We aim to develop fresh perspectives on journalism, digital services, business models and the innovation that drives digital life. That is why we want to share some of that outsight, with the intention to stimulate mutually beneficial discussions.

1. New news – products for everyone

Last year viral sites challenged traditional news sites for supremacy. However great these and other niche sites may be for content junkies, many publishers are now looking to create viral sites more relevant to broader news reading segments – something that will result in a lot of experimenting with i.e. personalization of media content. If traffic from key sources like Facebook decreases, publishers will look for other ways to establish steady relationships with readers. Chat apps may be one way to do it; virtual reality another. Mobile video will reach new heights in 2015.

While single-source news apps seem to have had their moment, aggregation services are growing fast. 2015 can also be “the year we get creeped out by algorithms“, and publishers will start looking for man-driven alternatives to counter algorithms’ rapid rise in content dispersion.

A prerequisite for this innovation is to embrace that product management in media is the intersection between journalism, user experience, software, data and analytics.

2. Chat replaces social media

Social is entering maturity in 2015. Chat will become a platform – in fact messaging apps could turn out to be the new social media. It turns out that they are the source of much of the web traffic previously unaccounted for (referred to as dark social).

The result of the unbundling of social apps (such as Facebooks messenger) will play out this year. We will see more location based feeds and even more deep-linking between apps. Big players like Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat will come of age and monetize for real. Handy then, that the users do not seem to mind ads on the latter service. The latest numbers from WhatsApp show they have added 100m users in just four months, making their total active users 700m.

3. Todays social media-talent will be tomorrows stars and celebrities

Young audiences are abandoning Facebook over new social platforms. A new generation of filmmakers might very well be the young talent that are emerging from apps like Vine and Snapchat. The world’s most popular Snapchatter Jerome Jarre makes videos to his friends – they are no longer spoken to as fans. The way he and his celebrity-peers engage with and influence their newfound friends will have a huge impact on marketing.

This affects traditional media too. Equipped with selfie sticks and smart phones, we are so busy creating content for our own “egosystem”, that we do not have as much time left to consume media. Thus media companies needs to find a way to “break through or tap into all that narcissism“.

There is no simple guide for how to do this. Infact, it is a paradox that we are more global and interconnected than ever before, but still we do not understand very well how social change occurs in the digital age.

4. Wearables all over

The tech industry believes in a wearables boom: the technology was everywhere at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. In 2015, this trend may manifest itself for real, and help push the development of the internet of things – the networked connection of people, data, processes and things. Every new sensor paired with the smartphone in our pocket, can represent a new business opportunity and new ways to solve problems.

Soon, most of our gadgets can be online and send data. Even our homes are becoming smarter. Google-owned smart home device maker Nest has partnered with manufacturers to become a hub for smart home development. Apple is also integrating with the home and Samsung says all their devices will connect to the web within five years. Because of this, Samsung will invest big in open and secure standards for the internet of things.

5. Robots will be learning – and flying – on their own

Look no further than under last year’s Christmas trees: 2014 was the year of drones. Sure we remember Amazon’s prime air-service and Google’s wing – but also La Poste, the mail service of France, are ahead: their small six-rotor Géodrone can deliver 4 kilos worth of goods, up to 20 kilometres away.

Deep learning is what will enables robots to recognize objects they haven’t seen before and navigate to new locations on their own. We have seen countless examples of smart or driverless cars, and this development is not slowing down.

Smart virtual personal assistants, like Apple’s Siri, will be built into more devices and services, allowing for delivery of critical information in all kinds of situations. This will be integrated with wearables coming, especially the smart watches and smart homes.

6. Developing Financial Technology

Fintech is on the rise in many sectors. The disruption can be seen in anything from mobile/NFC payments to new digital currencies. The block chain technology – a public ledger of all transactions in the Bitcoin network – could in 2015 be turned into a universal platform that can be used for anything requiring signatures or authentication. This is necessary in a future where financial stability and security may not be provided by traditional banks.

7. Security, privacy and ethics

2014 was an important lesson in digital vulnerability, ranging from leaks of celebrity photos to corporate hacks of Ebay, Sony and others. 2015 will be the year mobile becomes a target too, so security will be increasingly important as the internet of everything evolves.

At CES, security was hailed as tech next killer feature. Let us add privacy to the list as well: a Pew Internet and Society poll finds that 91% of Americans surveyed either agreed or strongly agree that consumers have lost controlof their personal information and data.

With great power comes great responsibility, and in the digital age data truly is power. Researcher Michael Nielsen explores the possibility of creating a powerful public data infrastructure, which could be used by anyone in the world. It would be Big Data for the masses.

The oversight for algorithms and the ethics surrounding them will also reach the spotlight this year.

8. New markets: From emerging to dominating?

2014 was the year of Alibaba’s record breaking IPO, and Chinese players will be prominent this year too. Xiaomi Corp. – often dubbed “the Apple of China” – just became the world’s most valuable technology startup, at more than $46 billion. Mark Zuckerberg was one of the first to publicly congratulate Xiaomi on the valuation. There were preliminary talks about a Facebook investment in the company, but due to concern of potential political consequences in Beijing there was no outcome. Xiaomi is the third largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world, with a main market in China and are expected to get into a range of new lifestyle devices, like drones and water purifiers.

After decades of innovation from Silicon Valley, now getting echoes from China – the question is: Where is Europe? Some argue Europeans are becoming hostile to science and technology due to reduced science funding from Juncker’s commission and tensions between the EU and big tech firms. However, the legacy left by EU’s previous digital chief Neelie Kroes hints of a progressive development of the digital Europe, that can compete on innovation with both the US and China.

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