25 Disruptive Technology Trends for 2015 – 2015

1) Social Media 1.0 is dead.

Social media becomes part of a digitally transformed ecosystem Real-time and content marketing becomes more sophisticated and portable Social becomes key hub for shaping customer experiences Social connects the Zero Moment of Truth and the Ultimate Moment of Truth

2) The future of search and SEM also lies outside of Google.

More than 88% of consumers are influenced by other consumers’ online comments. Customers are also starting searches in places such as Youtube, Pinterest and also in apps directly.

3) Messaging apps become the new social media.

4) Asia and other foreign competitors will compete to gain share and push messaging forward.

5) Notification windows introduce a thin layer for rapid engagement.

Apps such as Yo, while a novelty at first, will redefine what an app is and will be…no kidding.

6) Chinese innovation is going to disrupt the U.S. from the outside in and the inside out.

7) The Internet of Things is a hot and beautiful mess until it becomes the Internet of Everything.

By 2020, the number of devices connected to the Internet is expected to exceed 40 billion. We’re just getting started.

8) Wearables will struggle to find their place in everyday life.

While cute and seemingly on the wrists, necks or fingers of all of our friends, wearables as an industry and market are incredibly immature. The Apple watch will start create a rising tide. Wearables are all over CES, but most are single purpose, redundant, cute or just plain useless. They need a killer app!

9) Virtual and augmented reality experiment with killer apps for consumer and vertical markets.

In 2015, Google Glass gets a ctrl alt del.

2015 represents the consumer introduction of Oculus Rift. Vertical industries along with gamers will drive early adoption.

Companies such as Skully are creating killer vertical appls for augmented reality.

10) Focus on the kids! Generation Z is mobile first and mobile only and they’re nothing like Millennials.

11) Youtube, Vine, etc., represent “a” new Hollywood.

Youtubers and Viners and the financial ecosystem emerging to support them is reminiscent of Hollywood in the early 1900s. More kids can name online celebrities than they can traditional movie and music stars. To capture attention, advertising and content will require an entirely new approach.

12) Cyber security becomes paramount to prevent the next #Sonygate.

Nothing creates a sense of urgency like an emergency. Sony sat on advice to upgrade security. They’re hardly alone.

13) Some companies are still greedy and believe the internet should not be open for the sake of profitability. This will impede innovation unless we fight back.

Debate over Internet regulation positions it as either a utility or a premium service.

14) Music streaming will continue to undermine the music business and artistry. Artists will fight back.

Streaming services condition consumers to seek out their favorite music and play it for free. Sales of music continues to freefall.

Artists feel they’re underpaid for stream plays.

Spotify, Pandora and the like compare payment models to radio stations.

Artists such as Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, ACDC, et al, believe artistry is worth more than appreciate today.

I argue that streaming services teach people to listen at will because they can whereas radio stations encouraged consumers to buy.

15) Wall Street becomes influential again forcing brands to trump customer experience for revenue.

Stakeholders and investors find it difficult to assess the ROI of customer experiences and the impact of positive reinforcement on the bottom line. I guess you can’t trade on something so fluffy. Instead, Wall Street analysts and shareholders alike accused JetBlue of being “overly brand-conscious and customer-focused.” Wall Street has spoken and JetBlue CEO Dave Barger will be replaced by someone willing to embrace extra fees, narrower seats, and diminished customer experiences…unless they’re willing to pay for something better.

16) Crowd capitalization accelerates disruption…everywhere.

Everything is subject to creative destruction because ideas can now be crowdfunded. Every product. Every industry. Innovation is democratized.

17) Bitcoin and other cyrptocurrencies lose value but teach us about how to think differently about money.

There are 163 cryptocurrencies in circulation. Bitcoin is widely known. Though its market cap is down, The Bitcoin Stack will revive the movement. h/t Joel Monegro and Fred Wilson.

18) Mobile payments early today, but will soon skyrocket.

In late 2013, just 6% of US adults said they had made a payment in a store by scanning or tapping their smartphone at a payment terminal. It will go up to 8% this year. Apple’s introduction of the Apple Pay will be the key factor that will drive this percentage up.

Mobile payments are already gaining traction. Nearly 15% of Starbucks customers already pay with their phones. And, 60% of consumers use their smartphones to pay because of loyalty benefits.

