ScanSource CTO Greg Dixon: 5 Technology Predictions For 2015

Looking Ahead In 2015

As networking, cloud computing and managed services developed in the IT industry last year, many new products will begin to emerge in the coming year, predicts Greg Dixon, CTO of Greenville, S.C.-based ScanSource. As a value-added distributor of various specialty technology products, including point of sale, barcode, and data networking solutions, Dixon has an inside look at what will be popular. This year's biggest driving factor for new technology products, he predicted, is mobility.

"Mobility will continue to be the new big thing in 2015," he explained. "Different developments in the cloud platform and networking have helped to put this on the forefront."

Based on these trends, Dixon made five predictions for new popular technology patterns in the coming year.

5. Mobile Customer Engagement Tools

On the point of sale spectrum, the mobile sphere will be particularly influential for consumers in the retail space and hospitality area, explained Dixon.

"Customer engagement is huge right now," said Dixon. "Most retailers want to engage with customers right when they go through the door. They will have the ability to use devices that answer questions, take clients on a tour, or market products they didn’t know about."

In the hospitality space, restaurants will continue to utilize products targeted for the end consumer, said Dixon. Many restaurants have set up tablets at their tables so customers can directly engage with the technology to process their orders and pay for meals.

4. Beacons

Another emerging tool that plays into the mobility spectrum's enhancement of the retail space are beacons, small, low-cost devices that utilize Bluetooth low energy to communicate messages to compatible receptive systems on surrounding mobile phones.

Dixon explained that the device is becoming an important tool for both retail consumers and marketers. The device is slated to operate so that if a store has a beacon, marketers can view vital information about customers, including the areas of the shop they go to.

"This tool is quickly becoming a strong marketing approach, as users can view different demographics and location points," he said.

3. Mobile Wallet

"In the retail space, there's a need for a mobile application that gives users and end customers security, control and tracking," said Dixon. "There's a huge market space for mobile wallet."

Dixon described a huge churn in the market among retailers based on EMV card standards, the microchip that transmits data. Value-added resellers should make sure to build around how customer EMV chips read data, he stressed.

Again, the retail space is the most valuable area opening up for the mobile wallet, he said.

"As a distributor of this product, we're spending time and effort to make sure our resellers know the value of this," said Dixon.

2. 3D Printing

3D printing, one of ScanSource's own distribution specialties, is "old technology becoming new," said Dixon. As patents on older models of printing are expiring, makers are hoping to amp up the software solutions for preparing, managing and sharing 3D print products in the coming year, said Dixon.

"This is a technology that's working its way up from the bottom," explained Dixon. "There's no limit to this and we're going to see an explosion in manufacturing in the future."

1. Internet of Things

"The Internet of Things is getting a lot of attention," said Dixon. "What used to be a dream is now becoming reality for people."

While IT specialists previously used the Internet of Things to allow objects to self-identify, industry specialists are pushing that to make objects aware of various factors, such as temperature, positioning and objects within the surrounding space.

"The objects will then be able to report that information back on an active basis," he said. "This can be applied to various products, such as cars, to report their health and location."