We can all relate to the fact that technology is part of our lives. Perhaps, this means that “mobile” needs redefining as we now live in a world where everything is becoming connected to everything.

Technological advances are continuing, and at a fast pace. Considering the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, it’s clear that innovations are consistently happening.

We are now getting to a point where recent developments mean technology is becoming more of a utility. Today there are 10 billion connected devices, and it’s predicted that by 2020 there will be 50 billion (eMarketer report 2013).

There are a number of areas in which big tech innovation is happening or is not far off, in ways that are likely to change the way we interact in our day-to-day lives as well as becoming more engrained with them.

Wearables

The recent release of the iWatch has brought wearable technology into the spotlight. However, Apple has not changed much compared to others in the industry (mainly Pebble and other Android devices), other than give the smart watch a more luxury edge.

Smart watches link to a consumer’s phone, providing important updates straight to the wrist, as well as being able to perform the same essential functions as the smart phone itself (such as providing maps and directions).

With the addition of voice search, specifically conversational search, the smart watch technology is likely to become more and more intuitive. By simply speaking into the watch, consumers are able to set reminders, get instant answers, and respond to message alerts immediately.

Further development in wearable technology is with Google glass, where smart watch functions will be further engrained into consumers intuitive actions. A user simply engages with technology through speech and general movements.

Glass is already being used in many industries to improve consumer experiences.

One example is where Virgin enhances its first-class customer experience with glass, recognising customers and giving key information on passengers. This example shows that personalisation of an experience can be enhanced, and the tech innovation is key to that in the future.

Additional developments, such as contact lenses for diabetes patients that monitor insulin and wearable baby safe tech that enables monitoring throughout the night via a baby grow, provide practical and beneficial advantages through the use of wearable technology.

Innovations will mean that we grow evermore reliant on technology as it becomes closer to our daily lives.

It’s clear the user uptake is already well underway, with a forecasted 68 million watches sold by 2018 and 250 million wearables sold by 2018 (eMarketer: State of mobile payments).

The impact for the media industry is that wearable technology means consumers are constantly engaging with tech by providing unintentional inputs. This gives advertisers a huge opportunity.

There will be truer data available because consumers are filtering fewer information points as users don’t know the data they are giving away (for example, physical states such as through fitness and health apps), which adds a more compelling layer for advertising and media opportunities.

Smart automotive

Another core area where advances in technology are making a big difference is in the automotive market. These developments tend to come under two sections:

  1. The connected car, which is related to “infotainment” by connecting current devices to the car. This provides communication within the car, such as through messages and social media, alongside navigation, entertainment, and telematics. These are all functions of a smartphone when connecting the phone to the car.

    The future development in this stage is where CarPlay (Apple) and Android auto (Google) enter the market. These give consumers mobile operating systems in their dashboard.

    Agreement from auto manufacturers is key for this tech development to build a stronghold, but it is clear that this can have a huge impact on daily life as well as the media world, where the consumer journey can truly be connected.

  2. The autonomous car, which relates to the developments of a “driverless car.” This again is not far off. It is predicted that by 2025 we will have door-to-door autonomy as a standard (see, for example, the Volvo drive me), and this will have a major impact on the industry. We will be able to fit two to six times the number of cars on roads because they will be more efficient than human driving.

    For the media and advertising industry in general, there will also be a large impact as autonomous cars mean that time previously spent concentrating on driving will instead be used to consume more media online.

Smart home

As with smart automotive, smart home innovations mean that consumers will be constantly connected where their tech adds value to their lives. A smart home will be a unifying hub to pull all the different products together.

The Nest products – thermostats and smoke alarms – are the beginning of the home being connected through devices. This gives people the opportunity able to control factors within the home, and it’s easy to see that soon everything will be connected.

Virtual reality

Finally, the next big thing is likely to be virtual reality. At the moment, devices such as Oculus Rift are big in gaming but other things such as media can be enhanced from this too, as it provides such an immersive experience.

Advertisers will be able to provide experience marketing without having to hold an event – at the moment an expensive undertaking. New developments for even cheaper ways of using virtual reality are being created such as with Google cardboard.

The downside of this is that consumers cannot multi-task as the ability to look away is removed. A big trend in mobile is “second screening,” so a further behavioural change will need to happen.

In summary, smartphones remain dominant as no one “needs” some of these technologies, plus the fact that (specifically globally) mobile still has a lot of room to grow in smartphone technology. Only 55% of people in the United States and 20% of people globally own a smartphone. From a global perspective, it is a race to the bottom for the cheapest phone in order to get to poorer users, which would be life changing.

The rise of the phablet is also likely to be first to takeover in the smartphone and tablet space, as it becomes the one device where users are in a more immersive and single place. The phablet provides a common platform (a 5-inch to 7-inch screen).

Overall, with technology changing so rapidly, talking just about mobile – in particular in the media landscape – seems naïve. The channels are not so defined from a consumer perspective. We need to address connected devices and take advantage of the ever-changing space.