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2015 Tech Hits, Misses & What We Can Learn From Them

The next best things that worked and weren't.

When it came to the anticipated technology and new product dogs of 2015, at least there was no Aibo.

Remember Aibo? Probably not. This was a robotic dog launched in 2009 by Sony that was about the size of a Chihuahua – but with a shut-off button. Some loved it; most didn’t. Perhaps the $2,000 price tag discouraged a lot of robo-pets lovers, even though later models recognized faces and came with a Ted-like movie star vocabulary of 1,000 words (clean words, I predict, unlike Ted).

Fast-forward to 2014 where Amazon Fire Phone, detergent-free laundry systems, Ello (dubbed a cooler and more socially conscious online community), Fitbit Force and Nike FuelBand all lost their buzz.

Even though these products didn’t fulfill the tech trend predictions, they contributed to innovative products in the market.

This year we had our fair share of tech buzz, some which really hit the mark and others that just flopped.

Yes, smart watches were definitely on the top of the ‘watch’ list. The start of 2015 saw the much-anticipated arrival of some new wearables in the market. Even with the full intent of having a fully accessible device on your wrist, the jury on these watches is still out.

Winnipeg businessman, Scott Magalas, agrees that the hype for his wristwatch of the future hasn’t quite yet lived to his own expectations.

“I like it,” says Magalas, Vice-President of Operations and part owner of Industrial Rubber Supply in Inkster Industrial Park. “But if I was recommending it to anyone I would say to consider the cost versus the benefits.”

To help put the smart watch hype into perspective, our team at the Business Hub has put together a list of hits and misses for the top techno-related buzzes of 2015:

2015 Tech Hits:

  1. The Selfie: Even some new smartphones give you a "selfie" mode and can categorize your photo albums accordingly. Plus, have you noticed that selfie sticks are everywhere you go?

Pros: Now you can take an endless number of photos with your kids and pets, your dinner, your crazy buddies, your favorite sunset, you and your beer, you and your wine, your favourite painting, you and a zoo animal, and you and, well, everything! You get the picture. Selfies ramp up the show-off factor like a photo booth without a photo booth. There’s no experience that can’t be shared.

Cons: There’s no experience that can’t be shared! Audience fatigue may not be an issue yet, but you can expect that 2016’s tech bust list might include the selfie.

  1. Virtual Reality: This is becoming a monster of a product with more on the way in 2016. Considering the opportunities for virtual reality experiences outside of gaming, there’s a whole new world we haven’t yet experienced with VR. We’ve already seen ways to tour through restaurants and businesses using virtual reality, so the integrations next year may get pretty creative.

Pros: You’re incredibly ‘there’ while you’re still 'here.' This extravaganza of the senses is not only fascinating, but it’s going to prove very practical. Plus you can get some pretty cool high-resolution visuals, which is high priority with most tech lovers these days.

Cons: The current price tag may be a deterrent, and the demand could create some line-ups ahead of you.

  1. Cloud Services, SaaS & Data Centres:  – These new-ish kids on the business block are helping keep data secure.

Pros: The list is pretty extensive. Monthly fees compared to huge up-front spends, backup services to protect your data in case of a disaster, security of keeping your customer info protected, scalability of service at the click of a button in some cases and fast speed to market are all on the list.

Cons: If you don’t have an IT pro on staff, you might have to do some additional research to understand what you’re getting. 

2015 Tech Misses:

  1. Google Glass: This was one of those products that had so much potential, with plenty of media attention and celebrity users. Even Prince Charles tried out a Google Glass! But early in the year, the project came to an end after a two-and-a-half year run. Although not officially dead, the project hasn’t come back to market and the future of Google Glass remains to be seen.

Pros: It was a pretty cool device, even if you thought they looked a little weird.

Cons: With all the devices we already have, do we really need one attached to our glasses? There’s also the distracted driver laws that would no doubt come into play, and texting pedestrians who already don’t look where they’re walking. 

  1. 4D Printing: As the world gets used to mainstream 3D printing, 4D may have to wait its turn. That’s not to say it won’t happen, and 4D isn’t going to be a miss for long. It just hasn’t picked up the speed as predicted this year. 3D is a different story though, as the LM3D will be the first 3D printed car commercially available next spring. 4D printing can follow suit after that.

Pros: There are some pretty awesome applications available with 4D printing, as evidenced in this TED talk. The video helps you get a better sense of what you’re missing out on with this evolving tech.

Cons: It’s hard to wrap your head around the concept at first, and that may mean there’s a roadblock to consumer acceptance. 

  1. Overnight Drone Delivery: Let’s call this one a near-miss. How amazing would it be to have a drone deliver a package you just ordered online? It’s bound to happen in the next couple of years, but not in 2015. For now, we have to call this a miss, as roadblocks over the past year have prevented the faster adoption of this tech.

Pros: We have to wait a little longer for the impressive cool factor for now. 

Cons: It’s probably a good thing officials are taking more time around the laws and regulations around this service. There are bound to be accidents from this service, despite all our best efforts. Even Enrique Iglesias had his finger almost cut off in a drone accident this year!

What tech would you add to the hits and the misses from 2015?

Duncan Morrison

Duncan is a Winnipeg-based writer and communications consultant that specializes in freelance writing, strategic communications and marketing plans for clients from a wide range of organizations and businesses. His work has been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines.

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