Distributing Trends

It’s that time of year where everyone is getting excited… no, not about Christmas but rather trends in technology for the coming year. Here, the bigwigs at Exertis have given us their take on trends to look out for in 2015!

Simon Woodman, Head of Exertis Mobile

“Exertis is always looking ahead, studying trends, watching technologies, chasing innovations, all simply so that we can stay ahead of the game at the cutting edge of our industry sector, keeping our channel up to date with the latest insight into the mobile world.

“In 2015 we can expect to see wearable technology moving to the fore in mobile and IT as it cements itself even further into the market, particularly in the health and fitness arena which is being driven along at a furious pace by smartphone apps. These apps are crying out for health bands and smartwatches to enhance their capability, and end users are really excited to be part of it, seeing real benefits and having a lot of fun with these technologies.

“Machine to machine is going to also become more popular as people take their wearables and realise how simple and useful it can be to be able to connect things to their smartphone; the Internet of Things is going to start on people’s wrists and will move to their homes in 2015 and Exertis is ready to help the channel guide its customers.

“On connecting things together, Microsoft’s Windows platform has made steady progress in the enterprise over 2014 and I expect this to continue at a faster pace in 2015 as companies immerse themselves in the Microsoft ecosystem, from Lumia smartphones and tablets to the desktop.

“On devices, I predict we will see more integration beyond the device on all platforms, where the smartphone becomes the remote control for your life; the hub that everything else centres around. Because of this, I expect to see more phablet-type devices as the screen size these smartphones possess is a happy medium between the average smartphone and a tablet, plus better battery life, better graphics, and cooler functionalities.

“Mobile will become, even more than it is now, the first thing we reach for in the morning when we wake, the first thing we grab as we leave the house, and the first thing we need when we want to just sit down and relax.”

Fridolin Engel, Head of Conect

“With Microsoft’s push towards mobility in 2015, traditional IT partners as well as those in the mobile space will be embracing airtime, ensuring delivery of a complete proposition to their customers including devices, connectivity and applications in addition to their existing fully managed service support offering.

“The key to the success of the IT market’s diversification will be the ease of partner engagement and the on-boarding process of airtime into an existing portfolio, ensuring that any preconceived fears of airtime are overcome and the service partnerships are seamless and lucrative. Conect will be offering a tiered partnering structure, starting with a referral offering progressing up to full airtime partner status and the ability to connect to all the major networks.

“Businesses have become much more comfortable with subscription service models and leasing propositions. Hardware as a service is now becoming a standard approach for financing large projects. With the significant upcoming reduction in the cost of tablets we anticipate the demand for connected tablets to soar in 2015. These will be wrapped with an application suite including Office 365, mobile device management (MDM) services and network data connectivity, all charged at a competitive monthly fee. Conect will be offering a number of hardware-as-a-service solutions throughout 2015.

“In addition, the suite of digital services being released by the networks to complement their primary propositions will be of paramount importance in differentiation throughout 2015. With mast sharing agreements aiding the coverage debate, products such as Wi-Fi calling and Tu-Go offering great coverage and international calling solutions, in addition to the evolution of strong security and machine to machine (M2M) services, the critical element is to ensure that partners have access to a distribution partner that can provide the knowledge and support to capitalise on the opportunity these products offer the IT market.”

Ewan Davis, Head of Devices

“In 2015 iPhone’s will continue to dominate the cool stakes, however I believe that all tier one vendors will be much closer in terms of marketshare. There is no denying the power of Android, which is the market leader for mobile devices in most if not all countries. Covering a broad range of brands and a wide scope of price points, Android is the one to be reckoned with.

“Meanwhile, Microsoft will go from strength to strength in handsets and tablets over 2015, with both B2B and B2C really starting to embrace the Windows operating system. With the Windows ecosystem ranging across desktops, laptops and notebooks to tablets and smartphones, this year is going to be about the continued rise of this platform as more enterprises embrace its end to end functionality.

“As the SIM-free market continues to grow, consumers and businesses alike will stop looking for a big bundle and a long contract from a single mobile operator, and will instead strive for value. This separation of device from airtime and data gives the tier two smartphone and tablet brands a fighting chance of gaining traction in a very brand-orientated market, as price becomes more important for people putting together their own custom package of mobility. However, the tablet market will continue to be fiercely competitive, which I believe will push more manufacturers to consider their future in this space. It isn’t necessarily for everyone.

“I believe consumers are now looking for the next wave of technology to arrive in 2015 and for vendors to be really successful, we have to see a greater of depth of innovation. These points of differentiation across multiple price points will ensure that the really innovative manufacturers come out on top, not only in 2015 but also in years to come. This is about delivering unique, useful, logical yet amazing technology to help end user lives better through their relationship with their mobile device, be it smartphone or tablet.”

Joe Officer, Head of Attach and wearable tech

“Wearable technology, connected homes, Internet of Things; over the last couple of years we have heard these phrases used time and time again but 2015 will be the year that these phrases actually come to life.

“Wearable technology is developing so fast and whether you see it as a smartphone companion or a standalone piece of technology to help improve your health and wellbeing, it will undoubtedly be a key driver for 2015, particularly the mobile health category, which to date has dominance over smartwatches. A recent report from industry analysts GFK, with data covering January to September 2014, shows that in the UK there were 163,000 health and fitness tracker units shipped totalling 39% share of the wearable UK market, and 111,000 wrist sport computers shipped with 26% of the market.

“These wearables stand against smartwatches with 46,500 units shipped for 11% of the market. Smartwatches will become more fashionable and there will be significant improvements on battery life over 2015, which will enable them to gain more traction by this time next year.

“However, smart bands and trackers will still be much more popular this time 2015, thanks to a continued focused on health and fitness apps.

“With the addition of all these devices it is only a matter of time before a real security issue hits. With that in mind I believe that 2015 is going to see the start of genuine customer awareness around the need for mobile antivirus software. In November we heard about Chinese malware hitting secure iOS devices; this was the first big virus to hit iPhone’s, and it probably won’t be the last for manufacturers operating in the smartphone world. Mobile security is definitely going to be on the agenda for all in 2015.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine