Each year Ericsson puts out a report from its ConsumerLab looking at trends in consumer technology it expects to take off in coming years. The fourth edition of the report quizzed smartphone owners aged 14 to 69 in in Johannesburg, London, Mexico City, New York, Moscow, San Francisco, Sâo Paulo, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo. This is what it found:
- Streaming video will overtake broadcast TV in most regions as consumers move to wars cross-platform, on-demand services and as these services become easier to use.
- Homes will become increasingly connected, from automated lighting and water systems to access control.
- “Mind sharing” is expected to become a talking point as people look for ways to allow direct communication with one another using thought alone. (We’re not holding our breath on this one).
- Smarter cities will (hopefully) mean smarter citizens by providing useful information to residents about everything from traffic to energy usage.
- The sharing economy will continue to grow as people warm to the idea of renting out spare rooms, appliances or even leisure equipment.
- Mobile digital payments will take off, and as many as 80% of those surveyed believe smartphones will wholly replace wallets by 2020 (we admire their optimism).
- Privacy will continue to be a pressing issue for consumers and companies alike.
- Health and fitness apps and devices will grow ever more popular, hopefully increasing people’s lifespans in the process.
- Domestic robots will go beyond the humble Roomba and expand to other common chores, giving us more free time to waste on social media.
- Children will, according to Ericsson, drive demand for a more tangible internet where physical objects are always online.
Michael Björn, research head at Ericsson ConsumerLab, says: “The cumulative effect of smartphones becoming part of mainstream society is astonishing. As consumers, we try out new apps and keep the ones we think improve, enrich or even prolong our lives at such a rapid pace that we don’t even notice that our attitudes and behaviours are changing faster than ever. Services and products that quite recently seemed beyond imagination are now easily accepted and believed to rapidly reach the mass market. With only five years until 2020, the future really does seem closer than ever before.”