Tech in 2016. What’s the deal? (Part 2)

Welcome back! How was your week? Mine was great thanks. Anyway. In my previous post, I predicted a great many things, from eSports domination to a cyber hack that floors a major company. If you missed it, you can check my first set of predictions out here. Great, now you’ve done that, I’ll crack on with the rest.

6. Keeping to the wearable theme, we’ll all learn what a ‘bezel’ is. Admit it, until smartwatches began appearing everywhere and the reviews started talking about them, you didn’t know what a bezel was. Now that they light up with information and move round to operate your Google calendar, bezel’s an everyday word in the tech industry. As more and more smartwatches appear in 2016, are consequently reviewed, and finally, are read by an increasing number of consumers, it will become common to know what a bezel is.

7. 3D printing will be cool. It’s still a little nerdy right now but the stuff being 3D printed will move on from being mainly lightsaber replicas to parts of houses, basic organs and the odd leg. People will get excited about it again but more about what is being done with 3D printing, not just the concept and possibilities of it.

8. More ad-blockers! People talking about ad-blockers!Arguments about ad-blocking! Ad-blocking’s going to be big in 2016.

9. There will be more M&As in fintech. Banks acquiring fintech startups. More specific FT private equity/VC funds will be launched. My colleague Rob told me this, so I don’t have much to add.

10.We’ll all get really quite bored with VR. 2016 sees the launch of a whole bunch of VR headsets. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve played with Rift and I think VR’s really bloody cool, but I’m a little nerdy. Loads of other people have played with Morpheus, Vibes, even Google cardboard and also think VR’s really cool. Problem is, they’re all a little nerdy too, so we’re all willing to forgive inconvenience, and my god will VR headsets be inconvenient. Your average consumer, who needs to buy and love VR devices for the idea to flourish, are going to get pretty bored of the wires, high spec requirements and having living rooms that aren’t big enough to actually use the devices. Consequently we’ll see the sort of situation that mobile handset manufacturers had with smartphones before the iPhone. The early adopters will endlessly hype VR, after an initial flourish of sales mainstream consumers will become frustrated, turn a deaf ear and get bored of the over-hyping. A second generation of VR will appear somewhere towards the end of 2017 without wires and throw VR back onto everyone’s Christmas lists. I’m putting my money on Sony to lead that wave, but in 2016 boredom will abound.

11. Biometrics in sport. This, just this. If you can use technology to tell you if Lebron might cramp up in the play offs or make sure Harry Kane doesn’t pick up an injury ahead of the Euros, why wouldn’t you? You can do that, and with increasing certainty and deeper understanding. Sports teams have noticed, governing bodies are formalising rules around the concept, and biometrics are fast becoming a huge element of any sport. Expect to hear a lot about how biometric technologies are helping athletes achieve more this year, especially with Rio and the Euros on the horizon.

12. We'll see more legislation around data protection and "consumerisation". There will be legal crackdown on Uber, AirBnB and similar disruptors. They will respond with more aggressiveness and services. There won’t be any winners in 2016 but eventually the disruptors will win.

13. Perceptual computing and biometrics will break the tyranny of passwords. This one’s pretty easy. Windows 10 is out and being installed faster than any other operating system that Microsoft has ever launched (helps that it’s free to so many). One of Windows 10’s killer apps is that it enables perceptual computing – logging into stuff with your face. You need a computer that will allow it (that usually means a device with an Intel RealSense camera installed) which will hold back adoption of perceptual computing a little, but OS releases often spur refresh cycles, so we’ll see a whole bunch of people discover the joy of logging in with their face in 2016 and the beginning of the end for passwords.

Check back around mid-December 2016 to see how I did. I’ll give you a cookie for each one I got wrong.*

*Offer applies only to the first two people to highlight my errors. Cookies will be supermarket own brand or a name brand that was on offer at the same price.


Paul Crouch

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search