While most economists are optimistic about 2015, right now can we honestly say that we feel we are on an up-swing? Going holiday shopping today, you can see that prices are higher than ever and this is even with gasoline dropping to entice shoppers to spend. Food is expensive but clothes are cheap; we are starting to see trends. But economists will always have New Year predictions and the end of 2014 brings nothing new in that aspect.
In 2015, we will see technology advances just like every other year. With the debut of Apple’s smart watch, we will start to see the Internet of Things’ integration into our everyday life. In laymen’s terms, the IoT is the connection of all of our everyday devices to act together for our benefit. This could be your alarm talking to your coffee machine or your car’s GPS talking to your thermostat and even extends to sensors on the body for certain types of “smart” activities or tasks.
I am sure you never thought to do the math, but our economy has never so many people in the workforce over 60-years-old. This will make a huge impact on the job market and the way that employers do business. With such a skill shortage, employers will extend their hands to the experiences of older colleagues, because let’s be honest, the retirement age these days could easily be 78 instead of 63. Take notice of those in your office with extensive knowledge and expertise and be prepared to count on them for many years to come.
With so many hacks lately being geared toward businesses and corporations, security will be paramount in the coming months. It is true that when Sony’s Hollywood Studios was hacked a few weeks ago every document that Sony ever put into a computer could be read by the hackers and therefore by anyone they chose to release it to; in this case it was the world. Hacks like these could really just be beginning and huge companies like Amazon and PayPal better watch out – the reasons for these hacks seem random at best and vengeful at worst. Just watch out for security increases and remember to do some of your own as well.
Have you ever heard of neuromarketing? Neuromarketing essentially uses sensors on consumers’ neurons to see what marketing works and what doesn’t work. Large trials are thought to be able to change how we sell and buy. Think of it as 21st Century focus groups with detailed medical data to back it up. Pretty cool, from a business owner’s perspective, eh? It is an industry tool being used by the big boys as in Google, CBS and Frito-Lay; these kinds of companies tend to have their own departments with laboratories of their own.
Mobile is king, at least in 2015. Hey, that rhymed! Seriously, I know we have discussed this at length but it is still true and even more so in the coming months. Mobile continues to become more and more important to consumers and therefore to businesses. Businesses have to be privy to the ever-evolving need to make the customer experience the best it can possibly be. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, of course, but your e-mails as well. Throw in location-specific GPS for sales, coupons and promotions and you’ve pretty much blown desktops and laptops out of the water in one fell swoop.
Most of these things were not difficult to spot in the crystal ball. After all, mobile usage has been on the rise for decades and sooner-or-later my fridge and toaster were going to have a conversation, but the age-expanding workforce and sensor-driven sales pitches do have us all scratching our heads a bit. To think of what else could possibly be in store for the next 12 and a half months that we can’t fathom now? Perhaps those sound-barrier-blasting trains or delivery drones? What a time to be alive!