Every year brings a host of new technology trends and innovations. What will be the key tech developments of 2016? The BBC requested predictions from well-informed sources: lawyers, accountants, digital agencies, research analysts, telecoms companies and tech firms.
Let’s look at some of the most common predictions.
This is not a new threat, but the risks increase and evolve by the day, particularly in relation to ransomware. High-profile hacking cases in 2015, such as Ashley Madison and TalkTalk, have boosted awareness of the financial and reputational damage cyberattacks can bring. As more data is collected and stored, attacks are becoming more numerous and sophisticated – no company is 100% secure.
2. Internet of Things
Michele Franci, chief technology officer at Inmarsat, claims 2016 will be the year when “machine-to-machine” tech moves beyond industrial applications such as utility infrastructure monitoring, finding new applications in agriculture, health, smart metering and environmental research.
3. Real-time data analytics
Big data and personalisation will develop further with improved collection and analysis systems. Data fed back from devices such as wearables and car trackers will generate real-time insights for companies, allowing them to move beyond responsiveness to customer needs to actually anticipating changes before they happen.
4. New data protection laws
2015 saw the passing of new EU laws on data protection. These will come into effect in 2018, bringing greater clarity but also heavier penalties. James Mullock of legal firm Bird and Bird advises companies to strengthen compliance procedures in 2016 to prepare.
5. Robots and artificial intelligence
Phil Cox, president of Silicon’s Valley Bank’s UK branch says: “From healthcare to space exploration and self-driving cars, business in 2016 will be powered by robotics.” As robots and AI take on more repetitive tasks, human job roles will also change.
6. Dominance of smartphones
Smartphones are fast becoming the primary way for businesses to interact. This trend is set to continue, with more mobile payments, increased connectivity in developing countries and wider acceptance of the “anywhere, anytime” philosophy.
7. Personalised and location-based marketing
Location-based beacon technology offers brands a way to provide customers with highly targeted ads, even determining content by which part of a store a customer is standing in. These services are set to proliferate.
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