Alina Lewis and Shruti Dhapola

The constant evolution of technology is a reflection of the true human nature. As we aim to live more comfortable lives, innovators constantly strive to help us achieve our goals through new developments in science and technology.

In 2014, we saw the emergence of interactive apps and personal cloud services, online retail matured and almost everything including products and services started getting digitised.

As we move on to 2015, here’s a look at the top 10 emerging technology trends that are poised to take off in a big way.

1. Mobile payment systems

Apple Pay
Apple Pay

The growing popularity of Apple Pay will cause a wider acceptance of mobile payment systems – a technology segment that does away with the need for physical cash by allowing you to make payments with your smartphone.

Also called as digital wallets or e-Wallets, mobile payment systems allow you to make in-store and online payments as well as money transfers by downloading an app onto your phone and linking the service or app account to a bank account or credit/debit card.

Popular mobile payment systems, other than Apple Pay include Google Wallet, PayPal, LevelUp and Square Wallet. As of now, a majority of these are available only in the US, though we may some of them expand to other countries in the coming year.

2. Apps for on-demand services

Foodpanda's food-delivery app was launched in India this year
Foodpanda’s food-delivery app was launched in India this year

On-demand radio and TV apps are dime a dozen. But in 2014, we saw the rise of other on-demand apps that proved real life savers by giving you an urgent ride back home and meals delivered in no time.

While this year saw a flood of radio cabs and food delivery apps catering to your needs, not to mention the rich and the lazy, you can expect on-demand services to expand into other segments, too, including on-demand beauty services, hotel reservations and even emergency health services.

TheStylisted, for example, is an app that lets you schedule in-home beauty treatments by professionals in New York and Chicago. Similarly, the DogVacay app helps find a pet-sitter near you, make reservations and pay right through your phone.

3. Beacons

iBeacon
Apple iBeacon

Beacon technology uses Bluetooth to sense the location of a device and work with apps to carry out certain operations. In the coming year, we may see several applications making use of this technology.

For example, McDonald’s is currently testing beacons that will deliver coupon offers, alerts, employment opportunities and customer surveys right as customers enter its stores. Microsoft’s 3D SoundScape headset relies on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth beacons placed in strategic intervals, to help the blind travel independently on roads and public transport.

Apple announced iBeacons in 2013 that could trigger actions based on where an iOS device is positioned. If well implemented, you could walk out of one room, have your AC switched off and as you walk into the next room have a TV switched on to play your favourite show.

4. Social payments

Line Pay
Line Pay – a mobile payments system in the messaging app

Messaging app Line recently launched Line Pay to allow users to transfer money and purchase items directly from the app. The service will also let users pay for goods when offline.

Payments via social apps are quite common in China and Korea, where WeChat and Kakao Talk are dominant players.

Globally, mobile payments through social apps is an emerging trend and we’ve already seen some early adopters including Snapchat. Facebook and Twitter are also working on in-app payment services on their respective platforms.

5. WebRTC for mobile devices

WebRTC-compatible Wire app allows sharing of pictures, HD audio and other rich media
WebRTC-compatible Wire app allows sharing of pictures, HD audio and other rich media

Media streaming is picking up at an exceptional pace, but with a majority of activity being carried out on smartphones there’s a pressing need for quick load times in videos, games and other media without compromising too much on the quality.

This need can be fulfilled WebRTC, a free browser-based technology that can help in providing seamless video and audio services. In addition to videos, WebRTC allows lag-free and faster loading of games and music, without gobbling too much of the network’s bandwidth. WebRTC is currently powering Google Hangouts and Amazon’s Mayday services.

Future mobile apps will leverage WebRTC. Skype co-founder Janus Friis recently launched Wire, a chat and voice messaging app that uses WebRTC.

Publish date: January 1, 2015 11:05 am| Modified date: January 1, 2015 11:09 am

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