5 Key Trends for 2016

  1. Virtual Reality

    The world’s largest social network, Facebook has made the purchase of Virtual Reality trailblazer Oculus – showing the high regard with which this technology is now held. The launch of its Xbox compatible headset in Q1 2016 is sure to get gamers’ pulses racing. However as with any new technology the price could prove prohibitive initially. Virtual reality will increasingly have practical applications such as professional training. In the same way that simulators are currently used in some fields to hone skills in a high risk/difficultly replicated scenario VR will provide a more immersive experience. The result would be higher competency skills tested or trained in this environment.
    In the area of sports VR headsets could be used to recreate game/live scenarios for sports people – allowing them to practice decision making. Ulster Rugby, among others has already adopted these training methods with a view to increasing mental workload without a highly physical toll. By extension the visualisation of positive results via a VR headset could be employed as a tool for the law of attraction.The VR possibilities for manufacturing, design, education and many more fields are boundless. It is more a question or when rather than if VR will play a major part in our daily lives. Google 360 provides an interesting viewer-driven experience whereby the user can change their view of the video with a simple rotation of the device they are using. Google 360 View

  2. Noise Avoidance

    We will become savvier with our use of Adblockers and other filters to avoid the noise from companies trying to push their products and focus on the content they wish to view. Film, TV and music streaming have revolutionised the way we consume media and reduced the channels by which advertisements can reach us. Original content, low subscription prices and advertisement aversion has greatly contributed to the rapid rise of Netflix and other streaming services. As a result the proliferation of sponsored content will gain momentum. The benefit of this to consumers as a whole will be that these camouflaged ads will hopefully provide some valuable information we otherwise might not be able to access.

  3. Evolution of Social Media

    There are various different generations currently using social media – however the pattern of use varies greatly with the generation. Although growth has slowed on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter their active user bases continue to grow. It is apparent that people will have a multitude of social media applications that they check regularly. Each application has a slightly different function and as a result may particularly suit a generation. Snapchat’s popularity among Generation Z is due to its personal, instant nature. However this may not suit all generations. According to MRBI in a report published this year 92% of those over 35 do not have a Snapchat account.Coupled with the requirement compatibility with their digital lives there is also an element of preference in using a new application which hasn’t lost its lustre with older generations use of the platform. While the big players with remain relevant further fragmentation of the market will be seen in user’s choice of primary platform. ‘This’, a platform which allows users to post once a day, aspires to produce quality content rather than quantity. ‘This’ was conceived as a response to the ordered mayhem of ads, uninteresting content and spamming present on many Facebook users News Feeds.

  4. Card payments

    (see next entry for more detail) The rise in mobile payments will continue. Black Friday 2015 saw a 70% increase in purchases made by smartphone on Black Friday which now accounts for 22% of total purchases. This is a sizable increase and its continued rise may see the revolutionising of the traditional hysteria-laden Black Friday. Banks will continue to encourage people to move their banking online and as familiarity further grows online payments will rise. In comparison with our European neighbours Ireland still has a heavy reliance on cash but we are gradually migrating towards a plastic-oriented payment world.
    Despite this rise a worrying trend in Irish Business of not capitalising on this spend looks to continue.

  1. Instant Messaging vs Emails
    In my own experience instant messaging platforms such as HipChat improves organisational communication efficiency. Direct messaging and group messaging create a virtual office with a virtual white board allowing for conversations to happen simultaneously and information to be shared more easily. The immediacy, informality and ease of use will reduce the reliance/use of the clunkier and time consuming email.