New year, new tech trends. 2015 saw the new iPhone, the rise of the tablet and the ever-decreasing sales of the home PC. This affected the consumer world, but it also impacted businesses. What does 2016 have in store?
Here’s what to expect from tech this year.
- Virtual reality
Virtual reality is to become a part of the consumer market with the launch of Facebook’s Oculus Rift – a virtual reality headset that doesn’t need a partnered smartphone to work, unlike the models introduced by Samsung and Alphabet last year. Focus will start to shift toward 360-degree gaming and entertainment, making full use of the headsets. GoPro Inc. has already begun work on 360 degree cameras for shooting games. Headset prices will start to fall to fit the average consumer’s budget, and developers are searching for use beyond the gaming world.
Headsets and associated hardware are being released as a part of an augmented reality display. Augmented reality places computer generated images on top of what we normally see, creating a composite image. Real-world applications such as digital images on maps and instructions on objects within their environment are already being explored. What does this mean for you? New tech means new means of marketing, and windows to break through the clutter.
The need for extremely long cables for your device charger is soon to be over. Last year saw wireless charging being introduced on the market, and whilst it is still expensive, prices will inevitably fall. 2016 will see a rise in products designed to charge your device quickly or wirelessly – and some do both. The FurniQi side table by Lonesalesman can charge your phone when it’s placed on it. No unsightly wires, no mess, no fuss.
- Intelligent machines
Intelligent and interactive machines are slowly taking over the workforce in a way that is expected to rise steeply in 2016. The cost of unskilled labor continues to rise. From a corporate point of view, machines are cheaper, last longer and don’t require days off sick. McDonalds has installed interactive order machines in many of their stores: these machines can drive – many cars have automatic parking facilities, as well as the old cruise control – lift machinery, deliver parcels and clean the house. From this growing trend, the best career to go for will be making the machines that replaced your old job….
- Social robots
A different form of the intelligent machine, social robots will be available for homes this year. Not only do the robots interact with people, they get to know them and even improve behavior; and the best part? They don’t need to be fed, walked or bathed! The Japanese company Softbank released the first generation last year, and all 1,000 sold in less than a minute. More are to be released later this year, at a current price of $1,600 apiece. Blue Frog Robotics, the French competition, is releasing their robot Buddy who can recognize facial expressions and act accordingly. Bicentennial Man is on his way!