10 Hot Tech Trends to Watch in 2016
10 Hot Tech Trends to Watch in 2016
From virtual reality to the increasing sophistication of aerial drones, 2016 will see continued rapid development of new products and technologies.
Virtual Reality Finally Takes Center Stage
At long last, virtual reality will play a major role in the tech industry in 2016. The technology has been around for decades, but with Facebook's Oculus, along with devices from HTC and countless other companies, 2016 will be the year of virtual reality. Analysts question, however, whether virtual reality will take off or fall flat. A year from now, we'll know the answer.
Augmented Reality Starts to Build Its Presence
Augmented reality is expected to grow its presence in the technology industry in 2016. The industry, which has been in its infancy, will likely start to grow as companies like Microsoft and Sony, among others, invest big money in it. While virtual reality will likely take much of the attention, expect augmented reality to start to step into the spotlight.
Electric Vehicles, Green Power Keep Forging Ahead
Green tech will take a meaningful step forward in 2016. Tesla's Powerwall lithium-ion home power backup product is reportedly sold out through the middle of 2016. Other major tech companies—notably Apple—have pledged to make their products greener while trying to make being green a greater priority in their corporate operations. What's more, batteries will last longer, products will come with more recyclable materials, and the number and continued strong demand for electric vehicles will take a modest bite out of fossil-fueled vehicles. Over all, it'll be a good 2016 for green tech.
More Autonomous Vehicles Will Take the Road
Although autonomous vehicles are likely years away from winning approval from state authorities to take to the highway, they are under development and being tested by tech companies and mainstream automakers. In 2016, expect those carmakers to show off models featuring autonomous driving. Even better, expect to see some self-driving cars out on the roads across California and other states where testing has been approved. Next year will be a big year for autonomous vehicles.
There Will Be Big Changes at Yahoo
Yahoo's board of directors reversed its plan to spin off the company's stake in Chinese Web retailer Alibaba into a separate company. Now it says it will look into selling off other portions of its core Web business. These moves are further evidence of ongoing turmoil at the Web pioneer and they suggest that a big corporate shakeup is coming in 2016, including the departure of CEO Marissa Mayer. In any event, expect big news from Yahoo in 2016.
The Cloud Will Only Continue to Grow
The cloud will only grow in 2016. Every major market researcher, including IDC and Gartner, says that enterprise investment in cloud technology will soar next year. Meanwhile, a wide range of companies—including Dropbox, Box, IBM, Google and others—will all invest heavily there. The cloud is already big, but it'll get bigger in 2016.
Cyber-Attacks Will Continue to Grow in Number, Sophistication
If 2015 is any indication, there are no signs of companies and governments doing a better job of safeguarding their networks. From the White House to Ashley Madison, no company was safe from malicious hackers in 2015. Look for those hackers to ramp up their efforts in 2016 and continue to engage in cyber-battle with anyone and everyone.
More Companies Will Get Involved in Drone Technology
There will be more development work than ever on aerial drones in 2016, even as the Federal Aviation Administration imposes more stringent restrictions on where "unmanned aircraft systems" can operate. GoPro has already said it will introduce its own drone design while both Intel and Qualcomm have developed technologies to make it easier for more companies to get into the market. These household-name companies will help drive mainstream adoption of drone technology.
Windows 10 Heads to the Top
According to several research firms, Windows 10 will come close to rivaling Windows 7 as the world's most popular operating system in 2016. The vast majority of companies around the world will at least start testing Windows 10 next year, with many of them deploying the operating system across their devices. Although PC vendors seem pleased with Windows 10, the new operating system hasn’t helped the industry snap out of the prolonged slump in PC sales yet. There's significant reason to believe 2016 will be the year that makes it abundantly clear Microsoft has delivered a fine platform in Windows 10.
Social Media Takes Center Stage in 2016 Presidential Contest
Social media and politics will be strange bedfellows in 2016. Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are already showing the importance of social media to their campaigns, and as the race intensifies ahead of next year's election, look for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and others to all capitalize on the technology's benefits. It's likely that social media, which has grown in importance in politics in recent years, will truly hit its stride with the 2016 presidential race.