Right or Wrong? 2015 tech trends forecasts revisited

This time last year, I made my predictions for 2015 but really my timing was shocking: far better to ‘predict’ now what would work, armed with the 20:20 benefit of hindsight.

So how did I do? I said, sounding a bit like a broken record on this theme, that I didn’t think 3D printing would go anywhere fast. The category is, arguably, growing, admittedly, but from a small base. The Wall Street Journal reported in August that leaders like Stratasys and 3D Systems were experiencing problems and that the consumer sector wasn’t proving to be where the action was.

Instead, as I have long argued, it effectively worked out that this is a niche market that has been horribly overhyped. The Journal wasn’t alone: Time magazine earlier in the year asked: Was 3D printing just a passing fad? Generally it’s fair to say that this was the year when people stopped boosting 3D printing as the Next Big Thing. Even if you’ve already bought a 3D printer there’s a good chance it’s in the shed or the attic, largely unused and unloved. Now, perhaps, the industry can grow up without the unnecessary hoopla.

I also predicted the decline of mini tablets. Apple helped me by announcing a huge new iPad Pro. I still think that smaller-screen devices are a daft compromise when ‘phablets’ are available but then sales across tablets generally were down right from the beginning of 2015 as buyers saw little reason to replace earlier models.

I also foresaw the end of e-readers although to be fair sales were already declining now I look for supporting data. And, as the New York Times noted, there may be twist in the tale (or tale of the unexpected) as sales of print books bounce back.

I predicted that the Apple Watch would sell in droves so long as it was even half decent – which it did and which it was, although there are always the eternal moaners wondering why even more millions of units didn’t shift.

I thought 2015 might finally be a breakthrough year for location-based services. It wasn’t and my sense is that this is an area that needs a big app – something bold and new that will pull consumers to places based on automated alerts. Facebook’s Friends Nearby hasn’t been that.

I argued that Microsoft would have a pivotal year and so it did, making a series of bold announcements. Whether it has made the right bets remains to be seen, however.

What else?

I suggested this might be a big year for M&A and Michael Dell kindly helped me out with the biggest tech deal in history but just as notable was the splitting up of HP and Symantec.

I tipped GoPro to grow and so it did although there were plain signs at the end of the year that, like the tablet market, a saturation point might be hard by.

Finally, I said there was no need for another social network such as Ello. Today I can’t even recall what Ello is/was… and I haven’t even had a drink yet.


Read more:

3D printing: the Emperor’s New Clothes

The Apple Watch versus a negative media

Microsoft CEO seeks a new Visual Basic for the new digital age

Dell-EMC: The simple guide to a complex deal

Dell-EMC: What happens next?


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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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