Year in review: What tech trends took off in 2015

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Tech Trends of 2015 - CentrixWe are now in a time when technology can redefine how one industry can affect another. How a new business model challenges an existing/traditional one. Think of how AirBNB is disrupting the hotel industry or how Netflix is changing the TV/film industry.

Technology has definitely blurred the lines on what a business can do. A small business can now compete with its bigger competitors by simply being smart about its technology investments.

That being said, let’s look back at the key technology trends that we saw in IT/business this year.

First, let’s talk about the key trends we’ve seen emerge this year in terms of what technology business is adopting and other tech influences:

1. Cloud – Gartner believes that the most transformational digital workplace productivity technologies will be available only from the Cloud by 2018. Perhaps this is the reason why businesses are moving their workloads to the cloud. But this is not only about Software as a service (SaaS). According to research firm Telsyte, uptake of cloud computing within Australian organisations continues to grow strongly with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) attracting the highest spending increase in 2015. Whilst more than half of all organisations with greater than 20 employees are now using public cloud IaaS for at least some part of their IT infrastructure. The research also uncovered latent demand for cloud networking which is rising to prominence alongside server and storage IaaS with more than half of CIOs looking to adopt Networking-as-a-Service (NaaS) in the future. 

2. Increasing frustration with internet speeds and capacity – with more businesses transferring their files, storage and even software applications to the cloud we are noticing increasing frustrations with Internet performance.  Australia lags behind other nations when it comes to high performing internet infrastructure.  Performance is starting to improve in regional areas due to the roll out of the National Broadband Network (NBN), but it will be almost 2 years until we start to see increased performance consistently in metro areas. 

3. Mobile – As Aussies turn to their smartphones and tablets for many things especially shopping, more and more businesses are increasing their mobile presence with tactics such as responsive or mobile-optimised websites and mobile apps. Recent survey results support these strategies: 

ACMA Australian Digital Lives Report 2014

* 70% of Australians go online with a mobile phone

* 50% of Australians go online with a tablet

* 68% of Australians access the internet using 3 or more devices

* 23% of Australians access the internet using 5 or more devices

AIMIA Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index 2014

* 51% of Australians are happy to receive offers on their mobile device from brands they like

* 73% of Australians have made a purchase on a tablet

* 58% of Australians have made a purchase on a smartphone

* 34% of Australians would like to use their phone as a credit card

IAB / Nielsen Mobile Panel Pilot 2014

* 86% of Australians’ mobile time is spent on apps.

* More than half of Australians’ digital screen is spent on mobile devices

With the latest introduction of Apple Pay to Australia, albeit only for Amex cardholders for now, opens up a new market for the mobile payment service that every business should seek to take advantage of. 

4. Social Media – Social media has and still continues to play an important role with how businesses connect with their market. In the latest study by Sensis, it revealed that 49% of SMEs and 45% of large businesses say they have invested money in social media.

Meanwhile, there are:

* 32% of Australians use social media to follow brands and businesses,

* 20% who access offers and promotions, and

* 19% who conduct research about products and services they want which means they are willing to engage.

In terms of social media advertising, the attitudes are mixed:

* 32% liked sponsored posts from businesses they follow

* 38% don’t mind seeing ads

* 42% click on ads occasionally to find out more

Safe to say that paid advertising or sponsorship is reasonably effective for targeting consumers of interest.

5. Big Data/Analytics – Early this year analyst firm Gartner identified business intelligence and analytics as the top tech priority of many businesses in Australia and New Zealand for 2015. Highlighting the increase in investments on BI and analytics software by more than 12% from 2014. Gartner predicts spending will continue to rise to double digit growth by 2018, reaching $21.4 billion worldwide. More than half of the new investments in business intelligence software, they say, are going to data discovery and self-service. The role of BI has clearly shifted from being something to help monitor and manage the organisation, to information itself being a monetised product or revenue stream. Take for example Coles and Woolworths. These two giants have invested heavily in transaction-analytics systems to track customer spending and lure them in-store with personalised discounts and special offers.  

Other technologies that continue to play a vital role in transforming businesses in Australia are:

* Enterprise collaboration tools – More than ever businesses are turning to collaboration tools for a cost-effective, more secure and productive work environment. A business now has more options when it comes to collaboration software and video conferencing solutions.

* BYOD – With the unstoppable growth of mobile adoption and usage comes the need to adapt a solid strategy for devices that enter the workplace.

* Robotics – According to Deloitte, the next robotics frontier is machines which can perform tasks that involve gathering and interpreting data in real time. Examples include autonomous cars, drones, remote surgical equipment, and so on.

* 3D – This is one technology that experts believe can revive Australia’s manufacturing industry. In fact, we are now seeing serious investments being done by large organisations such CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) which recently established an advanced 3D printing facility here with the hopes of accelerating the country’s manufacturing industry.

* NFC (Near Field Communications) – This is becoming a reality in Australia via beacons. The beacons are already transforming our retail industry with brands and marketers embracing the technology for its effectiveness in in-store marketing campaigns.

They say to compete effectively, businesses must adapt and evolve quickly to respond to what is becoming the new ‘norm’. However, it’s also important that as a business owner you must think ahead and consider how the technology you invest in will play in your overall strategy. In other words, don’t waste your money on one technology that doesn’t fit your business strategy.

If you need help figuring out the best technologies for your business, schedule a free consultation with us.