1.16.2015

6 Tech Trends for 2015

We're sleeping in other people's apartments, wearing smart devices on our wrists and faces, getting everything from black cars to Chipotle on demand, killing our credit cards, killing our hotel keycards and studying up on the people in the room around us before we even say hello. We're not quite the Jetsons just yet, but we're just one flying car shy. Here's what to expect in 2015.

1) Mobile Payments - eMarketer forecasts that more than 30 million consumers will make a purchase via their smartphone in 2015 - this number is not slowing down. In 2015, we'll likely see further adoption of mobile payments, largely thanks to
Apple Pay.

2) Wearables Take Over Our Wrists - Wearables are exciting to anyone who wants to look like they're from the future, but travelers might be the ones who benefit most. The idea of waving your wrist instead of fishing for your phone is even more appealing to those of us juggling carry on luggage, a personal item and more. You have the regular cast of mobile characters in the wearables world: the newly unveiled and much lauded
Apple Watch, the Samsung Gear S, Google Glass, the token Kickstarter-backed startup Pebble and the rumored Microsoft Band.

3) Sharing Comes to Business Travel - The cleverly marketed "sharing economy" is having a moment thanks to
Airbnb. Airbnb used to be just a choice for the Millenials, hipsters and young travelers looking to save a few bucks while crashing in a spare bedroom. But when the gorgeous homes and lofts for rent starting appearing on the service, it gained mass traveler appear. Still it stayed in the leisure travel market until 2014, when it struck a deal with Concur that opened it up to world of managed corporate travel.

Corporate travel just starting adopting the sharing economy in 2014. Many company policies are still against Airbnb, but look for adoption to continue in 2015.

4) Almost Everything on Demand - "I want what I want, and I want it now" seems to be Silicon Valley's new mantra. Thus, we've seen a slew of companies targeting the on-demand market.
Uber, which lets you hail a black car on demand, might be the king of the on-demand space.Postmates is a service that lets you order delivery from any store or restaurant on demand. You can track your deliveries in real-time. Services like this can be a game-changer when you're on the road for events.Medicast lets you get a doctor on demand at your house, hotel or wherever you are 24 hours a day. It's currently only available in Miami, Los Angeles and San Diego but will likely roll out to other cities during 2015.

In 2015, we'll likely see even more on-demand services crop up till the idea of "waiting" is an archaic concept.

5) Virtual Neighbors - New cities can be intimidating, and work events in new cities even more so. A few apps are making it easier than ever to discover who's near you and who might be interested in working together. In 2015, we could see wider adoption of these apps making them more useful than ever.
SocialRadar lets you see who is around you and what you have in common when you're feeling lost in the crowd. You can set the distance as small as 100 feet. This is handy when you need to work the room at an event. This little tool lets you quickly find common ground and network with ease. Facebook rolled out a new feature in its mobile app this year called Nearby Friends. You can see who's within a few miles of you. It's tough to stay in touch with everyone you know and keep track of where they're living, so this feature is useful if you're in a new town and wondering if there's anyone around you might know and want to catch up with. 

6) RIP Hotel Key Card - 2015 might be the year phones kill the keycard for good. Starwood Hotels began testing keyless entry in just two hotels about a year ago, and in November, it rolled the program out to about 10 hotels across the US and Asia. In early 2015, it plans to implement the keyless entry system across 150 Aloft, Element and W brand hotels.

At the rate technology, mobility, social media and computing power are developing, the next decade or two promises to render the world as we know it today virtually - pun intended - unrecognizable. And 2015 promises to be the curtain-raiser on some of those dramatic changes.