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5 Expert Insights Into 2015 Digital Media Trends

Feb 05, 2015 By Richard Smith

What is hot in digital media this year? We asked some of the folks we work with regularly – some recent clients of ours, guest speakers at the school, a recent grad who has launched his own company – to give us their thoughts on this question. Each of them is deeply committed to, and building things for, the issue they write about. Their answers reveal not just the latest trends but also the extent to which Vancouver companies are creating value across a broad range of digital media application areas. Importantly, most of their responses include a link to a local meet-up or association where you can get involved with others pushing the boundaries, creating companies and products, and learning from each other. Join them, and us, in creating the digital media products and services of the future.


Two of the hottest fronts in robotics will be in more autonomy through A.I., and more human control through exo-bionics. On the AI front, cars already brake, shift, park and make emergency evasive maneuvers for us. This trend will accelerate, handing over more control to the software and further separating drivers from the  driving experience. For some, this is a good thing, for others, a lamentable loss. The other end of the spectrum will see humans in more direct control though exo-bionic technology. The days of the Aliens loader are not far off. Already we see rehabilitative and military applications moving from the lab to the field and, in the very near future, exo-bionics will begin to transform sports and recreation, adding capability as well as unprecedented human experiences. Granted, a 2-story tall, exo-bionic racing machine may not get you to work faster, but it may make you feel more alive than a self-parking car.


  Jonathan Tippett

Lead Artist/Engineer Prosthesis: The Anti-Robot 

Learn more eatART.orgmondospider.com


This is a big year for consumer VR and AR experiences. Software and hardware are all aligned, even Microsoft is getting into AR with HoloLens, Oculus co-launching GearVR with Samsung, it's here to stay.  With all the advanced tech coming out, the true game changing experiences are yet to come.  We need to express ourselves with our eyes and hands.  Once we do, the physical world and digital worlds will fully collide and meld into our lives, opening a lucid dreamscape we can fill with our wildest imagination.

What we do with this profound new experience is always subject to an ageless philosophical debate, but the most common will be consumption: sports and entertainment. New business ventures will emerge to supply this medium, and it'll be composed of capturing the world in full volumetric, holographic 3D, streaming it, storing it, and experiencing it at home.  We've seen how smartphones have proven isolating. Just look around on a bus, we'll need to re-think the protocol with which AR is used at home and in the open public. Walking around with AR can be immensely powerful. It will grant the wearer full visual annotations and guidance, giving people an up-tick in intelligence when it's on. And VR will open our access to far-away tourist spots or teach a surgeon a breakthrough new procedure.

But there are risks with this widespread super-intelligence. It will infiltrate our mind's need for inner knowledge and make us even more distracted. AR/VR will be one more way we lose the all–important eye contact we need to communicate our soul's inner needs. When engineering our future, we have to design in ways we can uplift the human spirit, enabling a new world of freedom and enrichment.


Aaron Hilton

CTO & Co-founder at Conquer Mobile

Local Meetup Van/VR

Social Games

Much of “social gaming” became “mobile social gaming” thanks to the shift from Facebook game development to mobile game development during 2012 and 2013. By the end of 2015, half of all Facebook users will access that platform exclusively on mobile devices. Those people will likely choose native mobile apps for their social gaming experiences. Facebook social games such as Kings Road will continue to move across, where they remain vulnerable to competitors built for mobile from the ground up.

While the top-grossing charts will remain relatively stable, 2015 is the year someone gets a Crossy Road / Flappy Bird game to stick by applying social and RPG mechanics.

Based on the success of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, I suspect we’ll see an influx of celebrity-themed social games, most of which will fail.

I suspect the first killer app on the Oculus Rift will be a social application.


Haimsh Millar

Game Director Roadhouse Interactive

Roadhouse is hiring! Careers

Local Meetup Vancouver Mobile and Social Games


Internet of Things

We think 2015 is going to be a key year for mainstream awareness and acceptance of IoT. CES 2015 was all about various types of smart appliances, wearables, and experiences that connect our lives in meaningful ways, and all of the major consumer electronics companies affirmed their commitment to the platform during the show. We think that this year will also see a movement toward a more user-centric approach. It’s not going to be enough to come out with a cool gadget that can connect to a phone or the Internet. Devices will need to be secure, easily configured, and delightful to stand out amongst an increasingly noisy offering of me-too products in the space.


Trent Shumay

President/CTO  IoT Design Shop 

Learn more iotdesignshop.com


“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – Arthur C. Clarke

When I was a teenager, I had a calculator watch that I loved. Little did I know that I owned one of the very first “wearables”, an accessory that incorporates technology. Fast forward 35 years, and we finally have technology that is small enough, and powerful enough, to seemingly do magic. Manufacturers have moved past utilitarian design and are finally creating wearables we want to wear. Mass acceptance of wearables though, will rely on them fitting into our lifestyle, not forcing us to adapt to them. It has been years since I have worn a watch, but now I am looking forward to wearing one again. This is because they can track my health and integrate with my smartphone, two things that enhance my daily life, which is exactly what wearables should do.


D’Arcy Smith

Chief Technical Officer TerraTap Technologies, Inc.

Local groups Vancouver Internet of Things (IOT) Meetup Group

Wearable Tech Makers & Enthusiasts, Wearable World News

Products Navdy, DD Technologies, Pebble, Jawbone, Apple Watch, Recon, Bragi