Reflecting on this year begs the question: What are the technology trends going to be in 2016? I sat down with 3 leading innovators, VCs and industry leaders to hear their predictions for the upcoming year.
Ran Poliakine - Founder, Powermat
"I have seen many 'trends' come and go over the last decade but have always said that the trends that will stick are the ones that make life easier for the consumers. Technology for its own sake is pointless - its value lies in what it offers us, in terms of: time savings, effort savings and cost savings.
It's a very 'what's in it for me?' proposition. That being said, I'm happy to weigh in on my tech predictions for 2016:
Continued widespread automation
When Amazon first debuted its business model (an entirely online book shopping experience without brick and mortar stores) it was met with skepticism. Now, Amazon is the leading e-retailer in the United States with more than 88.99 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 net sales; selling everything from retail to consumer electronics, digital content, local services and even groceries!
In 2016, the consumer love affair with online shopping will continue in full force with more players, and more services available with just a click of your mouse.
Better Cyber Security
Unfortunately, the need for better cyber security is just a sign of the times. This trend actualized back in November of 2014 when SONY Pictures experienced a huge attack that essentially wiped clean several internal data centers and led to the cancellation of the release of 'The Interview.'
It was front page news for weeks because of the subsequent leaking of emails written by SONY executives disparaging top Hollywood talent. Since then, cyber attacks have become almost commonplace with industry giants such as Blue Cross, Staples, JP Morgan Chase and Target each falling prey to systematic hacking.
The trend toward better and more efficient digital health tools is particularly close to my heart, as several of my new endeavors fall under this umbrella. 2016 will be the year that we see more technologies that improve patient diagnosis and treatment, increasing quality and length of life, and intervention.
Everything from the first upgrade to the modern X-Ray in over 100 years to the complete elimination of bedsores through the use of "smart" fabrics and surfaces, to better, faster and safer non-invasive alternatives to surgery.
Telemedicine, wearables, consolidating medical records in one cloud based location and more apps designed to address specific patient needs all feature prominently in the year ahead."
Gabriel Katri - Real Estate Entrepreneur, High-Tech Investor
"I'm older than most High Tech Angels out there and it's interesting because if you would have asked me fifty years ago 'Gabriel Katri, what would you invest in 50 years' I would have never given any names I have in my current portfolio.
Every day, new technologies and revolutionary ideas are born, most of which are beyond me, but nevertheless fascinate me. It is inspiring to see newer, simpler, cleaner ways to help people in their daily lives.
Take, for example, the change that Uber has had on Paris. Paris used to be an awful place to be a tourist; taxis were dirty, smelly and the drivers were known to be obnoxious. Uber changed that, and they did it systematically and effectively.
By no longer forcing tourists and locals to use only taxis, consumers got to experience the luxury of private cars for a fraction of the price of a cab.
A shift in focus on distributors
For the past few years, I have been following a company called Pepperi that deals with streamlining the operations and sales processes of the typical distributor for any industry. Distributors are largely an open market for high tech, as they have yet to be targeted by tech companies.
A lot of focus is placed on apps for consumers and manufacturers, yet distributors haven't gotten the same amount of love. This is a shame, as distribution is a necessary field that stands to benefit greatly from technology.
After all, distribution is all about efficiency. Considering the fact that the distribution stage is vital to final products reaching the consumer, the process stands to improve greatly."
Rafi Musher - Founder, Stax
"In 2015's major tech mergers and acquisitions, we saw different private equity firms investing in mid-sized deals. Surprisingly enough, even large firms were partaking in these lower range deals. In fact, I would be willing to bet that the current market shake-up will do even more to change the investment landscape as we know it.
Focus on analytics software
Last year proved an interesting change in the usage of enterprise software: Where it used to focus solely on productivity (both personal and corporate), we now see more enterprise software whose usage is based on analytics. This allows you to track the function(s) for which your platform is most widely being used, as well as lets you know where you can improve in terms of usage.
Let's look at Mailchimp for a great example of using analytics for your platform: It allows you to try different headlines to see what links are most clickable. Not only is this great in terms of SEO, but it also gives you feedback in advance. MailChimp isn't alone in this trend. Jazz boasts HR software that displays the optimal way to write job postings based on analytics of the job.
Advancements in industrial tech
Industrial tech is everywhere, from our mobile phones to our vehicles, and I believe it is something to look out for in 2016. There has been a growth of cooperation between systems in industrial tech, benefitting both individual workers and those who manage the equipment these workers use."
From the health industry to analytical software to focus shifts, there is a lot to look forward to, based on these predictions. Who knows what this year will actually bring, but it is certain that there will be much innovation and growth in 2016.
Only time will tell how these trends shape up, but one thing is certain: the coming year will be filled with many advancements and lots of progress.