Five Tech Trends of 2016 And How They Will Transform Your Business

January 16, 2016

We live in a world where, in a period of a few hours, a developer can modify a Google Calendar to allow a colleague to add a Starbuck’s coffee order to a meeting invite. An Uber driver can pick up that order and then deliver it to a client’s office five minutes before a scheduled meeting starts. 2016 is here.

The question is what tech trends and innovations should be expected and how will they change the usual way of things?

VR Goes from Virtual to Reality

VR Goes from Virtual to Reality

Virtual reality is ubiquitous in the areas of gaming, mobile and entertainment, and will be used in many other areas, and there is the increased consumer availability of VR/AR headsets — from Oculus Rift to the Hololens.

Companies creating cheap durable VR viewers and cameras will partner with media companies — as well as government, humanitarian, and other organizations — to create stories that enable people to connect on a personal level. VR will become a widely used personal and professional tool and will only continue to evolve, giving new opportunities for web and mobile app developers.

VR for Medical Therapy

At the University of Washington, burn patients undergoing medical procedures can wear headsets to play uniquely designed VR games. These games provide an immersive environment that soothes and distract patients from their excruciating pain, drastically reducing their need for highly addictive narcotic painkillers.

Travis Jakel, analyst at Piper Jaffray, says “By the end of 2016, there could be 12.2 million VR headsets in homes.” He expects Rift sales to come in at 3.6 million and Gear VR to hit 5 million. Vive, meanwhile, is estimated to sell 2.1 million units, while PlayStation VR is slated to sell 1.4 million.”

Here’s a small sneak peak at some 2016 tech predictions from WSJ:

Artificial Intelligence Is Getting Smarter

“In advanced machine learning, deep neural nets (DNNs) move beyond classic computing and information management to create systems that can autonomously learn to perceive the world, on their own,” said David Cearley, Vice President and Gartner Fellow.

Rise of Chatbots with Strong AI

The AI enabled assistants, sometimes referred to as “chatbots,” represent noteworthy advancements in computer programs that simulate conversations.

“Chatbots are designed to answer questions, to perform searches, to interact with you in a very simple form, such as jokes or weather,” said Brian Solis, principal analyst with Altimeter Group. “Ultimately, they should be able to anticipate your needs and help you shop.”

 AI in Finance

Banks today are beginning to use technologies like Palantir to protect internal IP, IBM’s Watson to reduce loan delinquencies, and startups like SensAI to prevent fraud by looking for patterns in large troves of data.

“Over the next five years we will evolve to a post-app world with intelligent agents delivering dynamic and contextual actions and interfaces,” said David Cearley. “IT leaders should explore how they can use autonomous things and agents to augment human activity and free people for work that only people can do. However, they must recognize that smart agents and things are a long-term phenomenon that will continually evolve and expand their uses for the next 20 years.”

AI in Shopping

Retail is one of the industries most affected by the data revolution. Data collation now enables a building of bidirectional relationship between retailers and their customers, yielding empirical metrics to corroborate subjective vision. One of the obvious examples is Amazon, which uses a supervised machine learning algorithm (SMLA) platform to make recommendations.

“Ignoring data can have dramatic results. Data science, data design, and data strategy each serve as a necessary tool for product creation. They enable a dynamic relationship between designers and users, and a personalized, adaptive experience. Data driven design will fundamentally change the retail experience and the design of the products, catapulting companies to rich insights and sustainable growth,” said Charlie Burgoyne, Principal Director of Data Science at frog.

More and More Devices Will Be Speaking to Each Other

If 2000 was a year of extreme data-capturing, 2016 is a year of data driven design. Gartner says that by 2020, 25 billion devices will be generating data about almost every topic imaginable. There will be a plethora of data, but making sense of it will be the trick.

Sensing technologies and mHealth

The notion of the single purpose, visible, discrete, battery- or mains-powered sensor will be rare. This revolution is being led by companies like Well Being Digital—producers of tiny biosensors that fit on and around the human body, and Clime—producers of environmental sensors that combine a wee form factor with the ability to fuse together basic measurements such as temperature, humidity, light and movement to drive subtle applications.

“The days of $60, AAA battery-operated ZigBee temperature sensors (the size of a deck of cards) are numbered. For a fraction of that price, users can have half a dozen sensors packed into something the size of a thumbnail. This means today’s sensor makers will have to adapt — or be irrelevant,” said Patrick Kalaher, VP of Technology Strategy, frog.


A majority of CIOs list security as their top priority, especially with an increased number of companies that have experienced breaches. Historical norms have been to play defense, but Gartner predicts that more tools will be available to go on the offensive, leveraging predictive modeling, for example, allowing apps to protect themselves from threats.

IoT is speeding up across the globe, and as Howdy Pierce wrote earlier this year, “companies that develop smart devices with autonomous operation that create additional value for the end user will be the most successful in the long run.”

Haptic feedback is getting real – helping to bring the sensation of texture, vibration, and motion to those interactions. 2016 could see haptics incorporated into a much wider range of surfaces. Haptic feedback could let shoppers “feel” the texture of clothing online, help older people regain balance with haptic insoles, or help drivers use displays without taking their eyes off the road.

Wearable data such as activity levels and sleep patterns will be crowd sourced to automatically and objectively rate the products and services we use. Imagine exercise class ratings based on activity data of participants, or mattress ratings based on sleep data from users.

“To make this happen, wearable companies must open their data troves for third-party data mining. One wearable will never rule them all. Instead, thousands of different wearables will sense and track different things, each generating their own proprietary barges of data. Being able to easily aggregate this information from the myriad sensors and trackers into one place will be the biggest hurdle…and opportunity,” by Kyle Wolf, Interaction Designer at frog.

Mobile. Faster. Cross-platform. Secured.

There is no denying that 2015 has been a lush year for mobile. Let’s take a quick look at some stats:

  • In a study by Smart Insights earlier this year, it was found that in the United States, mobile digital media time is now much higher (51%) than desktop digital time (42%).
  • Practically two-thirds (64%) of Americans now own a smartphone [Pew Internet Project].
  • Of those in the United States with smartphones, 46% say they can’t live without their smartphone [Pew Research Center].

From wearable technology to iOS, expect even more cross-platform tools to be available in 2016, meaning that mobile app development and design won’t be restricted to single platforms and a surge of cross-platform development is starting to get underway.

Throughout 2016 and beyond, the period between the initial app idea and the launch will decrease significantly. Rapid app development tools and frameworks are already on the market and continue evolving.

“We will find ourselves in a world where brands we never expected are selling us services and products we never would have imagined,” says Ronan Dunne, chief executive of telecoms company, O2.

Security in mobile is a necessity

Currently, very few mobile apps would be able to pass basic security tests against hacking, but as cybersecurity looms in the minds of both businesses and consumers, developers are taking a serious look at dealing with security issues.

It’s important not only to follow the trends, but to react, and react as quickly as possible. The rapid growth of new technology creates more opportunities for small and medium businesses to grow and gain control over the market. Following these trends will boost the chances of your business to maintain its hold on the market and deliver insights into new money-making ventures.