For a category that has faced much skepticism, it’s hard to argue that the wearable tech category has not been a success story so far. In fact, NPD expects that total ownership of activity trackers and smartwatches among U.S. adults will stand at nearly 77 million devices by the end of 2017. However, the market is becoming increasingly complex in the face of innovation and changing consumer demands. 2018 will see even more dramatic shifts in the evolution of the wearable tech space than we have seen in the previous two years.
The U.S. is number four in the list of innovative countries worldwide, according to a June 2017 Business Insider article. On the surface, it's a puzzling rank. This is, after all, the country that put a man on the moon (and maybe will again soon), built the initial Internet, and is home to many of the major tech companies, such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple. And yet, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands all rank higher for innovation. Ouch.
What do you do when your boss decides you should write a “crystal ball” blog about the upcoming year? Well, if you’re anything like me, you procrastinate until something strikes you. The predictions that follow aren’t necessarily going to tell you what to expect next year; rather, they will describe why 2018 will be characterized by large industry-wide disruptions in markets facing uncertainty.
In my previous blog, Dishing Out Mobile Predictions, we explored Dish’s desire to launch an IoT-focused mobile network and how Amazon would be a natural partner in this enterprise. But, as predictions go, there’s a far more interesting potential opportunity for the two companies: a full mobile service offering for consumers. The combined efforts of Dish and Amazon could provide a truly disruptive consumer-based mobile offering that is worth exploring.
According to the latest NPD Group Connected Intelligence Smartphone and Tablet Usage report, cellular data usage among consumers with unlimited plans is 67 percent higher than those with limited plans. Limited plan users instead rely more on Wi-Fi access. Over the last three months, limited plan users consumed eight percent more than their unlimited plan counterparts, with a spike of 18 percent more Wi-Fi usage in October.
For a product that was criticized by many only a short time ago, the smartwatch has regained momentum in the U.S. market. Indeed, far from being a failed product, we expect U.S. smartwatch ownership to surpass that of the cheaper and more ubiquitous activity tracker by the end of 2020.
It’s that time of year - presents are being wrapped, the weather is getting a lot colder, and we huddle up somewhere warm to start writing down our predictions for the New Year. And while we’ll get to more predictions in future blog posts, there’s a very large possibility for 2018 that deserves a blog unto itself. We expect that in 2018 Dish will make its move in wireless, finally mapping out what it intends to do with the large quantities of spectrum it has picked up over the past few years.
There was a time when the cellphone we chose to carry represented our individuality. That was a few years ago, in the pre-smartphone era, when the phone came in many shapes and sizes allowing us to be… well, us. While rummaging through a box of old chargers and phones recently, I came to a sad, but somewhat obvious conclusion: mobile phone design has become boring.
“I talk to other CEOs around the world in this space, and we’ve all been struggling a little bit making the business case work,” said Gavin Patterson, CEO of the UK’s BT Group, when discussing the need for 5G at a recent conference. And he’s right to be concerned.
In England, all beached whales must be offered to the Reigning Monarch. This law came into force in 1322, is still in effect today and is, of course, a rather silly law in today’s world. No policy maker would consider building a proposal based on the precedent set out in the 1322 law. And yet, I feel that the FCC’s Net Neutrality argument is just as ludicrous.