Last year, we set out the top six trends we expected to see in 2016, from an increase in mobile payments to a watershed year for VR.

Would it be blowing our own horn to say we got it right? Probably. We did though.

So what do we expect to see in 2017?

We’re going to spend more time in virtual worlds

This was also one of our 2016 predictions and we were particularly pleased to see it happen. 2016 was a dream year for VR fans! A lot of great products launched, from the HTC Vive to the Samsung Gear VR.

Whether you’ve tried it or not, VR is simply an incredible amount of fun, and with VR providers scrambling to become the household name, this is a trend that is going to shoot straight from 2016 into 2017, and beyond.

VR has some handy real-world applications like remote meetings, but let’s be honest. Most of us are going to use it for gaming and the incredibly immersive feeling of getting to explore the bottom of the sea or visit unfamiliar cities via Google Earth or well…everything.

As a result of VR, the human race is going to get used to the idea of being in two places at the same time. We really like that idea.

That’s just the VR.  Another trend showing no signs of slowing down is AR, which some predict may overtake VR in popularity. Augmented reality hit the headlines this year with the phenomenally successful Pokemon Go, which was Google’s most searched for term worldwide for 2016. At one time, it even overtook Facebook for average time spent daily. There is little doubt we are going to be flooded with AR apps in 2017. Will any of them meet Pokemon Go’s success? That remains to be seen.

 

We’re going to use technology to get fitter and healthier

Using technology and games to get fitter isn’t new.  Fitness apps have been around for a while, and the Wii Fit was released all the way back in the mists of 2007.  We’re not expecting to see an explosion of fitness-based tech in 2017, but it’s something that is steadily gaining ground.

Fitness-based wearables like Fitbits are still selling well, and are likely to continue to do so. However, the place to watch is going to be apps and games.

This year, Pokemon Go players walked billions of miles collectively catching and hatching their Pokemon — enough to walk from Neptune to the Sun. None of the players set out to walk for miles at a time. It was incidental to the game, same as other location based apps like Geocaching. Fitness isn’t the prime target, but it’s a helpful byproduct.

The expected increase in augmented reality games and apps are likely to include bonuses for walking or cycling distances, and fitness apps like Samsung’s S Health also record steps automatically. There’s no need to remember to switch it on or off.

We don’t expect to see an enormous rise in tech-based exercise in 2017, but there is an ever-increasing move towards it as apps make it easier and more fun to get moving.

Mobile Payments usage will continue to rise

We predicted mobile payments would rise in 2016 and they did.  According to a 2016 study by Visa, 38% of European consumers last year said they had never used a mobile device to make payments.

This year? It’s only 12%.

Android Pay launched in the UK this year, Apple last year, and Samsung Pay is expected in 2017.  More and more banks are signing up and the sheer convenience means that more and more customers are going to use it.

Google is currently trialing a mobile app called Hands Free where users don’t have to present card or phone, and we’re interested to see their results.

But it won’t just be NFC-based mobile payment apps. More and more people are banking via their mobile devices or shopping via Amazon or eBay apps, or paying everyday bills.

As mobile payments become more and more commonplace, we expect to see an increase in customers needing support in getting set up and using the apps.

Smart devices will continue to get smarter

Smartphone users are already beginning to embrace personal assistants on their phones like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and OK Google. We can expect personal assistant automated features to become more predictive and proactive, and as they get more and more user-friendly, more consumers will begin to use them.

The Amazon Echo was released in the US in 2015, and in the UK in 2016 and has been a huge hit with millions of units sold. The increasing use of IoT devices shows no signs of slowing down. We’re still in the early adopter stage for many devices, but it’s not going to be long before IoT connections for ordinary household items are the norm.

Smart home heating, lighting, security and air conditioning will become better at adapting to how we want them to behave. Home owners are particularly attracted to connected thermostats as the benefits are clear, reduced energy consumption and increased comfort.

Drones…again. And robots. The future is here.

Okay, we admit it. You’re not going to get regular drone deliveries in 2017, but we like drones, and they are going to become a familiar sight in our skies sooner rather than later. There are still a lot of technical and safety hurdles to overcome, but once they do, drone usage is going have a big impact.  It will feel sudden, but it’s been a long time coming.

Trials have been going on the U.S. for months and Amazon Prime Air successfully delivered a parcel to a customer in Cambridge by drone in December 2016. These successes indicate that Amazon intends on hitting their 2018 target for launching more regular deliveries.

Too impatient to wait for drones? Look down.

Self-driving delivery robots are already on the streets. Unfortunately, these little guys are only in a few cities so far and we’re out in the countryside, so we at LucidCX won’t be seeing them just yet, but that’s just a matter of time too.

Data privacy and safety

Security breaches and hacks were a running trend throughout 2016. Take a look at this pretty info-cloud from Information is Beautiful to get a good idea of just how many there were.

Two weeks ago, Yahoo disclosed they’d been subject to a data breach of over a billion accounts (bigger than the 500m accounts hacked in September). This was the biggest data breach so far, but Yahoo certainly wasn’t alone.

In October, one of the biggest cyber-attacks ever brought down sites such as Twitter, Netflix and Paypal by orchestrating DDoS attacks. In an indication of things to come, the attackers overwhelmed the system by taking over thousands of internet-connected devices such as baby monitors, digital recorders and printers.

As attacks and breaches continue to make headline news, (as well as the introduction of the Draft Communications Data Bill, commonly called the The Snoopers’ Charter), we expect to see concern from consumers wanting to know how to protect their data and devices against thieves and hackers, or simply how to keep their browsing private.

What else?

We are lucky enough to be living in an incredibly exciting time technologically. There’s going to be a lot going on. We’ve focused on what we think will be the main trends, but here are just a few of the other things we expect to see:

  • Same as last year, we’re going to see more data usage from video streaming as people watch TV and movies on their phones and tablets instead of their TVs.
  • Consumers will continue to make fewer phone calls. Why call, when you can Whatsapp?
  • More support will be needed around the software, not the hardware. Customers will be seeking help with apps, cloud storage, and streaming

And what about us at LucidCX? 

We’ve always been fascinated by what’s next, and why customers ask the questions they do. It’s why our clients have consistently high customer satisfaction ratings.

Our content is only going to get better.  2016 also brought about the creation of our own dedicated Quality and Insight team who are committed to ensuring LucidCX continues to see what’s coming and meets it headfirst.

We have a reputation for top-quality customer support. If you’d like to find out a little more about what we do, or how we can help you support your customers and reduce your costs, drop us a line or get in touch via Twitter or LinkedIn.