analyst insight: December 2014

Gartner: smartwatch steals the smart fitness band market

Wearable fitness devices should ship 68.1 million units in 2015, Gartner claims. That’s down slightly on 2014 as 50 percent of those who might buy a smart band choose a smartwatch instead, but band sales should rebound in 2016 on strength of lower cost and design versatility. Sales of fitness wearables will also be enhanced  by the appearance of solutions such as Apple’s HealthKit or Google Fit, which offer integrated environments in which health data can be monitored and merged with information from other devices. Looking forward, Gartner believes smart clothing has big potential. Smart garment shipments are forecast to grow from 0.1 million units in 2014 to 26 million units in 2016. In a separate report, Gartner predicts 4.9 billion connected “Things” will be in use by 2020.

ADI: retailers with digital wallet capabilities will win this holiday season

Signs that online mobile payments are coming of age from Adobe Digital Index. It has found that sales conversions among smartphone users exploring online retailer websites are much higher when digital wallet payments, such as those made using online services or device-based payment services, are supported. They note cart completion rates increase by 10 percent when digital wallet payment options are available. Apple Pay seems likely to play a key role in mobile payments this season, at least in the US. ADI notes iOS now represents 65% of app launches to Android’s 34%. With an eye to digital customer experience management, the survey also revealed 71% of 400 US consumers surveyed like personalized ads, though the jury is mixed when it comes to the quality of the ads they are seeing with 20% saying they “aren’t done well enough”.

IDC: unified communications growing fast in Europe

The Western European unified communications as a service (UCaaS) market is expected to increase from $84.6 million in 2013 to $643.7 million by 2018, with a 50.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue for 2013–2018. The increase is driven by customers looking to upgrade existing infrastructure and a move to cloud-based and hosted IP telephony services. Such services are easily (and affordably) extendible to meet the needs of organizational growth for smaller organizations; larger enterprises meanwhile seem likely to coalesce around hybrid on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure to support their UC efforts.

Gartner: CIOs must change their leadership style for digital age

Digital transformation isn’t limited to the way you structure your business or shape the customer journey – this fresh phase of industry disruption extends to business structure and management style, according to a Gartner survey of 1,034 CIOs in EMEA.  “Command-and-control leadership doesn’t suit this digital world,” said Dave Aron, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “Vision and inspiration are typically the most powerful attributes of digital leaders. CIOs must accept to flip from ‘control first’ to vision first. In EMEA, 65 percent of CIOs said that they need to decrease their time on commanding IT, while 45 percent of them said they need to increase their visionary leadership.” The changing nature of the CIO role is also hinted at by the increasing use of data insights: 80% of EMEA CIOs admitted to using predictive analytics to help them in their role. And 74% of CIOs are already beginning to think on the Internet of Things and its potential impact on their business.