We are living in a period of rapid technological change, and it’s not going to slow in 2016. We’re expecting an exciting year.  Here are some of the more interesting trends coming up:

1. Mobile video use will continue to rise

New device activations over Christmas show a big rise in the purchase of phablets (smartphone/tablet combinations) compared to smartphones and tablets.

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There are reasons other than TV  (most notably use of games apps and the desire to have everything in one place) but this is one of the big drivers. Users are expected to increase the average time they spend watching video online by almost 20% in 2016 alone.

This isn’t surprising. Online viewing is convenient. Viewers watch what they want, when they want, with fewer commercial breaks. Traditional paid-for subscription TV services are more expensive than a few catch-up apps and an online subscription from Amazon Prime or Netflix.

This is a trend showing no signs of slowing down.

2. ‘A watershed year for VR’

Investment in VR has been steadily growing over the last few years, and 2016 is going to be the year it begins to pay off.

200,000 VR units shipped in 2015 in the US, and that’s expected to increase by over 500% in 2016, as companies rush to be the leading market player with more impressive units.

Juniper Research has described 2016 as a ‘watershed year for VR’, and we agree completely.

3. Internet of Things adoption.

statistic_id485203_installed-units-base-internet-of-things-worldwide-2014-2016-and-2020-by-category

Those of us in the tech industry have been talking about the Internet of Things for some time, yet up to 87% of consumers have either never heard of the term or are not sure what it is. Even so, 51% of smartphone devices have already interacted with home IoT devices.

Awareness and adoption will continue to grow exponentially this year. Smaller items such as smart thermostats are expected to lead the way, with bigger household items not far behind. Manufacturers are increasingly including connectivity as standard, and Samsung has stated that all their products will be connected by 2020.

Increasingly, consumers will adopt IoT devices simply because that’s what’s available when they buy. This will present huge challenges for support, but businesses can easily weather the bumps as long as they are prepared.

4. Drones

Drones won’t hit mainstream use in 2016, but awareness of them will.

Amazon is currently testing its thirty-minute drone delivery service in Canada. They’re keeping the results quiet so we don’t know how long until Amazon Prime Air will be widely available, but it’s only a matter of time. The logistics of it, along with current regulations, and safety and security issues, means it’s unlikely to be in 2016, but consumers are going to be talking about it.

Drones are attracting increasing media attention, and drone racing in particular is taking off. The sport is still in its infancy with the Drone Racing League less than a year old, but it’s going to get much bigger. Drones with 360 degree cameras are expected to become commonplace, leading to the combination of the increasing use of drones with one of 2016’s other big trends: VR.

It usually takes a few years between the use of a new tech by enthusiasts before it hits mainstream attention, and we predict that this will be that year.

5. In-app messaging

Users are increasingly using in-app messages in preference to text messages via their mobile providers. In-app messages are expected to increase from 31 trillion in 2014 to over 100 trillion by 2019.

Whatsapp  and Facebook Messenger are the biggest players, but users appear to be happy flitting between multiple platforms. Most social media platforms have either removed barriers to direct messaging (Twitter removed its character limit for direct messaging last year) or have plans to do so.

However, much of the popularity can be attributed to the fact that most services are free, and while use of the in-app messages is sky-rocketing, associated revenue is decreasing.

Service providers are going to have to be increasingly innovative to make money. It’ll be interesting to find out what they come up with.

6. Mobile payments

Consumers have been slow to adopt mobile payments, largely due to security concerns and a lack of awareness, but 2016 will be the year to change that.

The trend towards mobile payments is neatly indicated in this graph from eMarketer. Transactional value is expected to triple in 2016, and will continue to grow fast. However, the rate of change (red line) indicates that 2016 is when mobile payments really take off.

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2016 will also see an increase in wearables, increasing concern around cybersecurity, driverless cars, and robotics, amongst other exciting developments.

The pace of technological change can be worrying for businesses, and change can be costly, but only if you’re not prepared for it.

At LucidCX, we love looking into the future, seeing the incredible things that are coming, and then finding ways to make it even better.

If you’d like to find out about how we can help you support your customers and reduce your costs, drop us a line or get in touch via Twitter or LinkedIn.