Annual 2016 Predictions

It seems that many of the 2015 headlines continue to gravitate towards security and customer privacy concerns. In fact, the exposure of customer data by MCX has proven to be nearly an insurmountable hurdle for CurrenC which now leaves Apple Pay as the leader in this space.

While the battle over what should be on your wrist continues to evolve, the market leaders emerged as Fitbit, Apple Watch and Xiaomi. Fitbit continues to lose market share to Apple Watch and Xiaomi, which given the current trend will continue to take buyers who want a premium device on their wrist. Both Apple and Xiaomi stand to get another 10% market share at which point things will likely stabilize, which is most likely within the next year.

Adoption for IPv6 has gone up sharply in 2015; estimates at the start of the year were <5% worldwide and now we are pushing 10% with critical areas like the United States above 20% adoption. While this prediction may have been a few years early, I suspect by 2018 the majority of users will be on IPv6 or have access to route traffic on this class of network.

For the next year, the main trends are likely to be outside of technological advancements are more focused on digital trust and regulatory concerns:

1. Digital Trust. This is going to emerge as a critical challenge to the ubiquity of digital technology. If companies continue to lose trust in their hi-tech solutions, consumers will seek refuge in systems that are free from digital peril. Examples of this would include the VW emissions scandal, Chrysler car hacking, Anthem health-care, Primera Blue Cross, Ashley Madison database exposure, and the catastrophic breach of OPM national security records.

2. Cable Internet Regulation. Data caps are already enforced on cellular data plans, but going forward wired providers like Comcast are planning to enforce this for home users. Customers will likely cancel cable TV service to continue to afford digital cable; but eventually all good things must come to an end and as the cable empire starts to crumble the U.S. government will get involved to regulate home Internet service under FCC Title II (Common Carrier).

3. Virtual Reality Reality. The arrival of the Oculus Rift will signify the next wave of VR headsets are upon us. There will be some competition from Microsoft with the HoloLens as well as the hyped Magic Leap, both of which appear to fall into the augmented VR class of devices. If there is going to be a market for VR, this next year will be the defining moment.

4. Voice Navigation. When the Amazon Echo arrived, it was a bit unexpected. Using voice to navigate your devices was already prevalent on iOS (Siri) and Microsoft systems (Cortana). It appears that consumers may be willing to adopt a device like the Echo where there is no visual interface, which could pave the way to a number of unique voice powered device offerings.

5. Tech Growth Interlude. The Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates again in the new year. As a consequence, it can be more advantageous to save money than to speculate, and of course many market investors will want to watch the outcome to government borrowing before putting money into riskier market investments. While current investment activities will likely continue to get funding, it will be more difficult for new ventures to enter the tech market.

The hiatus in the venture capital community is evidenced by companies that are crowd sourcing as well as the advent of mini-IPO’s (FTC Regulation A+). These financial instruments will help float investment during a period where traditional venture capital may be less inclined to spend money.

Likely the biggest potential for transforming technology in 2016 is the issue of digital trust. If consumers find they are unable to rely on technology, they will start to seek alternatives that do not involve digital storage or transmission. While this is increasingly difficult to do, there are some large purchase opportunities (for example; an automobile) that could lay a foundation for luddism and may impact technological advancement in the years to follow.