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Albert Qian
December 29, 2015

Recapping 2015: The Year in Technology, Business, and Media

With the New Year just about upon us, this is a time as good as any to review the past year. It’s also worth noting that with the turning of the calendar, we’ll be in the second half of the second decade of the 21st century. Without a doubt, time and technology are turning faster than ever, making the present one of the best times to be alive.

2015 was a year of milestones for business and technology. Small businesses once again experienced a year of challenges in both managing their day-to-day needs while keeping up with the changes. In today’s blog post, we’ll take a look at what mattered. Here’s our thoughts:

Authenticity, meet video streaming

While YouTube significantly revolutionized the way we consume media in 2005, the emergence of live media in 2015 took our consumption habits up another level. Video streaming sites Periscope, Blab, and Meerkat dominated the collective consciousness of marketers throughout 2015, offering legions of fans to chime in on live conversations and boosting authenticity in ways not seen before. Additionally, social networking giant Facebook offered some end-users the ability to share video in 360-degree and live modes, further enhancing personal brands and the evolution of the platform. For small businesses and enterprise operations alike, the existence of these platforms now force marketing teams to become more comfortable with ad-hoc communications. Truly, no technology has forced more companies to be as agile as they are now.

The cloud continues to come of age

In 2015, cloud shed its buzzword reputation and businesses began getting serious. Cloud vendors and resellers are taking note as well, with research firm IDC’s prediction that cloud will become a $107 billion industry by 2017, with the Internet of Things (IoT) movement leading the way. Keeping with the theme of agile business, cloud contributes to lower operating costs and revolutionizes the way companies get work done. As more technology vendors strategize towards the development of cloud infrastructure, communication, collaboration, and management tools, more businesses will be looking to supplement existing technologies with newer ones that promote greater efficiency.

Consolidation carries the technology craziness

When the economy is sizzling, it’s time to buy. 2015 saw the comeback of technology acquisitions with Comcast dropping $45.2 billion to buy Time-Warner (which ultimately failed) and Dell purchasing software and storage giant EMC for $67 billion dollars. Meanwhile, longtime Silicon Valley giant Hewlett-Packard finally split into two and Google announced a restructuring that consolidated its operations under parent company Alphabet. All of these activities are merely strategies that allow companies to move faster in an increasingly competitive global economy. Look for this to happen more in 2016.

…while other companies continue to struggle

Not all companies went shopping in 2015, however. While the Silicon Valley technology scene boomed for the majority of companies, others such as Twitter and Yahoo struggled. The former saw the return of Jack Dorsey, its original CEO, while laying off numerous employees in a restructuring operation. The latter continues to search for a product specialty with revenue potential while consolidating its purchases from previous years and weathering criticism of its CEO, Marissa Mayer, for her activities since she’s gain leadership power.

Security stares down consumers and businesses

It’s a theme that keeps on occurring, and that’s the unfortunate peril of security breaches. 2015 was no different, with the Office of Personnel Management announcing a breach of government employee data. While technology has improved, consumers are still cautioned to closely watch who they are handing their information to, especially after retail giant Target finally paid out $10 million dollars to victims of a 2013 hacking.

Social media ebbs and flows to success and failure

2015 saw the continued struggle and success of social media. On one side of the aisle, Facebook continued to clobber the competition with 1.5 billion monthly users and $4.5 billion dollars in revenue. Google struggled with Google+, its oft-controversial social platform which never got the acceleration they wanted, and dismantled the service into something far simpler.

Wearables say hello…

We began the year by wondering what wearables would do, and ended the year with somewhat of a better idea. Google and FitBit continued to innovate upon their existing market offerings while Apple finally introduced the much-hoped for Watch, which offered users the ability to access their mobile applications on their phone right from the comfort of their wrist. Virtual reality continued to make headway as well, with Microsoft announcing the Holo-Lens at its World Partner Conference in July and Facebook continuing to make innovations on its acquisition of Oculus VR, made in May 2014.

…and drones, drone on

In addition to wearables, drones gained more popularity in 2015 from a consumer standpoint. As social media (#6) and video streaming (#1) continue to increase in popularity, the added effect of drone video and photography provide content producers the opportunity to create unique experiences for their audience. By the time we hit December, the government was finally requiring drone owners to register their devices by the end of the first quarter of 2016. For small businesses, the existence of drones offers increased opportunities for marketing and branding.

Automation continues its march forward

Humanity inched ever closer to automation in 2015, as Google continued to advance forward the self-driving car initiative, punctuated by an announced partnership with Ford. Tesla continued innovating its cars as well by enabling autopilot on the Model S. While the feature did not promise complete autonomy, it suggested a very bright future ahead. Elsewhere, as the fight for minimum wage heated up, some fast food establishments replaced their employees with kiosks, furthering the conversation towards the value of human capital. Finally, governments began considering the idea of guaranteed minimum income for citizens, with the Scandinavian country of Finland ending the year with serious considerations.

What do you think?

Clearly, 2015 saw the ups and downs that we’ve come to expect in the business and technology sector. What do you think? Did we cover the stories that mattered? Share your high-level recaps in the comments section below.

 

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