What to expect from wireless in 2015

From U.S. Cellular

Wireless technology is ever-changing, but Illinois residents and businesses can stay on the cutting edge in 2015 with a little insight on upcoming industry trends.

Jay Ellison, executive vice president of operations for U.S. Cellular, says 2015 will bring even more options to customize and revolutionize the way we use wireless devices.

The convenience of wireless technology can be seen in so much of our daily lives, whether it be wirelessly monitoring cross-country shipments for your business or video-chatting with your family across continents to stay in touch,” Ellison said. “The devices we now carry in our hands are replacing older technology and making it easier and less expensive to entertain ourselves and get things done.”

Heading into the New Year, Ellison anticipates five trends that will pulse through the wireless industry in 2015 and beyond:

1. Wirelessly monitoring your health — We’ve become accustomed to checking our symptoms online, but technology will have an even greater impact on how we monitor health. Ellison expects to see increased use of “telemedicine,” which allows people to contact trained medical professionals from home or work via smartphones and tablets. They’re able to discuss symptoms and health concerns and get prescriptions or treatment.

As the technology evolves and more doctors and consumers experience the convenience, this trend will expand in the health care field. There also will be a higher demand for add-on accessories, such as heart-rate monitors and blood testers, as well as smart watches that deliver these services. With Apple, Samsung, Motorola and LG all planning to offer an assortment of wearable devices in 2015, the opportunities to monitor and improve health through a wireless device get even easier.

2. Growth in wireless business solutions — Mobile technology will play a bigger role in the growth of small and large businesses with a broader move to machine-to-machine (M2M) innovations. M2M technology allows wireless and wired systems to communicate with other devices of the same type, such as vehicle or fleet tracking systems. In the last year, M2M adoption has increased by more than 80 percent, with 22 percent of companies now actively using the technology.

Through M2M, fast 4G LTE networks and additional business solutions, there are cost-effective ways to enhance business productivity around the clock while also being scalable for future growth,” Ellison said. “Whether a business needs smartphones, tablets, hotspots, modems, vehicle tracking, wireless sensors or cloud storage solutions, U.S. Cellular will be leading the charge to meet these needs in 2015.”

3. Tablets everywhere — from elementary schools to the office — Tablets have exploded in popularity over the past two years as an entertainment device, and we’re now seeing the devices used in formal environments, such as schools and offices. In 2015, this trend will gain traction. Some schools are switching from print textbooks to digital textbooks on tablets. The tablets are lighter than books, easier on the environment, and have been shown to increase student interactivity and creativity. In offices, tablets with detachable keyboards will become the go-to device for on-the-go productivity.

U.S. Cellular encourages the opportunities to bring technology into classrooms and works with business owners to determine the best way they can utilize tablets in their day-to-day operations,” Ellison said.

4. Growth of VoLTE — Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) is the next evolution in wireless calling. It provides several advantages over current voice calling, including higher-quality calls, power and spectrum efficiency related to bandwidth and the use of interactive services, such as easy video calling.

The technology has been championed by wireless carriers for several years now, but progress in bringing the benefits to consumers has moved slowly until this point. Now, 2015 will bring more VoLTE-enabled smartphones, which will entice more carriers to adopt the technology for customers.

U.S. Cellular is currently conducting trials of the service and plans to begin rolling it out in 2016,” Ellison added.

5. Cutting the cable cord — With wireless technology increasing access options to TV, movies and video, 2013 was the first year that traditional pay-TV services recorded negative new customers. The increased media consumption through computers, tablets and smartphones has led to an increase in “Cord Nevers,” young people who never have established a traditional pay-TV subscription.

This trend will expand in 2015, as some major networks, including HBO and CBS, are planning to provide streaming options outside of the traditional TV format.

We expect the cord-cutting trend to continue in 2015,” Ellison said. “And traditional TV networks and providers, as well as wireless carriers, will have to adapt their offerings to keep up with it.”

Posted Dec. 31, 2014

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