Smart wearables

Last week, we at e27, analysed the top 10 consumer tech trends based on consumers’ feedback to Ericsson ConsumerLab.

Now, using a separate study conducted by Juniper Research, we will take a macro view of the general tech landscape and analyse the trends that will affect not just the consumer market, but the commercial space and workplace in 2016.

1.  Adoption of VR tech by commercial industries

2016 may mark the watershed year of Virtual Reality (VR). Big players such as Oculus, Sony and HTC are expected to roll out their core consumer VR products next year. This could also provide an opportunity to expand it for mass commercial usage.

As the technology continues to evolve, improvements in the hardware and software will make VR technology not only more stable, but also cheaper. With this increased stability, critical verticals such as industrial and healthcare will be able to leverage on their applications to improve services.

Also Read: 5 crowdfunding gifts to put under the tree this year

2. Consumer robotics will take off

Japan appears to be leading the way in the adoption of robots and robotic services. This year, Japan’s Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank Mobile released Pepper, a social humanoid robot with the ability to recognise your mood based on your facial features, body language and choice of words. Within a minute of its launch in June, 1000 units were sold.

Also Read: Singapore’s Infinium Robotics in talks with NASA to build drone software

3. Wearables in the workplace

Most wearables, other than fitness-tracking devices, have not risen above their ‘fad’ status in the consumer market. But surprisingly, they might find greater success elsewhere — in the enterprise market. Desk-less industries and government agencies are expected to adopt smart glasses, semi-independent smartwatches and motion-sensing devices in 2016.

Based on several tests and pilots, it was deduced that the introduction of wearables in the workplace could boost productivity by 30 per cent.

4. Emergence of 5G networks

A substantial portion of smartphone users have yet to migrate to 4G networks, but the future waits no one. High speed 5G networks are already here, and although the standards are still being finalised, several mobile phone companies and telecom are already undergoing trials.

Ericsson, Huawei, Vodafone have already started testing 5G networks in the Netherlands.

In Asia, Ericsson and Softbank collaborated to conduct tests in Tokyo; ZTE teamed up with KT to launch a 5G test bed in Seoul.

Verizon Wireless plans to launch commercial 5G networks in 2017.

5. More cross-platform integration

Cross-platform integration may take off next year with Microsoft spearheading the trend. Its Windows 10 operating system enables users to stream their Xbox One games onto other Windows 10 devices on the same WiFi network. Apple has also introduced applications to its Apple TV device. This allows users to control Apple apps on their Apple TV using iOS devices such as the iPhone.

6. Financial Institutions embracing Blockchain Technology

While Bitcoin still faces widespread skepticism, leading banking players such as Deutsche Bank and UBS are exploring ways to leverage on its blockchain technology to make online transactions more secure.

By becoming ‘the custodians of cryptographic keys’, banks could potentially create a common standard for securities trading.

Also Read: 5 reasons why Bitcoin price has hit a new high this year

7. Hybrid gaming consoles on cloud

Nintendo’s NX console, a device purportedly able to support handheld, portable games alongside at-home console games, is expected to launch in 2016.

The device will likely be relying on cloud technology to reduce cost and maximise battery usage. This move could see other major game console companies with existing cloud infrastructure, such as Sony and Microsoft, follow suit.

8. A new revenue stream for eSports

The global eSports industry is already a massive billion-dollar industry. Some tournaments offer crowdfunded million-dollar prizes and attract up to millions of online spectators. For example, the 2015 Gfinity Championships in London topped 30 million viewers worldwide. With such widespread audience interest, some stakeholders are considering introducing paid premium streams for spectators in 2016.

9. New security models

The ubiquitous digitisation of services and devices across many vectors will likely see the need for complex security frameworks. In 2016, Juniper Research believes that security systems will rely on “monitoring network activity for anomalies, rather than the traditional methods of detecting malicious code in programme structures.”

10. Crowdfunding accelerating startups

While VC funding will still be a major catalyst for many startups, more are turning towards crowdfunding for money. The crowdfunding industry hit US$14 billion in 2014 and is expected to double by the end of this year. 2016 may very well see the emergence of equity-based or rewards-based crowdfunding sites dedicated to tech startups.

For the full report, click here.

Also Read: Rewards-based vs equity crowdfunding — what works better?