January 2015

Babel Buster Network Gateways: Big Features. Small Price.
Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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Top Five Trends to Watch in 2015

Not the typical Top 5, but five trends that will influence BAS in 2015

Manny Mandrusiak

Manny Mandrusiak
Managing Creative Consultant,
4 Bravo Marketing

Contributing Editor

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The month of January is always a favorite for me because for me it is synonymous with the start of something fresh.  In this case a fresh new year of possibilities both in business and in technology trends.  I for one enjoy reading what the experts predict as the top trends to watch for the upcoming year.  I look at a lot of them, and what I have decided to do for this month’s article is look at my picks for the Top 5 Social Media and Technology Trends that may have an impact on the BAS industry.

When I was compiling this top 5 list I chose to look at it from the consumer’s perspective rather than the manufacturers’.  The reason that I chose this direction is that more often than not, large corporations and consortiums, will adopt an attitude of “telling” the consumer what they want, rather than listening to what the consumer has to say.  As I mentioned in a previous article consumers have evolved thanks to our advances in technology, and customer 2.0 is not a fan of being told what they want, or how they want it.  That’s why I chose to focus my top 5 on the trends that I see influencing the way that consumers are going to make purchasing decisions in 2015 regardless of what industry they are in.  So here are my Top 5 picks for Social Media and Technology Trends to watch in 2015.

  1. A Funeral for Google + - I believe that 2015 will finally be the year that Google accepts that Google + is not a social media contender, but simply an interface/login for the library of Google Apps.  Google makes everyone sign in for everything that it has on the web and users have come to terms with that.  You want to use Google Sheets…sign in.  It sucks, but we all do it to use Google’s products.  It has simply become something that someone does to accomplish another task, and not something that someone does because they want to. The reason that I bring this up as a point to watch is that I deal with clients everyday who get told by someone they know that Google + is making a comeback and will be the place to invest their time and money in 2015.  In all honesty, it is not.  Much like laser discs, Betamax and the Delorean, Google + was a great idea that missed the mark with timing.  Please put it out to pasture and move on.
  1. Rise of consumer “smart home devices” - As cheap sensors flood the market there are a plethora of products that have been released for home automation.  Smart devices are flooding the market in the form of smart locks; smart thermostats etc. and they all have integration with smart phones.  I think that this is a trend that is going to explode in 2015. We keep seeing devices that integrate with smart phone technology, and social media, on the market and I am wondering when the fine folks at ZigBee are going to start marketing this type of integration in their products?  I think that this trend, above all others, is particularly exciting because I think that we will very quickly see integration with personal smart bio sensors.  Before anyone laughs, just consider the popularity of personal activity trackers like Fitbit, Nike FuelBands and Jawbone wrist bands.  If one thinks about it, these devices are essentially low level biometric sensors that track everything from blood pressure, to heart rate, to steps walked per day.  Imagine for a moment that people are wearing a high-end device on their wrists that gets scanned as soon as individuals enter a room, and the smart thermostat determines if the heat or AC needs to be activated to keep the room temperature comfortable. The technology is just around the corner, and I think that 2015 will present some early adopters.
  1. Smart Devices get Social - In the above point I spoke about the integration of more smart devices in the home, and how the abundance of cheap sensors have led to everything from thermostats to bathroom scales collecting data and sending it wirelessly through the internet.  The question remains as to where this data is actually streamed to and collected?  Many of these devices already have a social media component built into them. They can push notifications to social media applications like Twitter, Facebook, Adidas MiCoach etc.  Where I see things going in 2015 is that these devices will quickly improve their social intelligence through greater device integration.  Imagine if you will a refrigerator that sinks with a Fitbit to determine how many steps a person has walked in a particular day and, then based on what is inside the fridge, recommend the possibilities for dinner that keep in line with a diet meal plan. Given the amount of data that these social media and fitness platforms collect about us as individuals, it is not that hard to imagine the above scenario.  I could also see the above scenario tapping into a user’s social network in more sophisticated ways.  Smart devices could track an end-users’ activities with friends and followers and then respond to important events or even remind about important family gatherings.  Ultimately I see 2015 as being a year of increased integration of social media not only in our lives, but in our homes.
  1. Caring about the Customer experience - With the sheer number of messages that the average individual gets everyday it is very easy to see why Customer 2.0 is ignoring the sales pitch. Customers are savvy now, and are willing to invest the time in researching the internet for a product or service.  Vendors who continue to provide customers with marketing campaigns that say: sell, sell, sell, sell, are going to be dismissed altogether.  Companies need to realize that in 2015 customers have a choice of vendors, and they will exercise that right to choose.  Marketers and salespeople need to dedicate more time and effort into long tail campaigns and caring about customer loyalty. For salespeople that means everything should be about treating the customer like gold throughout the sales experience.  For marketers it means looking at the harder to track metrics like customer feedback on opinion polls, or feedback from service calls.  In 2015 the customer has the power to choose, and every company wants to be chosen for all the right reasons. 
  1. Reliable Controls Wearable Tech - The last trend that I think needs to be watched is the emergence of wearable technology.  I talked a little earlier about Fitbit, and other wearable activity trackers, but I really did not focus on just how profound this trend could be.  I think that by the end of 2015 the market is going to see some fantastic new developments in wearable technology and that brings up the age old question of “How do I market my products to someone with an Apple watch or Google glasses”? It is a fantastic question and one that I think is extremely relevant for the upcoming 2015 AHR Expo.  McCormick place is huge, and the AHR show draws thousands of people in through the doors every day.  Imagine for a moment a digital sign that presents an ad that says download this application on your Apple watch for a unique AHR Expo experience. The application gets downloaded and then the end-user gets directions from their Apple watch to different booths at the show or perhaps to a luncheon with keynote speakers.  Maybe the AHR Expo issues attendees a set of Google Glass to experience the show in an entirely new way.  Attendees can get a visual HUD (Head’s Up Display) of the booths at the Expo with micro ads interjected from participating vendors.  My personal favorite fantasy for the AHR Expo is for every attendee to be issued a pre-configured Fitbit upon entrance to the show.  Attendees would activate the device at a station and quickly configure it according to their age, weight, and height.  Paired with a set of Google Glass, as an attendee walks the tradeshow floor a message is sent from the Fitbit to Google Glass saying that you have walked 5,000 steps and need to hydrate.  Here are the booths that offer water, or here is the route to the nearest food vendor or restroom.  All-the-while being seeded with micro sponsorship ads reminding the attendee what company cares about their well-being. This technology will take “walking the tradeshow floor” to a whole new level. 

Well those are my top 5 picks for trends to watch in 2015.  A little less mainstream than some other columnists, but my approach is always a pragmatic one.  I like to look at things from the ground up, and keep a close eye on consumer trends. 

I would like to close by wishing everyone good business for 2015!  I believe that 2015 will be one of excitement, and technological advances.  I am very happy to be able to share that with all the automatedbuildings.com readers.  Looking forward to a great 2015.


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