5 Top Technology Trends for 2016

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We are fortunate to be living in a time of unprecedented technological innovation. Every year we see more new technologies being introduced to the market than before. One moment you’re trying to understand how a tech works, the next thing you know a newer, better, and cheaper tech than what you are using arrives.

Well, tech insiders say 2016 will be no different. Expect to see more disrupting technologies this year that will change how we work, communicate and interact with each other.

Here are the top 5 tech trends to watch: 

  • Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) will become more ubiquitous. We are seeing a bright future for these two technologies. Together, VR and AR are expected to generate billions of dollars in revenue by 2020. The 3 categories of technology that are expected to generate the largest revenues are:

1) interactive content (e.g. gaming, training, movies, healthcare, shopping, etc.)

2) hardware and distribution (headsets, input devices like handheld controllers, graphics cards, video capture technologies, and online marketplaces)

3) software platforms and delivery services (content creation tools, capture, production, and delivery software, video game engines, analytics, file hosting and compression tools, and B2B and enterprise uses).

Last year we were introduced to Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and the newly revamped ViewMaster headsets.

This year Sony (Playstation VR), Microsoft (Hololens), and HTC (Vive) are expected to join the virtual reality bandwagon. And, let’s not forget to mention Facebook’s Oculus Rift which just recently started to accept pre-orders. The Oculus Rift is being promoted as “the first really professional PC-based VR headset”.

Will businesses put VR to use? Experts thinks so. They believe VR will usher in a new generation of business computing. Possible uses include “immersive training for difficult jobs, three dimensional data visualizations, full multimedia product demos, medical rehabilitation, defense and military planning, and virtually limitless possibilities in education.

  • Mobile payments will finally take off. Google is expected to launch Android Pay in Australia this year. This is welcome news given the limited availability of Apple Pay for Australians. Whilst the latter is only available to American Express card holders, Google promises Android Pay will enjoy support from local financial institutions including ANZ, Westpac, Bank of Melbourne, Bank of South Australia, Bendigo Bank, Cuscal, ING Direct, Macquarie Bank, and St. George. Android Pay product management director Pali Bhat also said that they are still working on getting more banks to support Android Pay. Another one in the pipeline is Samsung Pay. Samsung is also expected to launch its competing Pay service this year. The Korean tech giant said it’s “currently working with local financial institutions to customise Samsung Pay”. The success of these three will surely encourage other tech players to develop payment systems that will make us all leave our wallets at home! 
  • IoT devices and solutions for smarter homes will become a reality. Samsung has announced its plan to launch an “entire portfolio” of SmartThings products in Australia including smart locks for doors and windows, web-connected cameras, and moisture sensors. They also plan to introduce their SleepSense device that not only tracks sleeping patterns but also communicates wirelessly with TVs and air conditioners to create better sleeping conditions. All these are expected to be available this year. Meanwhile, Philips also plans to launch their Siri-enabled colour-changing Hue connected LEDs this year. Their smart lighting, which is part of Hue Bridge 2.0, integrates with Siri via Apple’s iOS-based smart home platform Apple HomeKit. This allows users to turn the lights on or set the lights to certain percent, by talking into their iPhones. 
  • Best new smartphones will arrive. All eyes are on iPhone 7. What we’re hearing so far is that Apple’s next iPhone will exclude a Home button to give way to a touchscreen that reads fingerprints. It’s going to be waterproof, and instead of a headphone jack, we’ll see a Lightning port instead. Those who prefer a smaller screen might also see one from Apple. There’s talk that Apple will release a 4-inch screen iPhone within the year. Prepare to get your hands on the Samsung Galaxy S7 which is said to be available in a 5.2 inch model as well as a slightly larger 5.5 inch model, with the latter being the edge variant with dual sided curves, similar to the edge flagships that have released last year. Other predicted features include a MicroSD card slot, a powerful 2.2GHz Snapdragon chip, a larger battery capacity, water resistance, and more! On the other hand, LG might also release its G5 smartphone with an iris scanner, whilst Sony might introduce 5 phones of different sizes.
  • More 4K to watch than last year. Finally you might be able to find use for your 4k TV at home as 4k content and Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs and players arrive this year. The Blu-ray Disc Association licensed the format in August last year, paving the way for discs holding up to 100GB of data with 4 times the resolution of full-HD films, with high-dynamic range exposure, greater colour gamut, and up to 60 frames per second. Although 4k content has been available to consumers via Netflix, industry players like Samsung believe physical disc could change the game and raise demand for 4k content. Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players are also expected to come from Sony and Panasonic.

These are just 5 of the many new technology trends that we believe will grow and flourish in 2016. Some may not push through but we are optimistic we can all look forward to a year full of surprises from the technology industry.

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