Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Predictions

Happy New Year
The New Year has come and gone and I am glad to say that I made it out the other side with no major damage.  When you go through a mile stone like the New Year it always makes you reflect on the past and look forward to the future.  This week on the blog I would like to discuss some trends you should watch out for 2015.

Competition kind of works in 2015

Trends we saw at the end of 2014 are going to accelerate in 2015.  Particularly price wars between the major providers of cell phone service.  I went to the store complaining about my service and I got rapid help and extra data on my plan for no additional cost.  The reason why, a major competitor is was stealing customers away.  So now I am being treated like a valued customer instead of an obedient revenue stream by my wireless company.

You are also seeing this trend in gasoline prices.  According to the Economist, prices are down because OPEC nations are trying to discount the price of oil because the United States using technology to undercut their market share.  This has kicked off a price war with OPEC hoping to make it too expensive for America to pump oil.  It is a geopolitical and economic game but for consumers in America it is a welcome change.

So while many academics and members of the political left complain about the failures of capitalism, we can point to the last three months and the upcoming year and say that capitalism works from time to time in a consumers favor.  We should savor this moment.

The Internet of things takes a pivot

The internet of things or IoT was supposed to big deal in 2014.  What happened is that it was exposed as wind and sails. In the meantime, firms are working along the edges to create smart devices which will fulfill some of the promise of the IoT.

I noticed this at the Chicago Auto Show in 2014 when all the new cars had at minimum blue tooth connectivity with mobile devices. Then later in the year GM was offering cars with 4G LTE service.  This means that the morning car pool or play date will allow people to stream movies or play games across the web.

I am also looking forward to home security and energy consumption being managed over the cloud with Google’s purchase of Nest.  Now with a smart phone or web connection you can set the temperature in the house or make sure the smoke detectors are working.  I hope they have a feature to tell me which ones I have to swap the batteries for instead of guessing based on how they chirp.

The biggest IoT moment is the sale of smart televisions.  Now people can treat their televisions like their mobile devices.  This has been huge for Netflix.  Google has also gotten into this bandwagon by making it possible for devices running the Lollipop operating system to show programs on the screen so now the difference between a television and mobile device is a question of size.

Agile Grows 

When I was first exposed to Agile, I was greeted with a lot of skepticism and contempt for many of my employers.  Today, I am part of a movement where I am making a difference in organizations showing them how to make better software faster.  What a difference a few years makes.

What I am seeing is that Agile is facing some serious problems in the business community which are not engineering problems but are organizational and behavioral.  This means project managers such as myself are going to have to continue to rise in organizations and in order to help them realize that uncertainty and agility are not threats but rather chances to succeed.  It is not going to be easy considering that many executives have no idea how the operations of their business work.

So those are my predictions for 2015.  I am able to survive another year thanks to some consulting business and people paying invoices so I look forward to another year of sharing my experiences of growing my business.

Until next time.