It is once again time for my annual (14th consecutive to be specific) predictions for the mobile industry.  When I wrote last year’s predictions, I (and really no one) could have foreseen the momentous events that 2020 brought the world.  From the global COVID-19 pandemic to the significant Black Lives Matter protests, and actions, climate-related events, to the US presidential election, its aftermath and more.  All have impacted the wireless / mobile industry, but in many ways, the mobile industry has responded well to the pandemic, which has been the overriding issue for the planet in 2020.

At the beginning of 2019, we were in an extended government shutdown, but that blip is now ancient history. Since then, so much has happened – much of it good, but some of it not so good. 5G became a commercial reality; IoT flourished, but both also managed to disappoint in some areas. In our messaging world, rich communication services (RCS) gained ground, but mobile operators lagged, despite many actions from Google. Still, gains were made in all of these key areas.

Normally, each year in the dead of winter, I publish a predictions article about the coming year. Earlier this year, we published my 12th consecutive predictions for the mobile industry. However, today, I would like to dust off the crystal ball and push it a little bit further into the future to look at how the messaging industry might evolve over the coming five to 10 years.

Here we go again. This is the 12th consecutive edition of my mobile industry predictions, originally published in January of 2008. While we try to cover most major aspects of the mobile industry, we do tend to emphasize messaging-related topics as well as consumer engagement. But we also focus on key industry trends such as devices, mobile payments, and blockchain. If a trend begins to fall out of favor, then it may disappear from subsequent predictions. You can get a detailed review and accounting of my 2018 predictions here.

I published my first set of mobile predictions in January 2008. This is my tenth installment. My blog has had several iterations since it was initially part of the Sybase company blog space (we were known as Sybase 365, back then). When SAP acquired Sybase, most of my postings were migrated to the original SCN for Mobile area and now to the “new” SAP Community Network blogs. Some of the very old postings (before February 2011) are unfortunately no longer available in existing SAP archives.

We are inundated by the latest hype: Everyday, someone is launching a new wearable.  The Apple Watch sold out in its initial offering and of course, exceeded all expectations once again. Not to be outdone, Google is upgrading its own OS to create a better smartwatch that will rival the Apple Watch. In the automotive world, we are peppered by news stories about the “connected car” to the “fully autonomous self-driving car.”  That notwithstanding, we already enjoy many driving autonomous features such as adaptive cruise control, lane detection, and preventative braking. Already, Tesla is launching the first elements of its much anticipated “autopilot.”  Delphi recently completed a cross-country run of its self-driving technology and of course, Google thinks they can have an autonomous driving vehicle ready for the market in 5 years.