Top Industry News and Trends for the Coming Year: Our Predictions for 2015

Health and Wellness at the Office was our 2014 Story of the Year. Now it’s time for us to go out on limb and predict the top industry news and trends for 2015.

We picked a few industry sectors — ones that are well represented by Formaspace furniture customers — and polished our crystal ball. Let’s look toward to the future and see if we can predict what will happen next.

 

We look at our top predictions for 2015. Image from NASA showing extent of ‘Space Junk’ surrounding our planet.

We look at our top predictions for 2015. Image from NASA showing extent of ‘Space Junk’ surrounding our planet.

 

 

Aerospace and Outer Space: Predictions for 2015

First up is Aerospace. As we wrote recently in our article Outer Space is Back In: Enthusiasm for Space Exploration on the Rise, the intrepid little probe Philae sent to land on Comet 67P has electrified interest in space exploration in a way we haven’t seen since the NASA rover Curiosity landed on Mars.

 

Philae Landing Site. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Philae Landing Site. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

We’re still reading through the papers being presented at the plenary sessions of the American Geophysical Union Conference taking place right now in San Francisco. Among the many reports being released, this one is particularly interesting: the water isotope found on Comet 67P doesn’t match up with what’s found on earth. This mismatch may indicate that if the water found on Comet 67P is typical of other comets, then comets probably were not the source of water on earth.

 

2015 is Shaping Up to be a Banner Year in Space Exploration

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which is racing toward a rendezvous with Pluto, just woke up from its 18th planned slumber since it was launched in early 2006. The approach to Pluto begins in mid-January 2015 and it reaches its closest approach on July 14, 2015. The European Space Agency (ESA) will also be very busy in 2015. They plan to launch the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft, which will study gravitational waves by looking for “ripples in space time”.

ESA will also launch the ADM-Aeolus wind monitoring satellite in an effort to improve weather prediction on earth. There will be other space launches by private industry; we will touch on these below in the section Competitions, Crowd Funding and DIY. As we’ve mentioned before, NASA has announced its interest in pursuing mineral mining on asteroids and on the moon. They have entered into contracts with Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources.

 

So What’s Our Prediction for 2015?

We predict that a collision between an important satellite or spacecraft will occur during 2015. The collision may be from natural sources, but it’s increasingly likely that man-made space junk will be the root cause. We feel that once there is a space accident caused by such a collision, efforts will galvanize to recognize the problem of space junk and efforts to focus on Space Cleanup will begin. Our runner-up prediction is that Geo-Engineering of our atmosphere and outer space will become a commonly understood term, particularly in the context of space cleanup as well as engineering solutions to address global warming and climate change.

  • Top Prediction for 2015: Space Cleanup

  • Runner-Up: Geo-Engineering

 

Energy Markets and Climate Policy: Predictions for 2015

We certainly didn’t see the drop in oil prices during the final quarter of 2014 coming, so this makes us even more leery about making predictions for energy markets and climate policy for 2015. But we do know following this month’s Climate Summit in Lima, Peru, there will be a major climate meeting in Paris next year: the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. It’s scheduled for the end of November through mid-December 2015.

The objective is to create a legally binding, universal agreement on climate change that serves as the successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. When we look at future trends, energy conservation continues to advance through technology. European governments in particular are investing heavily in retrofitting residential housing to be more energy efficient. We are very intrigued by this article about the Dutch government practically bribing residents with brand-new IKEA kitchens in exchange for allowing them to install heavy duty insulation in their homes.

Our top prediction for 2015 is that Zero Emissions will become a widely understood concept in the coming year. And if the concept of Zero Emissions takes off, we may see its successor “Negative Emissions” come into widespread usage. What would we mean by negative emissions? This of course could apply to an electric car that also cleans the air as it runs, effectively reducing atmospheric emissions whenever it’s driven.

Sadly, we think the runner-up story really should be the top story for climate policy in 2015. We’re speaking about the continued widespread extinction of wildlife, particularly amphibians. Hopefully we will take greater action to prevent this but so far it has not become a top headline.

