With wearable devices and the Internet of Things expected to boom, businesses will be better positioned to anticipate consumer need even before the customer does.

Ever since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, the mobile phone has been positioned as the “remote control for life.” Many of the new devices coming to market, such as watches, sensors and wearables, depend on the phone for connectivity, data display, and software updates.

But as products evolve, will the phone continue to be the “sun in the solar system,” or will connected services and devices resemble more of a constellation? Fjord’s view is that although the smartphone could retain its dominance for now, services and devices could eclipse its supremacy.

Trend No. 5: The gateways to interacting with our surroundings are not only expanding, but standardizing.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the rise of wearables, which are becoming widespread as traditionally non-digital businesses integrate the devices into their services. Wearable sales are especially big in the health, wellness and fitness sector, despite challenges in technical accuracy, battery life and consumer fickleness.

Add to this the booming growth in the Internet of Things (IoT), and the message is clear: we’re moving toward a totally connected world. ABI Research estimates that more than 30 billion devices will be connected to the IoT by 2020.

This increased connectivity means that more services are developing a “sixth sense” in anticipating what a customer might want and acting on it, using smart design and data mining, before the user even clicks a button.

Not surprisingly, Amazon is already at the forefront of this new movement with its use of “anticipatory shipping,” a data-driven service that ships products to “a final geographical area” without knowing the exact destination address in advance. This trend ties back to Uber, which harnessed dynamic data research, independent workers, and mobile devices and can be adapted by other industries.

We’re already seeing a little of this from some of the insurance innovators. For example, Apple and Humana have partnered to let consumers share Apple HealthKit data with the Humana Vitality app to receive financial incentives for healthy behavior, such as discounts on their monthly healthcare premiums. HealthKit brings together wellness data from different wearable devices and apps so consumers can track their daily steps walked, calories burned, heart rate readings, and other data.

Trends 2015: Trends impacting design and innovation
Read the report.

While Apple provides the technical framework for data aggregation, Humana monitors the data for insurance purposes, making it the first to use real-time calorie and tracking information for their business model.

Fjord suggests that businesses that want to be more predictive can:

  • Use tools that drive out radical ideas to move toward on-demand delivery, including role play or journey mapping in a workshop.
  • Use their physical locations in high-density areas and their close proximity to the customer as an advantage.
  • Design systems that gather lots of data and then adapt to the emerging patterns arising from that data.
  • Those trusted with sensitive data, such as insurers, healthcare providers or banks, must generate new value to avoid disintermediation.

For more information, download the full Fjord Trends 2015 report.

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