19) The Sharing Economy is really about renting or borrowing. Everything will become “on-demand” and available through a mobile apps that connect idle or new supplies with new or organized demand.

New supply will stimulate new demand. Mobile platforms combined with geoloco will continue to bring everyday people and businesses together to do interact with trust and efficiency serving as facilitators.

“Technology has made renting things (even in real time) as simple as it made buying things a decade ago” – Fred Wilson

20) New enterprise drone management platforms change the game for logistics.

It’s not about whether we get pizza or Amazon packages to our homes. First, drone delivery will impact B2B. Over time, the concept of a personal mail box will be upgraded with dedicates codes that will facilitate new types of drove deliveries.

21) Cyber Warfare: Political battles will play out in the 5th dimension.

22) Your privacy is Gone: It was traded for perceived security and also better customer experiences.

Older generations think about privacy differently.

Younger generations use privacy as a currency.

23) Big data and beacons: Connect online, in-app, and in-store experiences. Also opens the door to new forms of engagement.

– Footfall, visits online, visits through apps

– Regency and frequency of visits, behaviors and transactions

– Brand affinities

– Favorite products

– Demographics

– Location

– Loyalty program utilization

– Service quality, queue and abandonment

– Capacity planning and resource utilization

Beacons provide businesses with endless opportunities to collect massive amounts of untapped data, such as the number of beacon hits and customer dwell time at a particular location within a specified time and date range, busiest hours throughout the day or week, number of people who walk by a location each day, etc. Retailers can then make improvements to products, staff allocation in various departments and services, and so on.

24) Webrooming becomes more common than showrooming (69% to 46% respectively), according to Harris poll.

– Millennials prefer webrooming.

– Amazon remains #1 destination for both showrooming and webrooming.

– Emerging connected in-store experiences link online and offline, leveraging both.

25) Mass personalization and full funnel marketing suites reset vendor landscape and change how brands “think” and work.

Brands and agencies start to think about” full funnel marketing” and new “experience cloud” suites will take shape to unite marketing, service and CRM.

New adtech companies will focus on strategy + programmatic context, content AND ads.

Optimized mobile affiliate tracking capabilities.

Publishers will offer in-house capabilities for behaviorally programmatic targeting of premium advertising.

Omni-Channel finally becomes mainstream. Brands must think like their customers to create seamless omni-channel shopping experiences that keep customers engaged at all stages.


Airbnb has terrified the hotel industry so much, it just agreed to a $17.2b merger

Airbnb has terrified the hotel industry so much, it just agreed to a $17.2b merger

The sharing economy is scaring the hotel industry.

Two giant US-based hospitality companies with extensive operations in Australia are uniting to form the world’s biggest hotel chain. And it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that they are doing so to combat the threat of Airbnb.

Marriott International announced overnight it is buying Starwood Hotels, owner of the Westin, Sheraton and W brands, for $US12.2 billion ($17.2 billion).

The deal, if approved by regulators and stockholders, would create one hell of a monster in the hotel business, an entity with 1.1 million rooms in more than 5,500 hotels in over 100 countries. By way of comparison, accommodation marketplace Airbnb has said it already has 1.5 million rooms and full house listings in more than 190 countries.

Here’s way to look at this deal: Starwood is being acquired at a price that works out to roughly half an Airbnb. The sharing economy startup was last valued at about $US25 billion in the private markets, according to a media report, which is incredible when you consider it was only founded in 2008 (and had trouble securing initial funding at the time).

That being said, startup valuations are notoriously opaque and often inflated by complicated structuring that limits the risks for venture capital fund backers. So the $US25 billion figure should be taken with caution.

In any case, everything suggests Airbnb is growing like crazy. Documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal in June showed that while it’s currently losing money, it expects to hit $US900 million in gross revenue this year, rising to $US10 billion by 2020, when it would have $US3 billion in operating earnings.Like Uber, one of the few thing standing in the way of Airbnb’s seemingly inexorable rise is more regulation. The service has previously been banned in cities like New York and has been investigated by regulators in New South Wales.

Meanwhile, local representatives from the company (and Uber) are being hauled before a government enquiry into tax avoidance this week (even though it is not clear whether either is actually profitable here). But as Uber has shown, when a product is satisfying consumer demand it is very difficult to stop.

