We’ve seen some pretty interesting developments in the last 12 months. The flood of wearable devices, the hype around the Internet of Things, Heartbleed and the growing menace of state sponsored cyber attacks and of course the rise of drones.

Mobile and telecom research firm Juniper Research recently released its list of top tech trends for 2015.

Here’s a quick look at five of the critical developments that the firm believes will impact players across the value chain and consumers as well

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Providers to spend more on security – As high profile security breaches mount, cloud service providers will need to do everything they can to regain customer confidence. Juniper foresees businesses ramping up on investments in encryption and tokenization solutions to mitigate data loss and theft.

Biometrics will also play a more important role in user identification and transaction authentication. We see this already in many mobile payment solutions such as Apple Pay and Touch ID.
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Data bundles – Operators are moving away from monetisation of circuit switched voice and heading towards data bundles. Operators like Tele2 of Sweden are now offering voice service free of charge with data bundles. Verizon and AT&T are also focusing on data-driven account value.

As 4G coverage increases, Juniper said, there will be a shift in operator pricing with the focus going to data bundled with other services such as VoIP, third-party messaging and selected content.
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Crypto currency – The use of crypto currency will extend into the realm of physical retail in 2015. Juniper predicts high profile retail chains, hotels and restaurants will increasingly allow customers to pay with crypto currencies by the end of 2015.

PayPay is currently testing the waters and has allowed United states merchants selling digital goods to accept bitcoins through the PayPal Payments Hub. There’s also talk that Facebook is poised to introduce bitcoin support in its upcoming person-to-person Messenger Payments service.
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MEMS indoors – Wi-Fi is still the primary enabler for positioning a mobile device indoors. However, Wi-Fi inability to calculate elevation and errors introduced through signal noise takes a toll on the accuracy of the technology.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons are increasing in numbers. BLE can be combined with Wi-Fi access points and device embedded Micro-electronic-mechanical systems (MEMS) to provide more accurate location indoors.

For example, MEMS can be the primary source of movement data through dead-reckoning, while Wi-Fi and BLE can correct drift errors, according to Juniper.

Juniper, however, cautions that proximity-based coupon models are “over-hyped.”
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2015 the year of NFC, really – Near Field Communication (NFC) has been the “next big thing” for several years now. Juniper is betting that 2015 will be the year that NFC finally takes off.

“…we believe that the combination of Apple Pay and HCE (Host Card Emulation) should provide substantial impetus for NFC payments,” according to the research firm “Meanwhile, the arrival of a model whereby the secure element no longer resides on the SIM card but instead is remote to the handset removes the necessity for MNO (mobile network operator) involvement, making NFC more attractive to banks.”
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