Tuesday, December 08, 2015

From AI to Virtual Reality What Will Be The Hottest Tech Trends for 2016

Consumers are driving new technology and trends like never before. As the speed of technology adoption has increased, mass-market use becomes the norm much quicker than before. This means successful new products and services now reach the mass market in only a matter of years rather than the slower uptake of old. Engaged consumers are pushing the era of prosumption – consumers actively participating and engaging in the production process – often through online user reviews, opinion sharing, petitions and instant crowd activities such as crowd funding.

With the lightening fast changes in the tech world it is often difficult to predict what technology will evolve to become the next mainstream success. While many of the past predictions out there seemed overly futuristic, many of reached mass market adoptions faster than ever thought. This week Ericsson ConsumerLab released their 5th annual Hot Consumer Trends report for 2016, chalked full of some rather bold predictions for what hot new tech you may be seeing come to life in the next year.

The insights in the “10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2016 (PDF)” report come from Ericsson ConsumerLab’s global research program and cover a range of consumer opinions. The broadest trend is representative of 1.1 billion people across 24 countries, whereas the narrowest represents 46 million urban smartphone users in 10 major cities.

These are the 10 trends for 2016 and beyond:
  1. The Lifestyle Network Effect. Four out of five people now experience an effect where the benefits gained from online services increases as more people use them. Globally, one in three consumers already participates in various forms of the sharing economy.
  2. Streaming Natives. Teenagers watch more YouTube video content daily than other age groups. Forty-six percent of 16-19 year-olds spend an hour or more on YouTube every day.
  3. AI Ends The Screen Age. Artificial intelligence will enable interaction with objects without the need for a smartphone screen. One in two smartphone users think smartphones will be a thing of the past within the next five years.
  4. Virtual Gets Real. Consumers want virtual technology for everyday activities such as watching sports and making video calls. Forty-four percent even want to print their own food.
  5. Sensing Homes. Fifty-five percent of smartphone owners believe bricks used to build homes could include sensors that monitor mold, leakage and electricity issues within the next five years. As a result, the concept of smart homes may need to be rethought from the ground up.
  6. Smart Commuters. Commuters want to use their time meaningfully and not feel like passive objects in transit. Eighty-six percent would use personalized commuting services if they were available.
  7. Emergency Chat. Social networks may become the preferred way to contact emergency services. Six out of 10 consumers are also interested in a disaster information app.
  8. Internables. Internal sensors that measure well-being in our bodies may become the new wearables. Eight out of 10 consumers would like to use technology to enhance sensory perceptions and cognitive abilities such as vision, memory and hearing.
  9. Everything Gets Hacked. Most smartphone users believe hacking and viruses will continue to be an issue. As a positive side-effect, one in five say they have greater trust in an organization that was hacked but then solved the problem.
  10. Netizen Journalists. Consumers share more information than ever and believe it increases their influence on society. More than a third believe blowing the whistle on a corrupt company online has greater impact than going to the police.

Michael Bj√∂rn, Head of Research, Ericsson ConsumerLab, says: “Some of these trends may seem futuristic. But consumer interest in new interaction paradigms such as AI and virtual reality (VR), as well as in embedding the internet in the walls of homes or even in our bodies, is quite strong. “This means we could soon see new consumer product categories appearing – and whole industries transforming – to accommodate this development.”

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