Whew, it’s December already. In mere weeks many of us will be enjoying our summer break and celebrating Christmas, and before you know it, we'll be rejuvenated and ready launch straight into 2015!
But before we get there, we can’t leave 2014 without acknowledging what a huge year it has been in the tech and communication world.
For our second last post of the year, we want to recap some of the biggest and the best technological changes and growth affecting the way we do business.
Let's take a look at the year that was!
Move to mobile, where smartphones are smarter (...and bigger!)
How can we mention mobile without acknowledging two of the biggest and most recognised smartphone releases of the year? Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus — released in April and September respectively — once again kept competition between these two tech giants hot!
Samsung shipped 11 million Galaxy S5 to retailers within the first month, while Apple sold 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units in its opening weekend!
The larger screens enable us to do more on our phones, and to do it comfortably. It’s a mobile world. We can’t ignore that anymore!
The astonishing capabilities of smartphones shifted the office to a mobile, ‘anytime-anywhere’ model, where emails can be checked on the go, documents can be edited via a multitude of devices, and almost always the only thing you’d ever need was an internet connection.
The interconnected world keeps getting stronger.
An “always-on” world
The traditional 9-5 has moved from a benchmark to a mere guideline.
Between the number of workers choosing to work from home, remotely, or travelling more often, to technologies offering endless communication methods, to changing attitudes and preferences, we have the chance to customise our working hours to fit the rest of our lives, and not the other way around.
Businesses will submerge themselves into cloud computing!
We sure saw this one coming! So what happened this year?
— The cloud computing industry grew to $150 billion
— There are 50 million servers in the world today working tirelessly to deliver your data and documents as you need them!
— 90% of businesses have adopted cloud computing (to various degrees)
— 94% of businesses say their cloud solution has produced security benefits
The Internet of Things (finally) became a reality
We’ve been waiting a little while for this one.
The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a number of opportunities in terms of added convenience and better usability. IoT is a development of everyday objects (even household items) with the ability to send and receive data over a network without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
An example we've used before to help illustrate this concept is the GlowCaps prescription bottle. A wireless chip works within the bottle to make light and sound when it’s time for a user to take their medication. It can also sync with a mobile device to send reminder messages, and a button on the bottle alerts your pharmacy that you need a refill.
Many of these sorts of devices have the aim of making people and home smarter and safer. Read more examples of the Internet of Things here.
Wearables have been drifting in and out of the news for the past few years, but 2014 has been the year when people have sat up a little straighter and focused a little more when they hear about these devices.
Wearables come in a range of objects, from the typical and well-known glasses (thank you, Google Glass!) and smart watches (and thank you, Apple Watch!) Wearables also include wrist bands, fitness socks, clothing and jewellery.
BYOD becomes more than just “a smartphone in the office”
It fact, it’s expanding beyond the office and beyond smartphones. Talk to any parent of a teenager in high school and you’ll come across many whose schools encourage students to bring their smartphone, tablet or laptop of choice into the classroom and base much of the education program around accessing information from, and working directly on, these devices. This conveniently leads us to the next point...
...where individuals have the opportunity and are encouraged to work the way they want. Ever heard of the term the YOUniverse? (Clever, huh?) It’s much more than a cheeky play on words though: it allows us to tap into our emotional desire to be recognised as individuals with different strengths and weaknesses.
Personalisation means we are naturally moving away from standardised, traditional tactics in favour of individualised preferences, allowing us to play towards our strengths, and thereby increase our productivity, improve the way we work, and boost our work morale!
The growth in popularity of wearables can too be linked to the desire to personalise the way we store and access information.
The benefits of video conferencing makes it a standard form of communication
Ah, business travel. In the beginning it was fun and a bit of a novelty, then it became tedious and we began realising the lost hours we would never get back travelling between (sometimes drastic) time zones.
Then came a little thing called Lifesize. To say it has changed business communication would be an understatement. There are a slew of benefits of video conferencing, but to sum up, it allows you to save money and time, while also providing you with crystal clear audio and video - no skipping, no delayed sound, no random drop outs. Just video conversations that are as good as real life meetings - its simplicity is surpassed only by its quality.
And with video conferencing solutions in the cloud and on-premise, there’s a resolution for businesses of all sizes.
Looking back at what we’ve covered, several of these were a long time coming. It seems a few of them needed that last push to launch, and 2014 was perhaps the year they were waiting for.
And what a year it has been.
We can’t wait to see what 2015 brings us!