It’s been a big year for technology in 2015. Google shook up the tech world when it announced plans to restructure, creating a new holding company called Alphabet Inc. The FCC finally handed down a ruling on net neutrality, reclassifying broadband as a regulated public utility. A bit closer to home, Google Fiber made headway on its expansion to several key cities, including Nashville.
It’s been an exciting year within the technology industry, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. Here are some predictions of tech trends that could emerge in 2016:
With more and more DIY devices hitting the market, gone are the days when homeowners must drop thousands of dollars to automate basic household functions. Today, they can automate everything from lighting to temperature control with devices that cost less than $50. Because devices are becoming more affordable, the global DIY home automation industry is forecasted to grow at a remarkable rate in the coming years, hitting $21.3 billion by 2020.
With the much-anticipated virtual reality (VR) headset Oculus Rift slated for consumer release in the first quarter of 2016, and the HTC Vive not far behind, VR is sure to be a hot topic next year. We can expect to see more and more content, including games and movies, available in VR as this technology becomes more widespread.
Many believe VR will revolutionize the way we interact with technology – and they’re right. These headsets provide users with a fully immersive 3D experience, dramatically changing the way we play video games and consume entertainment.
Just as virtual reality is gaining momentum with consumers, so is augmented reality (AR). As opposed to creating a fully immersive new environment like VR, AR supplements the way we view and interact with the world around us. For example, through Home Depot’s Project Color app, consumers have the ability to see how a paint color looks on the walls in their home, taking the guesswork out of selecting paint colors. The app can even adjust to reflect different lighting conditions so consumers can get a better idea of what the finished product may look like. With such a wide array of possibilities, AR is likely to continue making headlines well into 2016.
A string of high-profile cyber attacks (think: the IRS, health insurance giant Anthem and the Office of Personnel Management) has kept cyber security issues top-of-mind throughout 2015. Continuing on into the new year, companies will focus on beefing up their cyber security practices, sparing no expense when it comes to securing their information. And they will be transparent in their efforts to demonstrate to consumers and shareholders how much attention they pay to keeping confidential data secure. As this past year has demonstrated, no organization is safe when it comes to cyber attacks, not even the federal government.
3D printing has seen a dramatic rise in popularity the past few years. With the recent release of affordable models like the Maker Architect 3D Printer, which retails at $299.99, 3D printing is no longer a cost-prohibitive venture. According to IT research firm Gartner, the 3D printer market is poised to grow at a rate of 72.8 percent, and is expected to exceed $14.6 billion by 2019.
We can expect to see exciting advances in existing technologies and the development of new and innovative tech solutions throughout 2016. In a rapidly changing industry, every day brings us closer to reaching new heights through technology.
This post also appeared in The Tennessean, where Concept Technology has a bi-weekly feature in the Business section.