10 TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2015

As the world ac­cel­er­ates head­long into R the new year, Dion Chang of­fers his take on what will shape our fu­ture. Here is his list of ...

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DISORDER – THE WAY OF THE NEW WORLD OR­DER

R ules and reg­u­la­tions be damned. The new world or­der is rife with non-state com­bat­ants and rebel groups who flout the Geneva Con­ven­tion when it comes to war. A UN re­port states that the majority of peace­keep­ers are in Africa, fac­ing mil­i­tant groups like Boko Haram, who tar­get in­no­cent civil­ians, schools and churches.

Per­haps the most disturbing disorder is the Is­lamic State’s re­cruit­ment cam­paign aimed at Western­ers and, alarm­ingly, how the Is­lamic State tar­gets non-Mus­lims and re­cent con­verts in the West. Their cam­paign has proven to be highly suc­cess­ful. Add to this the dis­rup­tion caused by cy­ber­hack­ers like Guardians of Peace, re­spon­si­ble for the Sony hack, and the en­emy of the new world or­der has gone vir­tual.

Back home, with Par­lia­ment de­scend­ing into chaos as in­sults and walk­outs cre­ate may­hem and dis­ar­ray, disorder is also right here on our doorstep. Whether the is­sues are po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, eco­nomic or tech­no­log­i­cal, brace your­selves for an un­pre­dictable 2015. THE POL­I­TICS OF FOOD

L ast year, a Rus­sian con­sumer watch­dog shut down four McDon­ald’s restau­rants in Moscow for al­leged san­i­tary vi­o­la­tions – a move seen by crit­ics as a tit for tat sanc­tions war with the US.

In the same month, Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin or­dered an em­bargo on meat, poul­try, fish, dairy and pro­duce from the US, Canada, Aus­tralia, Norway and the EU in re­sponse to those coun­tries’ eco­nomic sanc­tions against his coun­try.

Back home, mem­bers of the Congress of SA Stu­dents made a po­lit­i­cal state­ment by plac­ing a pig’s head in the kosher sec­tion of Wool­worths’ Sea Point branch to protest against the re­tailer’s trade re­la­tion­ship with Is­rael.

Food seems to be the new weapon for diplo­matic protest. The say­ing “a way to a man’s heart is through his stom­ach” might need to be re­vised to “a way to push through a po­lit­i­cal view is via the drive-thru”. NEST­ING LATER & THE RISE OF THE EGGFREEZ­ING PARTY

F irms like Face­book and Ap­ple have made egg-freez­ing a stan­dard health ben­e­fit for a young fe­male work­force that must choose whether to have ba­bies or fur­ther their ca­reers.

But it’s not only big tech firms mak­ing the “nest­ing later” op­tion pos­si­ble. Sis­ters are do­ing it for them­selves at egg-freez­ing par­ties, where women learn more about the egg-freez­ing process from a fer­til­ity ex­pert.

How­ever, de­layed par­ent­hood doesn’t work well for men. A new study in JAMA Psy­chi­a­try sug­gests men may have a limited re­pro­duc­tive time­line. A study of 2.6 mil­lion chil­dren has sug­gested the chil­dren of fa­thers 45 and older were three times more likely to have autism spec­trum disorder, 13 times more likely to have ADHD and 24 times more likely to have bipo­lar disorder than the chil­dren of fa­thers aged 20 to 24. MOVE OVER MIL­LEN­NI­ALS, HERE COMES GEN­ER­A­TION Z

C om­pet­ing for the at­ten­tion of the so­cial-me­dia-savvy gen­er­a­tion, com­pa­nies are re­lent­less in their pur­suit of ap­peal­ing to Mil­len­ni­als. In 2015, they’ll have a new fo­cus – grab­bing the at­ten­tion and meet­ing the de­mands of Gen­er­a­tion Z. For ex­am­ple, as mem­bers of Gen­er­a­tion Z be­gin to make their own de­ci­sions about where they go out to eat, restau­rants will have to start ap­peal­ing to a new breed of cus­tomer in 2015 and beyond. That means up­ping the ante with hi-tech ser­vice and height­ened ex­pe­ri­ences.

