The 2015 equivalent of the shoulder pads of the 1980s will be wearable technology, according to Samsung. Instead of a power suit, the business leaders of our decade will rely on connected wearables "to stay 'always-on,'" and the first wave of that change will be smartwaches, of which Samsung already has five different varieties. This is the headline prediction from a set of five key trends that Samsung has identified for the coming year. It's supported by the company's research into business attitudes, which found that 47 percent of wearable tech users felt more intelligent, 61 percent felt more informed and efficient, and 37 percent claimed that the wearable helped with their career development.
The full set of predictions from Samsung for 2015:
1. Wearable technology will create a new era of power dressing for business leaders
2. People will restructure their working lives around personal "Power Hours’’ – as technology reveals peak performance times
3. Virtual reality technology and the innovative use of displays will lead to a new generation of digital shops, allowing retailers to overcome space constraints and high rent
4. Automated home systems will move from ‘geek’ to ‘chic’ driven by a dramatically improved user experience
5. Every child born in the next 12 months will learn coding as a core subject alongside numeracy and literacy
These are all familiar themes of the future imagined by most tech companies: greater automation, greater self-awareness, and even greater penetration of technology into other industries like retail. Samsung's data supports the notion that people now blend work and leisure time rather than keeping them separate, with 75 percent of Europeans doing personal tasks in work time and 77 percent working during their personal time. "This demise of the 9-5 can be largely attributed to the proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace," says Samsung, "giving employees ultimate flexibility about when and where they want to work."
The Korean giant has already made significant investments in making sure it's at the vanguard of these developments. It has a constantly growing range of smartwatches, a health-tracking platform, and a partnership with Oculus on virtual reality headsets, plus this summer it boosted its efforts to build a unified smart home experience with the acquisition of SmartThings. There may be some debate about the pace at which all of this change will take place, and it does seem premature to declare coding skills to be as important as numeracy and literacy, but Samsung sees 2015 as a critical year for the advancement of these specific trends. It will certainly be an important time for Samsung itself, as the company looks to rebound from a slump in sales and revenue that's characterized most of 2014.