2015 will be an accelerant year of change. Much of the change is the emergence or reemergence of trends I have forecast in recent years. Most of the forecasts have been posted on my web site through the years.
The Internet of Things
This new era of Big Data is largely fueled with ever more devices, appliances and data capture devices getting connected. 2014-2017 is the great transition time for this. In February 2008 I forecast: “We now have smart phones. In the years ahead, everything will become “smart”: clothing, infrastructure and our homes. All will be connected.” The quantified self, controlling home and office via an app and ever more precise GPS technologies are just some examples of this in its early stage.
The transformation of physical retail
Already well underway, this will accelerate in 2015. As I forecast in January 2011: “The bricks and mortar retail industry and therefore retail real estate, will undergo the greatest transformation in the next 10 years since the introduction of the automobile” Chains will go out of business, separate retail categories will combine, 20th century malls will close. On-line shopping in our screen reality is reshaping shopping in our physical reality.
2014 was the year when streaming of content surged into prominence. 2015 will be the year when streaming content takes its place at the media table, forcing legacy media to alter business models. As I forecast in October 2014: “Streaming video models will continue to disrupt legacy distribution models in 2015 and 2016 in such a way that entire business models will change.” Amazon and Netflix win programming awards and the legacy television networks stay in their old model and will also join in the new model. In the audio sector, streaming music services and podcasts will continue to disrupt digital sales of content
Economic growth in Europe will be a flat line
This has been clear since 2011. In February 2011 I forecast: “It should no longer be thought of as the “Greek Debt Crisis” but the possible “rattle of the Euro.” This might be a bit strong, but the future strength of the Euro is uncertain. Greece, may in fact confront the Euro establishment with a move back to the Drachma The forecast in April 2011: “Europe, and specifically the Euro zone will be a no growth zone for the better part of the decade to 2020. Recession, deleveraging and legacy policies of the 20th century will be the causes”
Low economic growth globally
This forecast from a year ago in January 2014: “The global economy has completed its first stage of development. Long term global economic growth will be less than 3% until 2018-19.” This is just the new reality of the ever more integrative second stage of the global economy that has begun.
In large part due to the new low level of oil prices there will be profound alterations in the geo-political landscape. As I just forecast: “There will be great geo-political changes in the next 24 months due to a lower level of oil prices.”
There will be continued volatility in equity, commodity and real estate markets globally. As forecast in February 2013: “After a disruptive 2015-2017 there will be a historic bull market from 2018-2028″. I will delve into the reasons for this future bull market in the next two years, but expect volatility in 2015. The oil price collapse and regular 1-5% daily changes in global equity markets are indications of this volatility
2015 is a year that will truly be a window into our future to 2020