Born be­tween 1994 and 2010, Gen­er­a­tion Zs will also be a prime tar­get in 2015 for in­tern recruitments by for­ward-think­ing com­pa­nies.

Com­pa­nies like Face­book, LinkedIn and VMware are al­ready pay­ing high school stu­dents thou­sands of dol­lars as in­terns. Com­pa­nies are try­ing to close the skills gap and, in an ever-com­pet­i­tive mar­ket, are vy­ing for the best tal­ent. Grab their at­ten­tion early and it may lead to the elu­sive Holy Grail: brand loy­alty. WEAR­ABLE TECH: COM­PU­TA­TIONAL COU­TURE

2 014 was wear­able tech’s big de­but, but 2015 sees a hitech fash­ion ro­mance blos­som­ing. Style met wear­able tech­nol­ogy with “smart” jew­ellery at New York Fash­ion Week last year with ac­ces­sories like an 18 carat gold-plated ring fea­tur­ing semi­precious stones that con­nects to a smart­phone and alerts the user to no­ti­fi­ca­tions. But wear­able tech is mov­ing beyond smart watches and jew­ellery, and into smart gar­ments.

Amanda Parkes, prod­uct en­gi­neer at Sk­in­ter­ac­tive Stu­dios, says: “Com­pa­nies are mak­ing gad­gets that are at­tached to your body. That’s not in­no­va­tion, re­ally.”

She’s de­signed a dress that uses piezo­elec­tric ma­te­rial to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity from the wearer’s move­ments. The en­ergy is then stored and used to charge a de­vice. The sports in­dus­try has been the fron­trun­ner in us­ing nan­otech­nol­ogy to mon­i­tor per­for­mance. This tech­nol­ogy will move from the labs to the streets. ES­PORT: GAMING’S PAR­AL­LEL UNI­VERSE RE­VEALED

V ir­tual re­al­ity comes of age with the rise of dig­i­tal ath­letes as eS­port gains more com­peti­tors and fans. eS­ports are video game com­pe­ti­tions be­tween pro­fes­sional gamers – in cy­berspace.

The most common video game gen­res as­so­ci­ated with elec­tronic sports are real-time strat­egy, hand-to-hand com­bat, first-per­son shooter and mul­ti­player are­nas.

Gaming events like Mod­ern War­fare and Star­Craft II are or­gan­ised with mil­i­tary pre­ci­sion and spon­sored by bil­lion-dol­lar fran­chises. Play­ers amass loyal fans and spon­sor­ships.

eS­port is also a se­ri­ous business. Twitch TV, which boasts 55 mil­lion unique view­ers a month, was bought by Ama­zon last year for just less than $1 bil­lion, and a Hol­ly­wood stu­dio spon­sors US Star­Craft II tour­na­ments.

Big spon­sors for lo­cal eS­ports now in­clude Telkom and MTN. South African shout­cast­ers – peo­ple who give live com­men­tary – in­clude Kyle “Congo” Wol­marans and Trevor “Qu1ksh0t” Henry, who are highly re­spected and have huge fol­low­ings. emote-pa­tient mon­i­tor­ing – a trend linked and en­abled by wear­able tech – is poised to rev­o­lu­tionise the health­care in­dus­try. Cisco pre­sented its of­fer­ing of re­mote-pa­tient mon­i­tor­ing at My World of To­mor­row in Joburg last year. This is a sys­tem where a satel­lite clinic in a re­mote area run by nurs­ing staff is able to con­sult with a net­work of doc­tors. A pa­tient’s vi­tal signs are up­loaded into a cloud-based sys­tem, which the doc­tor ac­cesses in real time and via we­b­cam, al­low­ing the doc­tor to speak to the pa­tient and nurse.

