All of the above is the answer to the question in the title of this, my early predictions for 2016! I thought I'd get out in front of the usual wave of predictions and nominate my favorite trends in the fast changing and continually innovating world of Real Time Communications.
I'm fortunate to be in a company that is in the "center of the action" when it comes to the transformation of what we used to refer to as "telecom" and now refer to as "communications as a service."
With the advancement of software defined networking, virtualized network infrastructures, growing capacity and access to that capacity, and the interconnection software that makes it possible for end users to move automatically between cellular, mobile and fixed networks keeping sessions "in state" - lightbulbs are going off all over the place on how developers can build apps and experiences of the contextual, human kind.
Platforms-as-a-Service(PaaS) and open ecosystems leveraging readily available APIs and SDKs, are eliminating boundaries that used to exist, and changing up the time it takes to imagine, create, test and go to market with solutions that embed voice, data and video "in stream" with our everyday lives, our work lives and work flow, and the systems that make us healthier, safer and more productive. Such PaaS and open ecosystems will be driving, in a major way, newer use cases and fuel a host of emerging services that will continue to grow in 2016.
#1: WE WILL WEAR IT!
Sensors we connect to our bodies through apparel, armbands, watches, and more will track biometric data that can trigger alerts and initiate live discussions with health and wellness professionals. Enhanced PaaS currently support applications using multiple WebRTC channels (voice, video and data) to entrepreneurs adding multi-modal real time communications features to their wearables.
In addition to tracking vitals including heart rate, blood pressure and insulin levels, new initiatives we have underway also include tracking brain activity as part of "brain training" and cognitive improvement applications. We are seeing more and more combining of "machine to machine" - "machine to human" - and "human to human" innovations and expect to support many more of these and not only in the healthcare but overall "human performance" domains.
#2: WE WILL SENSE IT!
Using enhanced PaaS and its rich ecosystem, traditional operational areas such as inventory control and management will witness revolutionary changes. For the first time ever, retailers, brands, distributors and marketing and advertising agencies will be able to tell which products consumers are picking up - and buying - or putting back. All this is done with super sensitive sensor technology on pegs and shelves connected through WiFi to a cloud that collects, stores and ships the data through APIs to numerous systems.
The value proposition for all participants is stunning: consumers find their favorite products in stock, retailers optimize valuable real estate through smarter displays while also being able to track product movements for security purposes, distributors have real time information "down to the peg" so can restock bestsellers, and the brands and their marketing partners can leverage real time information to improve campaigns and offers.
Director, Solutions Marketing,
#3: WE WILL EMBED IT!
The field service applications makes it possible to arm technicians on truck rolls with tons of valuable information about where they are going, the precise location in a building of what they need to fix, digital manuals to help speed the fix, and much more. Real time expert support from a contact center using live video feeds between both the tech and the contact center means more productivity and faster time to resolution - and because the entire process is integrated with CRM, the minute the "fix is in" the customer and entire sales and support team is messaged.
#4: WE WILL OTHERWISE MOBILIZE IT!
Whereas 2014 could be considered the year of "Mobile First" 2015 could be considered the year of "Only Mobile." While we, of course, still access the Internet through our desktops and SmartTVs, even those are "mobilized" through synching and control through mobile devices. "Convergence" has never been more pervasive, so pervasive, in fact, that we may now no longer need to converge. Everything has moved into the cloud, accessed by mobile and unlocking opportunities for applications in healthcare, education, government, hospitality, retail, sports, entertainment and even the most "heavy metal" industries.
Mobile is even more mobile in moving vehicles, in trains, planes and buses and what's making "Mobile Squared" possible is - the increasingly interconnected "network of networks" - with more secure, more stable, more cost efficient and more powerful "FMC." Those of you who, like me and my colleagues, have been working non-stop on this for over a decade will recognize that acronym from the "turn of the century" - Fixed Mobile Convergence.
So now that this is all operating so dynamically, what does the world of applications look like? Limitless! 2016 - expect more, create more, impact more.