As 2014 winds to a close, it’s once again time to dust off the crystal ball and take a look at the predictions for 2015.
Which technologies are going to blow up in 2015 and keep growing in 2016, creating billions of dollars for the companies that serve in these areas?
To answer that, we scoured the research from leading analyst firms like IDC, Gartner, Forrester and others.
The hack attacks of companies like Target, Home Depot, and Sony are just the beginning, Forrester Research predicts.
In 2015, 60% or more of brand name companies will be hit by hackers. Retail companies are going to spend twice as much on computer security than ever before.
And companies will routinely buy $US100 million cyberinsurance policies.
In 2015, half of smart band wearers will choose a smartwatch instead, Gartner predicts.
Fitness wearables will sell 68.1 million units in 2015, down from 70 million units in 2014, with smart bands accounting for 17 million and smart watches (devices that cost $US149+) accounting for 21 million.
The wearables market is expected to generate $US7.14 billion in 2015, up from a predicted $US5.17 billion in 2014, according to Statista.
Of all the many smartwatch options out there, the Apple Watch will be the most in demand, Forrester predicts. That's good for Apple and for Watch app developers.
Forrester says Apple will 'dominate' and sell more wrist devices in 2015 'than anyone else has cumulatively sold.'
By 2016, Forrester believes Apple's market share will drop to below 50% as more Android competitors, and perhaps one from Amazon, hit the scene.
In 2015, the Internet of Things (IoT) will take off, where every object gets a chip (appliance, pill bottles, manufacturing equipment) and can be accessed by the Internet, both IDC and Gartner predict.
In 2015, 4.9 billion smart gadgets will be in use. Manufacturing, utilities, and transportation will lead the way, Gartner says, but in five years all industries will be slapping sensors and chips onto everything, IDC says.
This will also create a huge market for cloud computing. By 2018, these companies will be hosting 40% of their IoT data on someone else's cloud.
Employees will also head online for fitness with their co-workers -- 1 out 5 of all workers will be involved in company-sponsored wellness programs, including company fitness bands, by the end of 2015, says IDC.
Programs, devices and apps that support business/employee/group fitness are ripe to become a big thing.
Big data came alive in 2014, and next year we'll need better ways to comprehend it.
Visual data discovery tools will the way. This market will grow 2.5 times faster than rest of the business intelligence (BI) market, IDC predicts.
New technologies will arrive that let us continuously analyse streams of data, thanks to the IoT. Streaming of interactive images, video, audio, images to analyse this data will also become a thing.
All told, big data and analytics will be a $US125 billion market, IDC says.
Hadoop is a popular technology for storing loads of data using relatively inexpensive hardware.
In December, the first Hadoop startup went public, Hortonworks, and investors ate it up. By 2015, Hadoop will grow into an application platform, where companies write and buy apps that tap into data stored in Hadoop, predicts Forrester.
Forrester calls 'Hadooponomics.'
The global market for Hadoop along with related hardware, software, and services is expected to reach $US50.2 billion by 2020, Allied Market Research.
Worldwide shipments of 3D printers are expected to grow 98 per cent in 2015, followed by a doubling of unit shipments in 2016, Gartner predicts.
3D is already impacting manufacturing, but it will soon be an option for every business that needs to prototype anything, not to mention new areas like medicine.
The global 3D printing market will grow from $US2.5B in 2013 to $US16.2B by 2018, Canalys predicts.
Cloud computing will still be hot in 2015 and beyond. That's where companies rent tech over a network instead of buying and installing it themselves.
IDC says that b7 2017, most (60%) of the datacenter tech companies buy will be some form of cloud computing or another.
Businesses will spend $US118 billion in 2015 on cloud, IDC predicts. And that's only a sliver of the spending.
Much of the $US3.89 trillion spent on tech worldwide is at stake, Gartner says.
n 2015, hospitals are going to start going digital, IDC predicts.
By 2018, 65% of interactions with health care organisations will be done via mobile devices, and by 2018 70% of them will have apps, offer wearables, do remote health monitoring, and even offer virtual care.
Hospitals will also figure out how to analyse all the data those apps generate to make them more efficient.
Companies are going to spend more on digital marketing in 2015, Gartner predicts and the bigger the company, the bigger the marketing budget.
Those with revenue of $US5 billion reported on average that a digital marketing budget of 11% of revenues. It was 9% for those with revenue between $US500 million and $US1 billion.
This will be good for all any free apps that depend on ads to pay their bills. By 2017, 15% of B2B companies will use more than 20 data sources to personalise a high-value customer journey, IDC predicts.