By March, South Africa will be in­tro­duced to My Doc­tor24, a lo­cal on­line ser­vice that puts you in touch with a doc­tor who will as­sess the ur­gency of your ail­ment via re­mote con­sul­ta­tion.

For health­care pro­fes­sion­als, Fig­ure 1 is an app for dis­cussing med­i­cal is­sues on a global scale, and is al­ready prov­ing in­valu­able in South Africa, con­nect­ing doc­tors in ru­ral ar­eas with city cen­tres. IS IT A BIRD? IS IT A PLANE? NO, IT’S JUST ANOTHER DRONE

F rom de­liv­er­ing piz­zas to sav­ing lives, the sky’s the limit for drone tech. Am­bu­lance Drone is an all-pur­pose med­i­cal tool­kit that can be flown to any sit­u­a­tion to help peo­ple per­form non­tech­ni­cal life-sav­ing pro­ce­dures.

London-based Bizzby Sky is al­ready cre­at­ing a dro­neon-de­mand ser­vice. A Bizzby drone can trans­port items that weigh up to 500g (like a set of keys if you’ve locked your­self out of your house or car). Ama­zon has promised drone de­liv­ery by 2016.

Last year, the SA Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity clamped down on the use of drones for com­mer­cial pur­poses with­out a spe­cial li­cence, but the drone revo­lu­tion is un­stop­pable.

Drones are al­ready widely in use here for com­mer­cial film­ing and anti-poach­ing op­er­a­tions. Cape Town has plans to test drones to mon­i­tor land oc­cu­pa­tions, crime and nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

A Pre­to­ria-based company is de­vel­op­ing a drone that could spray tear gas and fire rub­ber bul­lets at pro­test­ers. The company re­vealed that an un­named min­ing company has or­dered 25 units. CLICK AND COL­LECT. FETCH AND GO

A survey from Which?, a company that reviews prod­ucts and ser­vices, found that more than 60% of peo­ple shop­ping on­line last year had prob­lems with de­liv­ery. Click and Col­lect is a con­ve­nient so­lu­tion for on­line shop­ping that of­fers cus­tomers the op­tion of col­lect­ing their pur­chases at places like shop­ping cen­tres or petrol sta­tions.

In the US, Ama­zon has in­stalled Click and Col­lect lock­ers in shop­ping cen­tres. Pi­o­neer­ing Click and Col­lect in South Africa, Makro fi­nalised an agree­ment with Sa­sol last year that will pro­vide na­tion­wide ac­cess to Sa­sol’s ex­ten­sive fore­court net­work.

Makro is also ac­quir­ing ac­cess to other sites to en­able Click and Col­lect de­liv­ery. SO­CIAL-ME­DIA LAWS COME OF AGE

A s a re­sult of the ex­plo­sion of so­cial-me­dia cul­ture, em­ploy­ment re­la­tions and em­ploy­ment law are set to get more com­pli­cated.

So­cial-me­dia lit­i­ga­tion is on the in­crease both in­ter­na­tion­ally and lo­cally. In a case in the UK, a man’s co-work­ers posted a sta­tus up­date on his Face­book page with­out his per­mis­sion: “Fi­nally came out of the closet. I am gay and proud.”

It was posted at work, dur­ing of­fice hours. The em­ploy­ees re­spon­si­ble for the post were held to be vi­car­i­ously li­able for con­duct that amounted to sex­ual ha­rass­ment on the grounds of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.

So­cial me­dia has gen­er­ated new spe­cial­i­ties in the le­gal pro­fes­sion, which in­clude peo­ple like so­cial law ex­pert Emma Sadleir in South Africa, whose ex­per­tise in­cludes all as­pects of print and elec­tronic me­dia law. Her clients in­clude cor­po­ra­tions and par­ents whose chil­dren are threat­ened with ex­pul­sion from school. DOC­TORS GO DIG­I­TAL: HEALTH­CARE 3.0

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