The new year is upon us, and here at V3 we've been looking into our crystal ball to see what the most important technology events and trends will be during 2015. Each of the team has picked what they are most looking forward to this year in the technology industry, and what they are most concerned about.
Editor Madeline Bennett
The Internet of Things (IoT) has certainly been in the limelight throughout 2014, but I think 2015 will be the year it gains momentum in the real world.
While the technology is now starting to creep into our homes and businesses, via smart lighting or heating systems, and monitoring of anything from earthquake tremors to parking spaces, use cases in the real world are not widespread, as evidenced by the results of research we carried out in May 2014.
Over half of firms said the IoT won't have any impact on their organisation and they don't have any plans to make use of the technology, according to the survey of IT professionals.
The main obstacle cited in our survey to IoT deployment was a lack of understanding of the benefits. But with continuing efforts from firms like Intel and Cisco to offer practical use cases, along with vendors grouping together to work on common IoT standards such as HyperCat and Open Interconnect Consortium, and technology developments meaning the IoT can be deployed more easily and cheaply, 2015 should definitely see a greater number of businesses getting onboard to start planning their IoT strategies.
And as if all that wasn't enough, there's just the small matter of the Apple Watch due out in early 2015 that could give the whole IoT market a boost.
The advent of the first Apple smartwatch will no doubt see wearables entering the consumer and enterprise markets in rapid fashion, on the wrist of any discerning executive or teenager, and firms will be quick to realise the value that all this data being collected and potentially analysed could hold.
And the thing I'm least looking forward to this year? Aside from the smug look on the faces of the first Apple Watch owners, it has to be further delays to the much-hyped smartwatch.
The current release date is slated for March 2015 at the earliest, and as I think this wearable device will have a key role in kickstarting the IoT market, any further delays will have a knock-on effect on the IoT and its benefits for business.
Technology editor Dan Robinson
Possibly the biggest thing to look forward to in 2015 is the introduction of Windows 10. A great deal is riding on the next version of Microsoft's platform following the mistakes made in Windows 8, especially as many question whether there is any longer a requirement for a monolithic desktop operating system.
In response, Microsoft is looking to make Windows 10 a cross-platform experience that will enable applications to run across desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices, although not necessarily with a single user interface.
All we have seen so far is a technical preview that shows what most PC users will see, but this looks encouraging, bringing back the Start menu familiar from previous Windows releases and enabling legacy and Windows Store apps.
Microsoft now appears to be aiming to launch Windows 10 sometime in the second half of 2015, but we are likely to see more disclosures and preview releases ahead of that date.
Senior reporter Alastair Stevenson
The security community has long warned companies and governments that it is not a matter of if, but of when you will be targeted by hackers and suffer a data breach.
Yet despite the common understanding of this fact, numerous firms are still sticking their heads in the sand and maintaining a shame culture when it comes to admitting to a data breach.
The reasons for this are cultural and financial, as many firms fear the implications of a data breach on profit margins.
Worse still, even with the increased threats facing them, many firms are continuing to use outdated cyber defence technologies and strategies, meaning that breaches to businesses of all sizes are likely to be one of 2015's biggest problems.
Luckily, there is a silver lining on the horizon via the government-sponsored Cyber Insurance programme.
The programme was unveiled by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude in November and will see the government partner with 12 major insurers, including Marsh, to create "a comprehensive cyber security insurance model".
If successful the model will not only offer firms an incentive to be more open about data breaches, as they should be covered financially if they are hit, but will offer incentives for businesses to adopt robust security models by reducing the premium for those following cyber security best practice.
With this in mind, the Cyber Insurance programme could be one of the best things to arrive in 2015.
News editor Dan Worth
Looking forward to 2015, one area that will be interesting to monitor will be the rise of flexible working, incorporating home working, on-the-go working and being in the office as and when relevant, rather than all day, every day of the week.
This will continue to become an accepted part of the working culture in the UK, and technology, including improvements in network connectivity seen throughout 2014, will play a big part.
This will unquestionably help more people to live and work in different parts of the country, rather than being forced to work in cities, which are increasingly unable to take the strain.
The negative for 2015 that I have no doubt will come to pass will be the government’s use of the wash-up period before the General Election to rush through more legislation to let the state monitor people based on their IP address.
This is exactly what happened in 2010 with the Digital Economy Act, and seems to be playing out again this time around.
Reporter Roland Moore-Colyer
It has already been noted that the tide is changing for women in the technology industry, and I believe that 2015 will see that change accelerate.
Having discussed the topic with high-flying Salesforce executive Melissa Di Donato, I believe the technology industry will see more vocal and visible female role models who will inspire more women to enter the industry, along with encouraging female technologists to excel in their careers.
With the introduction of coding as a compulsory subject in English schools, both genders will have equal opportunities to learn the digital skills they will need for careers in technology, thereby opening up the industry to a more diverse set of people.
In contrast to this positive change, 2015 is not likely to be kind to several of the longstanding ‘old-guard' technology companies, which have failed to excite the markets over the past year.
HP has already announced plans to split in two to better target specific parts of the technology industry, which it is struggling to do as a hardware and software behemoth.
Security firm Symantec followed HP's example, splitting the security units from the information management arm.
Other technology giants seem to be doggedly holding on to their traditional business strategies, despite thumping losses.
BlackBerry even released the ergonomically-absurd Passport smartphone despite the company's lacklustre performance in the mobile hardware market.
It is unlikely that these large companies will fail, but I highly doubt that 2015 is going to be the year they flourish.
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