2015: crystal ball gazing, how did I do?

I did some predictions in January this year, how did I do?

Sony Corp. cleans house with the management teams of its US businesses. One of Sony’s start-up bets (the e-ink watch, smart locks etc) comes good. Sony will still be supported by its Japanese financial services business.

Not quite sure how Sony’s management team survived but they did, only Amy Pascal got canned rather than a wholesale purge. Sony still seems to have its start-ups percolating, instead Sony has blown up in DSLR cameras and selling sensor components to rivals. Sony’s financial services business still seems to be contributing to the bottom line. Sony decided to spin out its audio and video business, just as it had spun out its TV and PC business already.

I could see the student becoming the master as Huawei sells into IBM enterprise markets in the developing world and possibly Europe.

Huawei is making big gains in enterprise storage, with a shot of getting a worldwide top three vendor in the immediate future.

Shareholder activists don’t take a run at Google. Google is moving from a growth stock to value as search advertising revenue growth is declining.

But that didn’t stop them rolling out Alphabet to make the big bet efforts more transparent for investors. It was also an admission that Google is becoming a value stock more like GE as top line revenue growth declines. Its two tier share structure still prevents shareholder activism, but that doesn’t mean Google has a cloth ear.

Google’s privacy and antitrust regulatory woes will continue to fester outside the U.S.

The European Union, Russia, Korea and possibly the U.S. I reckon I have this one.

Expect more societal push-back as geeks become the new investment bankers in terms of being societal punch bags.

The localised protests in Silicon Valley against the ‘Google Bus’ expanded. What drove protests transnational was the rise of the sharing economy alongside the labour market and economic distortions that it drives; just Google Uber or AirBnB.

There won’t be an over-arching XML type bridge for the IoT. Battery life will limit the fantastic visions that pundit have for wearables and the internet of things.

The market is fragmented for the cloud infrastructure on IoT. We still have Apple Watches that struggle to get a days use out of a battery charge.

We are going to continue to see baby steps towards more immersive experiences, as VR glasses slowly make progress in the marketplace. OLEDs would be an ideal application for VR glasses, particularly if they want to hold off smartphones in a frame.

So far, we haven’t seen OLEDs being used and the Oculus Rift still isn’t an expensive consumer product yet.

Content is likely to role out in a similar way to IMAX – visually stunning documentaries about space and nature alongside computer games.

Content has been slow in coming to the fore, the stuff that I have seen is marketing content (I was involved in making films for New Balance to market their football range of products). I am still waiting for content to come through, it will take time, possibly longer than 12 months.

Despite The Interview, Hollywood still won’t do cinema / digital simultaneous releases, or global simultaneous releases for any content that wouldn’t have been direct to TV/video in an earlier age.

Looking back, I feel guilty putting this one in, there is nothing more predictable than the intransigence of the media industry.

The YotaPhone2 won’t get the customer base it deserves as it struggles against the superior marketing muscle of Samsung in the premium Android segment of the market.

I was right on this, but not for all the right reasons. Samsung had a hell of a time this year as cheaper Chinese players further commoditised the Android marketplace at such a pace it even started to hurt their supply chain. Yota did make an impact however in a different way; Huawei’s P8 launched with an option e-ink back to the phone.

Late on in the year, Yota Device sold a substantial share to REX Global Entertainment Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong listed company that is better known for its leisure, tourism and gaming holdings than its expertise in technology. In essence this looks like some sort of shadow purchase. Having the backing of a Chinese company could speed the entry of the Yotaphone 3 to market – the previous models were dogged with slow access to market (presumably getting through the Shenzhen eco-system).

The Cyanogen distribution of Android won’t go anywhere fast due to its geographic exclusivity agreements with the likes of OnePlus and MicroMax cramping the style of handset manufacturers with global ambitions.

Cyanogen isn’t going anywhere fast, OnePlus went their own way with an Android distribution.

This offers an opportunity for Jolla’s SailfishOS.

But not of enough opportunity apparently, the company has had to restructure and can’t get the kind of funding it needs.

Google revamps the resources and process to get more Chinese smartphone manufacturers going through its official channels for compatibility (CTS) and have a Google Mobile Services (GMS) license.

No Google still didn’t get its act together.

An increased emphasis on paid media over earned engagement / community management and marketing automation makes social look more like electronic direct marketing.

I am taking this, in the words of a media agency strategy director I was speaking with ‘Facebook offers a combination of the reach of television (advertising) with the precision of direct marketing.’

Asian platforms WeChat, LINE and KakaoTalk have led the way in both consumer and brand adoption. They will continue with a relatively slow international rollout.

Their rollout has certainly been slow with adoption picking up slowly in East and Southeast Asian markets. Facebook Messenger is apparently experimenting with e-commerce, but its early days.

I suspect that international e-commerce will have breakout years.

What I didn’t expect was that the demand would come from Chinese consumers

We’re likely to see European states take a similar stance to India and China and more widely blocking sites for security considerations and media IP enforcement. Expect the UK and Australia to lead the way in terms of site censorship.

Between anti-terrorist legislation and the right to be forgotten, I have this.What I didn’t suspect was the sustained war on cryptography.

More information
2015: just where is it all going? | renaissancechambara
Sony will spin off its audio and video business as it searches for profitability | The Verge
Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal stepping down in wake of hacking scandal | The Verge
Why Huawei Thinks It Can Enter Storage Market Top 3 by 2018 | eWeek
Google Owner Accuses EU of Antitrust About-Face | WSJ
Google Said to Be Under U.S. Antitrust Scrutiny Over Android | Bloomberg
Korea Government to Investigate Google’s Android OS for Anti-trust Violation | Android Headlines
San Francisco’s guerrilla protest at Google buses swells into revolt | The Guardian
Don’t buy the ‘sharing economy’ hype: Airbnb and Uber are facilitating rip-offs | The Guardian
Huawei P8 E-ink Smartphone Case Sports a 4.3″ Screen | The Digital Reader
Yota Devices aims high after buyout, with $50 million promised for product development | Android Authority
Oxygen OS 2.1.3 Update OTA available now for OnePlus X; Android 6.0 Marshmallow next | Venture Capital Post
Mobile OS Maker Jolla To Cut Half Its Staff, Restructure Its Debt After Funding Stalls | TechCrunch
Amazon.com is seeing a surge in buyers from China – Quartz
Net-a-Porter’s China General Manager Claire Chung Talks Mobile Sales and Yoox Merger | Jing Daily
Europe’s Latest Export: Internet Censorship | WSJ
Porn filters: Cameron vows to protect internet censorship from EU law | Russia Today