This article highlights the top six 2016 Technology Trends and includes examples for each of them. We also added one catch-all section at the end of the article that includes a few other trends and fun products that we liked.
CES 2016 took place in Las Vegas, January 7-9, 2016. Over 170,000 people attended the event, making it one of the world's largest and most "insane" trade shows. We’ve attended CES almost every year for over the last 20 years. We typically research tech trends that will help our clients and business readers be more successful and find leading tech products for their businesses, homes or for fun personal use.
Digital Transformation Megatrend
This year is different than previous years. Whether you know this or not, we are all experiencing a significant megatrend called Digital Transformation that is changing our business and personal life in 2016... and the changes will dramatically speed up over the next three to ten years. To read more about Digital Transformation Click Here
One of the key ingredients of successfully digitally transforming your business is to understand the technology trends that could affect your business and industry. Going forward, all the latest and emerging technology trends that you read about below should help you with evaluating your business and the organization's digital transformation planning.
1st Trend - Automobiles: Smartphones, Electric and Self-Driving
- Smartphone Application Integration - Chevy, VW and Cadillac will have most of their 2016 car lineups fully integrated with both CarPlay (Apple) and AndroidAuto (Google) Smartphones. Other car manufacturers only have one or two 2016 car models with this integration. In 2016, you can choose from over 100 car models.
- Electric Cars - The new Chevy Bolt all-electric car has the potential to be an industry game-changer. It will be out in the fourth quarter and it's getting rave reviews. It's all electric and has a 200-mile capacity per charge. The target price is $30,000 (after USA federal rebates). Note: Tesla does not attend CES. The future Tesla 3 will also travel 200+ miles per charge and is scheduled to be available for the masses in late 2017 and 2018. The car has a price target of $35,000 (after USA federal rebates).
- Self-driving cars - More self-driving features are being built into the 2016/2017 cars. Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla) estimates fully self-driving (driverless) cars will be available in 2 years (2018) and the CEO of GM estimates it will be in 4 years (2020).
2nd Trend - Wearables: Chips in Clothing and Watches/Bands for Healthcare
- Millions of health bands and smartwatches (that wirelessly sync to smartphones and the cloud) will be sold this year. Mobile workers will see more and more useful business applications available for smartwatches in 2016. Note: As of last year, most people seem to stop using them within 6 to 9 months ...and then they just sit in a drawer.
- We're starting to see clothing embedded with computer chips (that talk to the internet, smartphones and other products). The primary use of the products are for health, sports feedback and tracking. Many of the clothes are also washable. This is just the beginning of this trend. Look for business uniforms with chips that communicate with their company stores and vehicles as they work during the day.
3rd Trend - Internet of Things (IoT): Automate the Office and Home
- Most people get a big ROI by replacing their old thermostats with new IoT smart thermostats (like Google Nest).
- Wireless security video and recordings are now sent to the cloud and smartphones.
- One of my favorite new CES products is from Marathon Laundry. They produced a single unit combination smart washer and dryer. It saves you money and space in your home, office or a multi-unit building. It'll be available in the second half of 2016 at $1,200. Click Here
- New products that integrate with the Apple Homekit platform were announced and demonstrated, including: lights, switches, ceiling fans, door locks, window blinds and thermostats. Security is one of the biggest benefits of buying a product approved for Apple Homekit. Honeywell, Lutron, Kwikset and iHome are just some of the leading product vendors in the home and office automation industry.
- Look for more sports products with embedded wireless chips. Wilson Sports now has a basketball and football with chips that record performance data on your smartphone. Very cool. Click for more info
4th Trend - Virtual Reality (VR) Hype
- The biggest short-term use of VR is for Gamers with lots of extra money to waste. You need to spend $500+ for headsets and $2,000 for good PCs that are powerful enough to work with the technology.
- Theme Parks - Look for rollercoasters in Virtual Reality. The UK Alton Towers theme park has a virtual reality space rollercoaster ride called Galactica that opens late Spring 2016. Click Here
- The Adult industry always leads in implementing new technology (it's just that no one talks or writes about it in the national press). Look for amazing "personal" videos in 2017. Most people don’t know that the Adult Industry had a gigantic presence at CES for 30 years. In 2012, they left CES and established AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, their own giant trade show that is scheduled each year around the same time as CES in Las Vegas.
- In the future, VR will become a very important tool for key business areas, including: surgeries, training and equipment repair or maintenance.
5th Trend - Robot Tools, Drones and Personal Robots
- Robot Tools - They make you more productive and save time and money. Some example products include: lawnmowers, gutter cleaners, vacuums, floor washing and window washing. One of my favorite robots is the Somabar Robotic Bartender for the office or your home. Click here
- Drones - Drones are just flying robots. Look for hundreds of thousands of them to be sold in 2016 - most for fun, including sports videos. However, look for business uses including: professional photography, insurance, security, delivery services and real estate. Note: Ehang, a Chinese company showed an exciting video of a "human carrying" drone. Unfortunately, it was a concept video (or faked) for CES.
- Personal Robots - New personal robots are designed with better, more friendly user interfaces. They are targeted at children and seniors that need help with the internet and companionship. "Pepper" is a hot new personal robot that was available in 2015 for the Japan marketplace. It sold out in less than 60 seconds and sells for under $1,600. Click here Note: The IBM Watson Supercomputer has already been connected to Pepper to test increasing the potential of a personal robot.
6th Trend - HDTVs: Quality gets better and Delay 4k HDTVs Purchases to 2017
- The standard HDTVs are getting bigger screens, are thinner and lighter, and will continue to drop in price during 2016.
- The 4k TVs (4 times more pixels than normal 1080 HDTVs) were hyped by the industry this year as the "must have" products. However, 4k TV technology is still new and there's very limited TV programming available. The Christmas 2016 models have much better technology than the 2015 sets. However, I will personally wait until 2017 before I buy a 4K TV.
- Many new smartphones now shoot in 4K video - All The new Apple iPhone 6S / 6S Plus smartphones and many of the high-end Android smartphones shoot in 4k video that you can watch on the 4k TVs.
Other Interesting Trends and Products
- Basic Augmented Reality (AR) will be added to products in 2016. Look for AR to be much improved in 2017.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) is slowly evolving and being integrated with many of the voice platforms like: Apple Siri, Google Voice, Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa (in the Echo). Dramatic improvement will still take time.
- GoPro Video Camera clones are everywhere - Look for lower prices in 2016 for the high quality video cameras.
- 360-degree cameras were new and hot at CES. However, the software will have to catch up for the consumer before you want them.
- Hoverboard clones were everywhere - Unfortunately, there are many poor quality clone products that have caught fire and are so dangerous that they are not being sold by Amazon anymore.
- New Cable / Satellite DVRs from Tivo Bolt and Dish Network Hopper 3 are much improved for 2016.
- Cord-Cutters are finally starting to see DVR products announced: One of the Over-the-Air (OTA) broadcast DVRs is the Magnavox DVR.
- Bluesmart showed off High-Tech carry-on luggage that will charge your mobile devices, track its own location using Bluetooth, digitally lock/unlock and use its built-in scale. I want it for travel.
What You Should Do Next
- Sign up to receive our monthly Digital Transformation eNewsletter to keep you up-to-date on new trends and technologies.
- Contact us if you have any questions about the 2016 Technology Trends and Products. Click Here
Photo Credit: BRoss @ rossross.com