Technology, innovation and 2015There has already been several people, much smarter than me, offering predictions for the next year (my favourite is Fred Wilson's look back at last year and look forward to the next) which you should probably read rather than mine, but here we are anyway, so lets go with a few thoughts on 2015 and onward..
TelevisionI have written about this for a while, and the battle for the living room will continue to rumble on. I'm not sure if we will start to see one or two winners fighting it out this year, but I can only see this area getting more interesting. NetFlix, Amazon Instant, NowTV have established themselves as the more dominant on demand providers but that is only a part of the battle - there is still the problem of platform fragmentation (no common platform across devices/TVs/etc to run consistent experience apps - some devices not being able to support updating OD apps etc). Android has a real opportunity to tackle this problem, given that pretty much all content providers already support the Android platform in smaller sizes, but let's see what they do. If they can become the defacto television/set-top box OS it would be a big win for them, but would also mean that device manufacturers & content providers don't need to worry about building & supporting their apps for a range of platforms and can focus on building the best experience on a single platform.
There is also the question as to the role of the actual TV device - will it be a smart device with a dedicated platform, or will it become dumber that just streams content from any other mobile device.
EnterpriseThere has been some hype around Enterprise startups growing over the last 12 months, and this will also slowly increase - as has always been the way with enterprise, things have been very slow in terms of adoption and businesses and executive teams generally very wary about adopting new technologies until they are really widely adopted and proven - but this is starting to change. As more and more areas of business are starting to be disrupted by upcoming startups, more established businesses are starting to adopt technology more quickly to try and stay in the game, and more and more starting to spin off departments/teams from the business to operate as micro-startups to help drive innovation. I think with this trend for bigger businesses becoming more willing to adopt new tech continuing, we will see some big noise in the enterprise/SaaS areas.
FinTechSimilar to wider enterprise trends, the banks and financial institutions are starting to become more aware of the risk and trends in their business with more and more people starting to expect better/different ways to do business. From the larger tech of Bitcoin through to ApplePay, Square etc I think we will see continued innovation and surprises from the bigger players as well as a whole host of startups snapping at their heels. With London currently the world FinTech capital it could be an interesting year here.
EducationThis is an area I am interested in and have written about on a few occassions. I'm not sure this will really be a big area in 2015, there certainly aren'y any startups I am aware of that look like they might make really big waves in the year, but here's hoping. Either way, there are still interesting things going on - there is the continued change in the UK curriculum with things like the "hour of code" and the continued drive to put more tech on the curriculum. Plus, I have recently spoken to two startups recently that are doing interesting things in the education mobile app space: Zzish and kahoot - they are both working on mobile app/web platforms for the classroom with a bunch of tools to help teachers and children learn and work together.
The rest..I agree with many of the other observations on Fred Wilson et al's writing - continued growth, acquisitions and big IPOs from the current crop of big startups will continue (AirBnB, Uber etc).
Companies like Xiaomi will continue to grow and hopefully come and start to be real contenders in the western markets (even if the Xiaomi laptops have been leaks, I'm still interested to see if they do come with a laptop anything like the leaked specs.. could get interesting!)
As Fred Wilson mentions, and as I have previously written, I don't think wearables are really ready to be a thing. Still more work needed on how these will fit into the market, and I don't think that will be happening in 2015.