The future of disruptive technologies is bright. From augmented and virtual reality (VR) and wearables to the Internet of Things and Big Data, consumers and the enterprise are expected to be affected in ways yet to be imagined. Below is a roundup of expert predictions on what we can expect in 2016 and beyond.
Augmented and Virtual Reality Will Become Mainstream with Gaming
Analyst firm CCS Insight forecasts that augmented and virtual reality technology will be a $4 billion-plus business by 2018. A recent report outlines how virtual reality is positioned to be one of the most disruptive technologies for the next decade, with the potential to deliver transformative experiences in both the consumer and enterprise setting. Facebook, Google, Sony and Samsung are investing big-dollar amounts in the acquisition and development of VR technology.
CCS Insight analysts also envision that consumers will adopt VR technology first through exposure to virtual gaming and video, with augmented reality wearables following suit in the enterprise as a way to cut costs and increase employee productivity.
3-D Printing Will Become Highly Prized Intellectual Property
In the Inc. article, “6 Predictions for the Most Disruptive Tech Trends,” Ilan Mochari forecasts that 3-D printing of vital organs will be another game changer in 2016. “Plans for all manner of products, parts and supplies will become available for download, similar to music files (even suits based on 3-D body scans),” Mochari says.
“The real opportunity with 3-D printing isn’t the widget itself,” says Mike Walker, an analyst at Gartner, a market research firm. “It’s the intellectual property of the device.”
Virtual Reality and Wearables Will Intersect in Advertising
Wearables will be another avenue for disruptive tech in 2016, reports Mochari. In fact, Microsoft spent a large sum of money to purchase the maker of the video game Minecraft.
This might seem like an arbitrary pairing, but Forrester Research’s James McQuivey, who tracks the digital disruption of traditional businesses, speculates the companies may be envisioning an entirely new and highly effective advertising opportunity.
”An advertiser’s audiences will no longer be a passive spectator to an advertisement, but an active participant in it,” Mochari says. He predicts that advertisers will utilize wearable gaming devices, such as headphones, to orchestrate an experience in which targeted players interact with a brand in the virtual sense, adding another level of meaning to the term “captive audience.”
IoT and Big Data Will Work Together in Big Ways
The Internet of Things (IoT) will set the stage for major developments in areas like Big Data, Andres Cardenal writes in Motley Fool’s “5 Disruptive Tech Trends that Could Dominate in 2016”. “IBM is leveraging its technologies and massive amounts of data in different areas such as environment, weather and maps to help planes fly smoother, saving fuel and reducing operational risks,” Cardenal says. “Engines powered by IoT technologies can predict when maintenance is required before anything goes wrong, and they're also optimized for more efficient running.”
Motley Fool contributor Tim Bruggar says the increasing fusion of IoT and Big Data will open the door to opportunities we have yet to realize.
“The world around us is becoming ‘connected’ through a growing number of IoT sensors, mobile devices and the world's affinity for the Internet,” Bruggar says. “The sheer volume of information available is already staggering. And by most accounts, we're just skimming the surface. All that data offers a world of opportunities for businesses to better market to prospective customers, develop in-depth user profiles, and enhance our daily lives, among other possibilities.”
Businesses are still figuring out what to do with all of this data, Bruggar reports. According to a recent study, however, Big Data will become a $33 billion industry in 2016, and an overwhelming majority of business execs believe that Big Data will change business in the same way the Internet did.
Which disruptive technologies will have the most impact on your business in 2016?