I’ve just returned from ClueCon 2014, the FreeSWITCH telecoms conference. James Body and I ran the popular Dangerous Demos event, where developers compete for prizes by rapidly prototyping new ideas and trying them out live on stage – the braver, the better.

There were some great demonstrations this year and they made me wonder about the future of mobile. So, here are my six predictions for mobile phones in 2015.

1

Video Built-into the Phone

Whether you’re a consumer or business, video is now a major tool. Skype has shown video over IP can work on the PC and this coming year we are going to see it as a native capability of most phones. Our research shows over 60% of businesses people have used video when travelling and that number is growing all the time.

So far the limitation preventing greater use of video has been the complexity in setting up calls when constrained by the user interface of a small device. However, 3GPP standards have slowly made their way through approval and will likely hit handsets next year, enabling simpler video calls. Every contact will have a video symbol next to their name just like the phone and messaging icons we have already. Video calls are likely to be interoperable between carriers and handset too – no more walled gardens.

2

APIs and WebRTC

Mobile carriers are becoming more open to developers. This will mean new services and mash-ups between internet content and mobile operator services. Remember what happened when video opened up on the internet? The same is about to happen to real-time communications.

Consumers won’t see this directly. What they will see is the hundreds of services launched by companies born out of this change. Want an online baby monitor that pushes video to your desktop at the first hint of a cry and a text message to interrupt you if you don’t take an immediate look? There’ll be 20 of them next year. The winning carriers will be those with the most open networks and the easiest frameworks for developers to plug into.

Wi-Fi

With iOS 8 delivering support for calling over Wi-Fi, we’ll start to see voice data and video seamlessly transported over Wi-Fi hotspots extending cellular coverage into those hard to reach places. If there’s good signal, voice calls will be automatically routed over Wi-Fi, just as iMessages are today. Apple has been the first to announce support, but other vendors will race to follow. Wi-Fi will become a regular talking point – where is it and is it good enough to use?

4

Bridging

We’re constantly connected now as we move from desktop to mobile to tablet to TV in our daily routines. All our services are in the cloud and we therefore expect the experience to stay the same even if the device changes. If I’m watching CNN on the TV in the morning I want to be able to get on the train, open my iPad and pick up where I left off.

Being able to transfer context between devices will become a big thing next year. We get some of this already – for example, when shopping on Amazon – but truly seamless multi-device experiences are still a work in progress for many. I don’t want to have to start again each time I change device.

Bring Your Own Device

Employers will soon stop offering business devices and instead empower staff to bring their own devices to work. In some enterprises you may already experience this today.

If you want a cool new smartphone you’ll buy it yourself and if you want the basic office phone your employer will buy it for you. Soon many will simply abandon the idea of giving you a cheap device and it will become your responsibility, just like buying a suit and tie (or shirt and chinos in a high-tech company like Truphone).

3

Health and Well-being

Finally, phones are going to become our personal trainers. There’s already an app that takes your pulse and measures oxygen levels in your blood. Put your finger on the camera on the back of the phone and it measure changes in ambient light, which penetrates your finger as your blood pumps around the body. It gives an indication of the amount of oxygen in the blood and your metabolic health. This sort of technology will get a whole lot better and become an integral part of our phones.

Hold your phone in front of your food and it will tell you how many calories are in it. Ask your phone to make you healthier and it will nag you every morning to do your exercise: “No you can’t read your emails until you have done another five star jumps”. Getting stressed in a meeting and it might even interrupt and give you an excuse for a break! Once mobile devices get personal it follows we’re going to get even more attached to them. Perhaps not quite as far as the movie Her, but…

Find out more about Truphone and our technology at the Truphone website.

Originally posted on the Truphone blog.

About jamesptagg

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