Predicting the top ten technology trends for 2016

Mobile phones and virtual reality equipment are just two things predicted to grow further in popularity this year. Picture: Getty Images
Mobile phones and virtual reality equipment are just two things predicted to grow further in popularity this year. Picture: Getty Images
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DR JAMIE Coleman from CodeBase discusses what he believes will be the major changes in the coming year

1 mobile eats the Internet

The numbers of mobile devices dwarfs the total number of PCs on the planet. Your desktop computer might as well be an old mainframe as tasks which could only be done on a PC can now be performed, often better, on a mobile device. What’s more, these devices “know” more about the world from built in sensors, accelerometers, GPS and more. This means a ­fundamentally ­different interaction with technology.

2. Virtual Reality

After so many years of promise, 2016 is the year when truly immersive virtual reality (VR) will happen. Using products such as Oculus or Google Cardboard is a transformative experience, which will affect so much more than games. Suddenly social presence becomes possible with millions of people being able to meet online in a new way. Amazing Scottish companies such as Speech Graphics are leading the way in thinking about this sort of technology and the opportunity is huge.

3. Healthcare software saves the NHS

We are incredibly lucky to have a healthcare system such as the NHS and we regularly read of the rising costs due to an ageing population and other factors. New software is set to address issues across healthcare from bringing smart data analytics to patient records, new tools for drug discovery and technology to help decision making inside hospitals. Pioneering companies such as RelayMed and EO Surgical are leading the way.

4. Self-driving cars become accepted

Our children will listen in astonishment to our tales of driving our own vehicles. Self-driving cars are real and are set to save lives, lower global ­emissions (think of all that unnecessary braking and accelerating). A car then becomes a commodity. How does retail change when no-one needs to own a car? What will the next status symbol be when no-one cares about the 0-60 speed?

5. Educational software changes learning for good

The traditional education ­system was created to make good factory workers and it simply doesn’t serve our children well in a world where learning facts is pointless and creativity is everything. New educational technology is already beginning to change the way we learn and Scotland is well placed to take advantage of this. Companies such as CogBooks and Administrate are set to explode onto the international stage.

6. Work is better with your own device

There are now so many ­fantastic cheap and even free tools available on mobile that employees are often performing tasks on their own phones because the experience is ­simpler and more ­efficient than the official work tool (think swapping shifts, organising who will do what, etc). Start-ups such as Slack will continue to seize control of this space in 2016.

7. Mobile means personalisation on steroids

In the old days when phoning a landline, you were phoning a physical location and hoping that the person would be there. Today, you phone the person and have no idea where they are. The mobile phone is personal and new technology is allowing a series of increasingly rich and highly personal experiences, linking in with all aspects of our lives.

8. The internet of money

The rise of new technology in finance will bring democracy to banking. This will help cut corruption in the third world and help small businesses to trade with each other.

9. The Internet of Things becomes invisible… and wins

People have discussed the rise of cheap sensors and the “Internet of Things” for some years now. As these sensors appear everywhere and practically every device is connected in some way to the internet, that tech disappears from our sight. And it is that very disappearance which means that the technology is ubiquitous.

10. The way we build tech startups becomes the way all businesses are built

The way that technology startup companies begin is very ­different to the traditional factory model of company creation. Building rapidly and finding Product Market Fit, using lean processes to rapidly learn if we are building the right thing. These ideas and more will move out from the tech world an in to normal business creation.