2016 Tech Trends

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Sine Qua Non’s Digital Executive Rob Horne gives his view on the year ahead in technology. Tweet us your opinions @TechandSport on what you’re most excited to see in 2016.

This week’s CES 2016 in Vegas is a global hotspot for the latest tech developments, so I sifted through the drones, wearable tech and baby gizmos to discover what the exhibitors are really pushing this year.

 

Smart Cars
No, I’m not talking about Daimler AG’s cute little box cars, but the revolution of tech-driven cars. Car manufacturers have exhibited at CES since 2007, but this year there seems to be fresh determination in merging automotive with tech.

Smart car growth will continue in the years to come but this year sees significant expansion with top manufacturers such as VW, Ford and Toyota showcasing their developments. The focuses are on driver safety, functionality through gesture and voice control, and the “connected car” autonomous vehicles that can sync with other cars and drivers’ homes and garages in establishing safe and practical smart-driving infrastructures.

I’m impressed just by my Golf’s rear-facing camera, so I can’t wait to see the potential of these developments play out! I don’t think I would be slow to adopt these types of new technology when it does hit markets – I’ve been awaiting Apple’s Car Play since updating to iOS 9 Public Beta!

The Smart Wheel, however, whilst useful tech for learner drivers, is perhaps indicative of the abundance of tech development that will inevitably lead to a host of useless products, and the requirement that consumers grow savvier in identifying winners and losers.

 

 

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Robots
There are already versions of robots that do just about everything, from dancing (pretty useless) and helping to feed the dog (less useless) to teaching social behaviours to children with Autism (very useful). Many of these experimental products are nowhere near ready for reliable consumer use, but merely conceiving a robot’s function seems a good enough reason to build it and showcase the sector’s on-going understanding.

Robots have interested major tech companies for some years but the humanoid robots of our science-fiction dreams are still mostly-novelty products. However, with products such as the Buddy companion bot, perhaps some impressive stuff will come soon.

 

Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) was a tech trend I considered briefly last year, but a consistent building of interest since has led to 2016 seemingly as the verge of VR hitting a mass audience as major players finally announced product pricing.

2015 saw many innovative uses of the new tech with one of our clients, Hyundai, using the concept at multiple events to great success. Furthermore, Chris Ritchie and I experienced some of the technology’s potential and agreed it was a very promising future option for SQN’s clients.

There will likely be huge advances in VR in 2016, with the public release of Microsoft’s (mixed reality) HoloLens and many VR-based racing features in the motorsport world, including Castrol’s Virtual Racers YouTube series. Also the Facebook-owned business Oculus seem to be on track for a VR headset launch in Q1, whilst facing close battle from Sony’s Playstation VR and HTC VIVE.

 

Cyber Security
Not as exciting as self-driving cars or robots that teach but probably just as important, cyber security is a trend in which more of us should involve ourselves. It is increasingly important that we protect ourselves with the increasing amount of connected devices and advances in cyber-crime, so we may be in luck as a training program launched at this years CES could save us all!

CyberVista is a cyber-security company that specialises in educating consumers on deterring online attacks and how to respond if breaches are detected.

 

Smarter Smartphones
The world of the mobile era has continued to progress for decades now, and developments into 2016 seem to see the smartphone becoming the primary tool of interaction with businesses and each other, to be connected to more and more devices like watches, homes and cars. These concepts are already evident but as more and more devices get connect to the network, it will be interesting to see the role that the smartphone plays in the wider Internet of Things, as opposed to acting as a hub for wearables.
Location-based services will enable safe family monitoring and real-time adverts, offers and information based on where someone is in a store or where they might be headed next, guided politely by money-off vouchers. Once they have received the voucher, they can use their by-then ancient Apple Pay to complete the transaction. Mobile payment will soon be everywhere – I have been using Apple’s system from day one and now Samsung Galaxy S6 users can use Samsung’s pay system.

2016 will allow us to get our hands on technologies that have been teased in past years and to glimpse many others as we peek into a future that will be defined by technology.