    Very nice information, a lot of things to learn from this article. Thanks for sharing.

  12. YouTube is the new Hollywood. Most brands cannot think with this or dismiss your comment as something sensational and untrue.

  13. Marketing Sweet says:

    Great article Brian! Your prediction for social media was spot on! It has definitely become an instant news feed with stagnant information only being used on websites.

  14. dduggerbiocepts says:

    Brian, you need a course in macro economics and a far better understanding of critical resource limitation impacts on not only demographic economics, but technological problem solving and application economic limitations in the future. Most of your projections will be limited by these realities. First clue is that bandwidth is not keeping up with technologies you are forecasting making them improbable at best, and or impossible at worst – which is caused by global macro-economic limitations.

  15. Great article! I’ve read a lot these topics lately. Self-driving cars and delivery drones seem to be more in the here and now instead of really forward thinking technology. Definitely more focused on increasing AI & Cognitive Computing in the future (as I am an AI major). I found another great article on STEM Match as well.

    That one has some similarities to yours. Check it out! Thanks for the write-up!

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