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December 31st, 2015

Drones And Robots Will Take Over In 2016—And Other Tech Predictions

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Applause predicts what the innovation economy will do in the new year.

Every year, ARC asks the top level executives, managers and employees of its parent company Applause to predict the year in tech. Being a company that sees almost every aspect of the technology ecosystem through its testing services, Applause team members are uniquely suited to identify the trends that will guide the industry on a yearly basis.

Last year the Applause team had a couple hits and misses. CEO Doron Reuveni said that the world would see an explosion of drones. Doron was not just right, he was so right that the FCC is now mandating that drones are registered with the federal government.

ARC publisher Matt Johnston said that the Apple vs. Google race would extend well past the smartphone, into homes, cars and televisions. Johnston also said that companies that have not seen growth in apps would optimize towards better browser experiences. As we’ve seen, the Web made a big comeback in 2015. Johnston also predicted that another massive exploit would make big headlines … but not effect the adoption of the technology. Well, he was half right: Flash was exposed by the breach of spyware vendor The Hacker Team … and then Flash spent the rest of the year dying a painful death.

Director of Community Matt Solar predicted that we would see an influx of cord cutters … and he was basically right.

What do the smart people at Applause predict for 2016? See their ideas below.

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Applause Predicts The Year In Tech For 2016

Doron Reuveni — Cofounder And CEO

  • Fitness wearable will continue to dominate. We may even see embedded chips in humans.
  • Robotics will continue to expand and further replace human tasks. We already have a robot/truck picking up the trash in Palo Alto—the rise of the machines will continue.
  • Apple will launch a new innovated redesigned iPhone which will be a great hit.
  • Virtual reality will continue to grow in popularity with new gear that will work seamlessly with our mobile devices.

Matt Johnston — Chief Marketing And Strategy Officer

  • In 2016, there will be trends you should buy… and trends you should sell:
  • A decreased emphasis on “apps” or limited concepts like “mobile first” or “wearables” in traditional industries like finance, retail, insurance or communications.
  • An increased emphasis on integrated digital experiences that span across customer touch points, devices & use cases.
  • A decrease in concern about—or credit for—siloed digital experiences (Web vs. mobile vs. wearable etc.).
  • An increase in value of companies that don’t care when/where/how customers want to interact—they just work … flawlessly, reliably, anytime, anywhere.

An integration of the “things” in the Internet of Things. For example, being able to pay with any approved device: your phone, your watch, your car, your refrigerator. Imagine driving through a Carl’s Junior, and your car footing the bill for you… or your fridge ordering (and paying) for your groceries from Whole Foods. Yep, that Jetson’esque future is at our (connected) door step.

This will be the year that “customer experience” and “omnichannel” become reality and not just in retail. In verticals like banking, automotive, hotels & restaurants. Companies that think about users (DAUs, MAUs, user profiles, et al), will get left behind as relics. Conversely, companies that recognize that users=customers, that the customer is the boss, and that to customers, every touch point is part of their personal experience … those are the brands that will win the digital frontier.

This one, I don’t think we’ll see… but we should:

Thom Kenney — Chief Technology Officer

  • The Internet of Things will span a whole new market for the Support of Things. Interconnectivity between devices will require IoT companies to have an SoT plan that encompasses the entire ecosystem.
  • Azure will continue to lose market share to anything but Microsoft specific, corporate IT replacement initiatives. But this will also fuel a further devolution of the single cloud environment. 2016 will see a huge investment in multi-cloud and hybrid environments as trend setting companies realize one size really doesn’t fit all in the cloud.
  • First world governments will continue to invest in technology backdoors as a race accelerates for how quickly new backdoors can be revealed by hackers. Data privacy will continue to take a back seat to national security in the U.S. and the E.U.
  • Google will aggressively attack the home device market seeking to access the data in your home. Acquisitions of bleeding edge companies will help them announce a “Google Home” that can be controlled and managed entirely within a Google ecosystem.

Sanji Alwis — Vice President Of Business Development

  • Large tech companies will continue to more closely resemble very traditional holding companies (General Electric or UTC and some of the big Japanese and Korean conglomerates) or vertically integrated businesses (Exxon, Ford or GM in their early days) as they acquire or invest to get into unrelated or adjacent verticals (media, automotive, delivery, etc) and acquire and invest in downstream parts of their value chain.
  • A couple of new “buzzwords” will start to replace the word digital, which has become a buzzword for every tech marketing sales, media campaign. When GE states that they are going digital, do people understand what that means? I don’t think so, and companies will start to disaggregate this 50K foot term into more meaningful descriptive words and phrases for their respective businesses and verticals.
  • The wearable watch is not dead yet, but it will have almost no impact on revenue or buzz for the big players.

Christina Green — Product Manager – Applause Analytics

  • 3D Touch will be the next big innovation in terms of re-engaging users, same way push notifications were.
  • Customer’s voices will be more than just anecdotal, the data will now allow developers to target specific features and issues.
  • Third party integrations (like Office 365 or Slack) will grow and the most compelling apps will have them.

John Montgomery — Senior Vice President of Global Delivery

  • Geo-location based marketing will finally make some headway in my life through loyalty programs (Philz coffee will lure me in with this on a weekly basis).
  • Tech-enabled personalized education will be discuss in the 2016 presidential debates and will will spawn five “Alt School” like startups.
  • Some cellar dweller American football team will use technology to enable crowdsourced play calling to grow attendance and will dominate their league.
  • A major breakthrough in energy storage will make me want to join the Net-Zero home movement.
  • A Hollywood A-lister will make wearing a Google Glass offspring fashionable and will launch a thousand spin off companies trying to meet Black Friday demands (think Furbies).

Pete Blair — Vice President of Marketing

  • Amazon will make investments and/or acquisitions to radically increase content in support of Amazon Prime streaming to close out 2016 as the No. 1 content streaming service (beating Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, et al.) in all categories that people care about (price, selection, ease of use).
  • At least one state will put a referendum to create or outright enact “a Muslim registration program” legislation similar to sex offender registration legislation on a state ballot in the U.S. that will set off a fire storm of social and political chaos that we’ve not seen since the late 1960s.
  • The online privacy vs. public security debate will be a major media theme throughout 2016.
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Matt Solar — Director of Community

  • Mobile payment testing takes off (won’t gain market traction until 2017).
  • Twitter launches a new platform to address diminishing user engagement.
  • Amazon enters the mobile payments.
  • News/content aggregating platforms struggle while Google Reader comes back (I can wish, right?).
  • The term “app quality” will gain additional traction in the industry and will see serious growth in job titles (e.g. Director of App Quality)– was 15 people end of 2014, 485 people end of 2015 (3,000% growth).

Dave Bolton — ARC Reporter

  • 2016 is the year when developers finally get to unleash their inner lawnmower man. Augmented and virtual reality will be hot topics throughout the year and the Microsoft HoloLens is the one to watch—especially if you are a gamer. But the HoloLens is not alone. The Facebook-owned Oculus Rift is already available for pre-order and is expected to ship in Q1 of 2016. Google Cardboard will be the cheaper option for people who just want to experiment, while anybody who owns or develops for Samsung Gear is already reaping the benefits of VR.
  • Wearables will continue their march to invade the mainstream consumer space and the Apple Watch 2 should be the catalyst for wider adoption. In fact, personal tech will be everywhere you look—and the term wearable might finally be replaced by a word that describes what it does … I quite like either Capable or Suitable.

Drone image: “Gabriel and the drone” by Nicholas Michaud via Flickr, Creative Commons.

  • mimranyameen

    Drone is a killing machine, we dont need it in our lives.