~ by Merry Law, President of WorldVu LLC
All predictions are based on the experiences and the personal and professional environment of the person predicting. For me, this includes international work with addresses and personal data and with postal operators internationally. Any predictions are no more than guesswork on the most probable trends for the next year. Here are mine for 2015.
1. The economic recovery will continue in the U.S. but remain uneven in the rest of the world. In the U.S., the recovery will be uneven between regions and industries. Government revenues will lag and, hence, infrastructure improvements will be slow or neglected. Uncertainty in international relations will retard growth, particularly in Europe.
2. International growth in e-commerce will continue, with more use of mobile devices for all types of access. There will be a move to m-commerce and m-marketing as separate specialties. The development of systems to support the movement of smaller packages around the world will lag and be a break on the growth of this commerce.
3. “The Cloud” will continue to grow, with more companies moving to Cloud storage, Cloud computing, and Cloud file-sharing. A cautionary note to this is data protection and security. As more access is available the security risks increase.
4. Hacking will become a greater problem with more breaches of secure data kept by large and smaller companies and all levels of government. No system or network that can be accessed remotely is completely safe. If someone can think up a security scheme, someone else can figure out a way to circumvent it.
5. Big Data will continue to become more useful and accessible to a broader range of companies, as software development to analyze large data sets and the techniques to use the results become more widespread.
6. Privacy will become a greater concern for consumer activists, government regulators, and politicians. The reaction of consumers will remain mixed depending on the particulars of each data collection and the age, experience and area of residence of the individual consumer. Hacking and data breaches will generally increase the demand for more privacy protections.
7. More countries will introduce addressing systems with postal codes. Most of these will be in Africa with a smaller number in South America. Unfortunately, these official systems will not be adopted quickly by the residents and post office and descriptive addresses will remain the norm.
8. Shipping and postal costs will continue to increase, even with the extraordinary reduction in the price of gasoline. (Nobody predicted that happening!)
9. Mail volumes will level off. The decrease in volume of letter mail will slow. Parcel volume will increase but the increase will be more moderate than some predictions. Together, they will stabilize over the next few years to a new normal.
10. There will be no relief for the USPS and other financially-strapped Postal Operators. The reasons vary depending on country and region. In the EU, government subsidies have ended and many postal operators have not adjusted to a competitive environment. In other places, governments continue to be reluctant to fund postal operations or are themselves dealing with budget shortages. Or, as in the U.S., political realities prevent action on postal matters. This will lead to the collapse of postal operators in some countries.
Best wishes to you all a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!