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2015 Year in “PreReview” in Technology

By December 15, 2014Article

Editor’s note: Amberoon’s annual “Year in PreReview” articles for SandHill are a spoof on technology predictions. 

The summer of 2015 marked the release of the blockbuster Sci-fi movie, “Terminator Genisys,” which grossed a record $350 million at the box office and further popularized the notion of time travel. In addition to sequels and prequels, Hollywood has now adopted plots for movies in which the audience can choose among alternate storylines and follow them to their logical conclusion. The future, as we know it, is plural. This year in our PreReview of 2015, we once again present a few alternative scenarios for the future from our vantage point at the end of 2014. 

New business models created by emerging technologies and unforeseen partnerships dominated the headlines in 2015.  Trending technologies such as the Internet of Things approached half the level of big data during 2015. Trending terms in the mainstream media such as drones and Bitcoin scored high in Google trends. 

Here are three headlines from 2015 that caught our attention.

FedEx launches “parcelopter” service for 50-minute delivery 

This is a premium delivery service powered by drones launched in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles to deliver gifts for the 2015 holiday season. A TV ad campaign for Parcelopter shows a real-time broadcast of a recipient opening the package viewed by the sender on a smartphone a few thousand miles away. It also shows a logistics team at FedEx headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, which includes 20 drone pilots coordinating deliveries. FedEx is expected to parlay its holiday season experience and associated data to gain competitive advantage in its logistics business. 

Drone cameras that can capture images at resolution of 2 cm are widely projected to replace satellite imagery (with 30 cm resolution) as a source of geospatial data in the future. FedEx field-tested the operations of drone delivery in downtown Manhattan for emergency medical supplies for seven hospitals in October, soon after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a set of regulatory guidelines for the commercial use of drones. Most industry analysts had expected that the FAA would miss the congressional deadline to release commercial drone guidelines in September and were unprepared for the holiday season. Google Express, AmazonFresh and Starbucks are expected to release their version of Parcelopter in 2016. 

50 million Apple Watches sold 

Sales of the Apple Watch have surpassed some of the most optimistic analyst forecasts for 2015. Critics had pronounced the product as unsuitable for both millennials, who do not use watches, as well as for baby boomers, who prefer a larger form factor. As it turns out, the killer app for the Apple Watch was not to tell time. Apple’s partnership with United HealthCare, Humana and Kaiser Permanente led to popularity of the Apple Watch as a health-monitoring device. Leading insurers are getting ready to announce a variable discount on premiums linked to physical activity. 

In a related story, Apple denied that it approached Rolex to create a luxury brand of the Apple Watch. Earlier in 2015, luxury goods retailers that had stocked an 18K gold version of the Apple Watch have since dropped the product from their line. Meanwhile, speculation is rife about Apple buying a bitcoin company in 2016. Could this be the killer app for Apple Watch in 2016? 

In-Stadium mobile ads for Super Bowl 50 will generate $20 million 

Levi’s stadium in Santa Clara will host the first Super Bowl with the largest digital footprint in the history of the event. Infrastructure at the stadium for this event is being designed to serve 5 TB of data over 1,200 Wi-Fi hubs to 70,000 fans in the stadium during the game on February 7, 2016. Peak bandwidth usage is expected to reach 5 Gbps. 

Advertisers set a price of $100,000 for a 10-second mobile ad spot. A mobile app will also deliver the advertised products from the concessions stands to one of 70,000 seats in the stadium. PepsiCo is rumored to have allocated $1 million to in-stadium advertising for the event. 

NFL authorities are also in active discussion with Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple to crowdsource real-time sentiments about the game from sports fans through a series of mobile apps. Meanwhile, the most popular app for Levi’s stadium to date is Pnow. This app uses a predictive model to find the best time to use the restrooms based on real-time data feeds and historical data from the past 49 Super Bowl games. 

Click here to read last year’s pre-review of big data and analytics predicted for the end of 2014. 

Shirish Netke is president and CEO of Amberoon Inc., a provider of data-driven business perspective solutions. He has led companies in the area of software, services and electronic entertainment. He was one of the first evangelists for Java when it was launched by Sun Microsystems and has been quoted as an industry thought leader in the New York Times, Investors Business Daily, Chief Executive Magazine and Asia Times. Follow him on Twitter











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