If you thought 2015 was the "age of disruption", you are in for a roller-coaster ride in 2016. With ground-breaking innovations across big data, cloud computing and the Internet-of-things (IoT), get ready to be plunged into an immersive world where everything is connected and a smartphone is your significant other.
1. Rise of the virtual companion
As smartphones become exceedingly ubiquitous across all aspects of our daily life, they are slowly but steadily knowing us better than we know ourselves. Powered with personal information from social media, email, wearable devices, installed mobile apps etc, a smartphone will soon evolve into a virtual 24/7 companion that gives contextual suggestions such as suitable clothing, fastest means of transport, a perfect gift and a reminder to attend your friend's birthday party in the evening.
Powered with personal information from social media, email, wearable devices, installed mobile apps etc, a smartphone will soon evolve into a virtual 24/7 companion...
2. AI and machine learning to deliver increased business value
Advances such as speech-recognition software, industrial automation, driverless cars and more, will drive companies to introduce AI and machine learning technologies in mainstream tasks that are purely information processing. As IoT and big data systems converge, they will create the perfect tool that collects information across disparate sources and simultaneously analyses and learns from it. Initial data analysis will soon be carried out by machines while people will engage only at a higher, more complex and intuitive level.
3. Healthcare goes digital
Widespread adoption of IT will see healthcare systems and providers go "all in" in to ride the wave of digitalisation across products, channels and processes. Considering wearable devices that monitor blood glucose levels and mobile apps that let you instantly share vital stats with a physician, to clinical information systems that capture, store and analyse medical records, digital healthcare is all set to provide patients and caregivers a real-time and holistic view of the patient's health.
4. Introducing Everything-as-a-Service
We are familiar with cloud computing models such as PaaS, SaaS and IaaS. And now we also have AaaS -- Analytics-as-a-Service, which combines on-demand aspects of cloud computing with the democratisation of information enabled by big data analytics. Being cost-effective and easily accessible, this "as-a-Service" trend that provides immense business value will inevitably be applicable to all business models, security, CRM, data management and more.
3D printing technology will slowly but surely extend to automotive and industrial manufacturing equipment, custom toys, jewellery, food, etc.
5. Customer success to become a data job
Now that Big Data is mainstream, companies will look at extracting business value from analysis of massive amounts of structured and unstructured customer-related data from social media, mobile apps, purchase history, etc. Data refinement and predictive analytics to uncover patterns and insights on customer buying behaviour will be increasingly utilised to tailor products and services to meet customer needs and expectations.
6. 3D printing -- from prototyping to finished products
Though not mainstream yet, 3D printing -- with substantial improvements in areas such as throughput, finished product quality and range of materials -- is witnessing usage beyond prototyping. From hip and dental implants, hearing aids to affordable prosthetic limbs, application of 3D printing technology will slowly but surely extend to automotive and industrial manufacturing equipment, custom toys, jewellery, food, etc.
7. Immersive experience for all
The ability to enable customers to see and experience products not physically present by projecting virtual data onto real world environments is an incredible opportunity for retailers (especially e-commerce companies). Also when you have Facebook's Oculus, Google's Cardboard and a multitude of associated apps, virtual reality technology is bound to transform the entertainment industry and make significant inroads into sales, marketing and product development strategies of companies.
8. IT security takes centrestage
Today, companies experience a tidal wave of information from myriad data sources -- social media, sensors, mobile devices, internet transactions, and more. As information sharing becomes the norm, courtesy the proliferation of IoT systems, organisations will stop viewing data security as a cost and look at ways to make it a competitive advantage.
It is but a matter of time before students trade lugging the school bag to a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) flexible and collaborative online learning experience.
9. Mobile-powered education becomes the norm
Mobile devices (laptops, tablets and smartphones) are gradually changing the way educators teach and students process the content and could hence significantly revamp the education system in the coming future. With 80,000+ apps focusing on innovation in the educational space, it is but a matter of time before students trade lugging the school bag to a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) flexible and collaborative online learning experience.
10. IoT and Big Data to provide real-time analytics
With autonomous devices capturing, transmitting and analysing reams of data, 2016 will be all about effectively converting this data into knowledge and actionable insights for businesses, economies and people in general to benefit from. Organizations will see increased adoption of real-time and streaming analytic tools to sieve through waste data and rapidly examine relevant information to provide repeatable patterns and preventive solutions.
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