The vast amount of information now flowing through businesses and across the internet is unlocking the potential for innovative new technologies and business models, but will need ever more robust security and protection. Erasmus Holm, EMEA marketing director at Stibo Systems, outlines his predictions for technology trends in the coming year.
1. Welcome to the Unicorn Club
The amount of data available, in so many facets and from so many sources, has unlocked a new level of innovation and creativity significantly greater than ever before.
And, as digital disruption continues to challenge and change traditional business models, we’ll see ever more billion-dollar start-ups swelling the ranks of the Unicorn Club next year.
Like the dot.com bubble of 20 years ago, or the early days of ecommerce, we’ll see widening culture and age gaps between the new and the established. Indeed, CEOs of established businesses are already coming together to discuss how they can survive this potential disruption.
But I’d warn that that, unlike with the high street wars between supermarket giants and smaller independent retailers, these start-ups shouldn’t be seen as threats to be crushed. Instead, older, more traditional businesses should embrace their new way of doing things, learning from them, and perhaps buying them for the skills and innovation they offer.
2. More robots
While 2016 won’t see Terminator-style robots roaming the Earth (hopefully), we can certainly expect to see our first self-driving cars on the road next year, and we should expect a growth in the kind of automated intelligence that helps us in our work and personal lives.
For some it may be a robotic vacuum cleaner, while for others it could be sophisticated software solutions designed to help them manage complex tasks and analytics. The increase in wearables and connected devices, combined with the widespread adoption of tablets and smartphones will lead to what Gartner terms a “device mesh”, where all devices operate in conjunction with each other, rather than in isolation.
The feedback and insight into our daily lives that they offer should help us to better manage our health, our work/life balance, and our domestic routines.
And, as these devices and software become intrinsically involved with all aspects of our lives, we will finally reach the point where we are always online. Whether or not that’s a good thing is probably something we’ll look back at towards the end of next year.
3. Security architecture
This year’s constant slew of headlines has proven that the issue of security – both corporate and private – is becoming more important every day.
Businesses and individuals are increasingly being held liable for corporate breaches. In addition, a rise in identity theft and malicious threats has led to consumers and business-people alike focusing on more effective ways of protecting their privacy and regaining control over the information they hold and that is held by others.
With so many attack vectors available to cybercriminals, and more being realised all the time, technology appears to be at the heart of the problem. But it should also be the solution.
2016 will be the year in which we have to give serious consideration to the security capacity of everything we build or produce. Security now needs to be built in from the start – no longer an add-on or afterthought.
4. Information of Everything
The tidal wave of information continues to grow. As we predicted last year, businesses are relying less on instinct and more on analysing data to inform their decisions and discussions.
By way of example, two of this year’s most disruptive companies have demonstrated the value that can be derived from this data. After all, Uber doesn’t own a car, and Airbnb doesn’t own a hotel.
The challenge now is in making sense of the wealth of information available in its myriad of different forms, received from multiple channels, devices and physical touchpoints.
Next year, the focus will need to shift from managing the sheer volume of information to which businesses are exposed, to better handling it, by analysing and using different aspects of the data in order to derive the best value and insights from them.
To remain competitive, businesses will need to be more data-centric than ever before and now finally make disruptive strategies the chaos and opportunities brought by Big Data.
5. Time waits for no one
I believe time management is likely to be next year’s most important trends, as thinking of how we use time to our best advantage becomes an increasingly fundamental part of everything we do.
Can this device help me lose weight more quickly? Will this automated car get me home faster? Will this software speed up my products’ journey to market?
Our lives, our jobs and the industries in which we work are changing so fast that the future is becoming ever harder to predict. Keeping up to speed by ensuring we optimise our time will be fundamental to everything we do in 2016.
We’ll look to devices, software, and information to keep us up to speed, move past the competition and make more time available for us to spend it as we see fit. And the more we do so, the more products and services will start to become more suited to this way of thinking.
By Erasmus Holm
EMEA marketing director