  • Top Prediction for 2015: Zero Emissions

  • Runner-Up: Mass Extinction of Amphibians

 

Competitions, Crowdfunding, and DIY: Predictions for 2015

The do-it-yourself (DIY) trend will continue strongly in 2015, spurred by many high dollar prize competitions and crowd funding efforts. Google in particular has latched on to the competition bandwagon by funding numerous prize competitions, including its Lunar X Space Race, a $20 million race to put a robot rover on the moon. Do-It-Yourselfers can also build their own tiny space satellite and launch it in the space. The importance of 3-D printing, which we covered extensively in the past, continues to grow in importance. The UK’s Royal Mail recently announced that they will begin to offer their own 3-D printing services, so mail customers can order 3-D parts which the royal mail will print and then deliver.

 

Arduino single-board microcontroller, part of the open source hardware movement. Image courtesy Wikimedia

Arduino single-board microcontroller, part of the open source hardware movement. Image courtesy Wikimedia

 

Our top prediction for 2015? We think that the clever, collaboratively designed Arduino circuit board will finally get the respect it deserves as a key springboard for the do-it-yourself maker movement. It’s been a core technology in creating the first generation 3D Printers and its role is as important as the IBM PC.

We predict that Google will be the runner-up winner. Between its space competitions to put cameras in low Earth orbit and its efforts to improve balloon technology as a platform for providing Internet services to remote areas across the globe, such as unserviced areas of Africa, will capture the public’s attention in 2015.

  • Top Prediction for 2015: Arduino Gets Respect

  • Runner-Up: Look up in the Sky, It’s Google!

 

Laboratory Discoveries: Predictions for 2015

Among potential laboratory discoveries, a cure for malaria would be among the top medical discoveries of all time. While the fear of the Ebola virus and other pandemic threats capture the news headlines, malaria was responsible for an estimated 207 million illnesses and 627,000 deaths in 2012 alone, according to be World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2013.

 

Formaspace-Ebola-Virus-colorized-TEM

Ebola Virus. Image courtesy CDC

 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been instrumental in funding research to reduce the impact of the disease and eventually find a cure. The recent announcement that there has been a 50% reduction in malaria is welcome news.

But the story that caught our attention was a report of the potential systemic cure for malaria by a compound that destroys the parasite itself. If this proves to be an effective treatment for malaria, this would be the top laboratory discovery story in 2015. We’re also confident to predict that one or more of the seven different approaches to curing or preventing the Ebola virus will show promise in 2015.

  • Top Prediction for 2015: Preventative Cure for Malaria

  • Runner-Up: Effective Ebola Vaccine

 

Furniture Industry: Predictions for 2015

Closer to home in the furniture industry, we have taken note that flatpack furniture sales are up worldwide in 2014. You may recall that during our review of the Neocon contract furniture show held in Chicago earlier this year, we identified some of the constraints facing today’s generation of furniture designers and that the need to design furniture to fit in a flatpack was now a primary consideration for many projects.

 

Formaspace-Materials-Handling-Allied-Electronics-2

 

What is Our Top Prediction for 2015?

We predict there is some Formaspace furniture in your future. Our technical furniture is designed for your research laboratory, healthcare facility, assembly line, distribution center, educational facility, or even a high-tech home workshop in your garage or industrial style kitchen in your home. All our furniture is made of the finest materials, manufactured in Austin, with steel sourced here in the USA. We back up the quality of our products with the longest guarantee in the industry: a full 12 years, even if you use it continuously with three work shifts.

 

  • Top Prediction for 2015: Formaspace in Your Future

  • Runner-Up: Flat Pack Furniture

 

 

Formaspace Wants to Help You Pursue Your Goals in Science, Engineering, and Manufacturing

Formaspace is here to help. Join the roster of satisfied Formaspace technical, manufacturing and laboratory furniture clients — including Apple Computer, Boeing, Dell, Eli Lilly, Exxon Mobile, General Electric, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Medtronic, NASA, Novartis, Stanford University, Toyota and more.

Give us a call today at 800.251.1505 to find out more about the Formaspace line of stock, semi-custom and custom-made computer workstations, industrial workbenches, laboratory furniture, lab benches and dry lab/wet labs — as well as our design / furniture consulting services. Our American-made technical furniture solutions are flexible, reconfigurable and long-lasting.

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