Marriott’s CEO acknowledged as much in a recent earnings call, noting that Airbnb is “here to stay”. Hotel companies face major disadvantages in competing with an asset light company like Airbnb: they have to employ lots of staff and own or lease extensive properties and provide many services. rather than just run and app and process payments.

The idea that hotel chains should merge and scale up to ward off the Airbnb threat is hardly new. Now it’s already happening.

Newzoo lays out a roadmap for competitive gaming’s growth

esports1Over the last few years, competitive gaming has made huge strides, building a massive fan base, supporting the rise of entire genres of games and attracting vast prize pots for the discipline’s very best. Almost across the board, the phenomenon has also seen its revenues gaining, as new sponsors come on board, including some major household names. Sustaining the rapidity of the growth of eSports is going to be key to its long term success, maintaining momentum and pushing it ever further into the public consciousness.

In order to do that, according to Newzoo, eSports need to learn some lessons from their more traditional athletic counterparts. Right now, the research firm puts a pin in eSports revenues of $2.40 per enthusiast per year, a number which is expected to bring the total revenue for the industry to $275 million for 2015 – a 43 per cent increase on last year. By 2018, the firm expects that per user number to almost double, reaching $4.63.

That’s a decent number, representing very rapid growth, but it pales in comparison to Newzoo’s estimates on the average earning per fan for a sport like Basketball, which represents a $14 per fan revenue – rising to $19 where only the major league NBA is a factor. To catch up to numbers like this is going to take some time, but Newzoo’s research has listed five factors it considers vital to achieving that aim.


Right now, MOBAs are undeniably the king of the eSports scene, and one of the biggest genres in gaming. The king of MOBAs, League of Legends, is the highest earning game in the world, whilst others like Valve’s DOTA 2 are also represent huge audiences and revenues, including the prestigious annual International tournament. Shooters are also still big business here, with Activision Blizzard recently announcing the formation of a new Call of Duty League.

Nonetheless, MOBAs are still the mainstay and if you don’t like them, you’re not going to get too deeply into competitive gaming as a fan. Although their popularity with the athletes is going to make them a difficult genre to shift, Newzoo says that broadening the slate is a key factor to growth.

Geographic reach

The major tournaments bring players, and audiences, from all over the world, but it’s often only the very top tier of players who can find themselves a foothold in regular competition. Major territories like the US, South Korea and Europe have some local structure, but again League of Legends stands almost alone in its provision of local infrastructure. By expanding a network of regular leagues and competitions to more countries, eSports stands a much better chance of building a grassroots movement and capturing more fans.



Already a problem very much on the radar of official bodies and players around the world, the introduction of regulation is always a tough transition for any industry. However, when you’re putting up millions of dollars in prize money, you can’t have any grey areas around doping, match fixing and player behaviour at events. These young players are frequently thrust into a very rapid acceleration of lifestyle, fame and responsibility – a heady mixture which can prove to be a damaging influence on many. Just like in other sports, stars need protecting and nurturing – and the competitions careful monitoring – in order for growth to occur without scandal and harm to its stars.

Media rights

Dishing out the rights to broadcast, promote and profit from eSports is a complex issue. Whilst games like football are worldwide concerns, with media rights a hotly contested and constantly shifting field, nobody owns the games themselves. With eSports, every single aspect of the games being played is a trademark in itself, with its owners understandably keen to protect them. However, with fan promotion such a key part of the sport’s growth, and services like Twitch a massive factor in organic promotion, governing the rights of distribution is only going to become a murkier and more complex business as time goes on. With major TV networks, well used to exclusivity, now starting to show an interest, expect this to become a hot topic.

Conflict between new and old media

That clash of worlds, between the fresh and agile formats of digital user-sourced broadcasting and the old network model is also going to be source of many of its own problems. One or the other, or even both, is going to have to adapt fast for there to be a convivial agreement which betters the industry as a whole. There’s currently considerable push back from established media against the idea of eSports becoming accepted as a mainstream activity, fuelled in no small part by their audiences themselves, so a lo of attitudes need to change. Add to that the links between these media giants and many of the world’s richest advertisers and you can start to see the problem.