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Tech lookout for 2016

Cyberview Tech Lookout

Published: Monday December 28, 2015
By: Faris Yahaya

Technological changes will continue to disrupt the old way of doing things and change the business landscape in 2016. Here are 10 things to look out for in the new year.

IT’S the end of the year again, and around this time, it’s only apt that those of us who work in the tech sector gaze into our crystal balls and make some forecasts or predictions for the year ahead.

Technology, as you know, moves at Internet speed, and we can be sure that there will be many new innovations and improvements to existing technologies next year.

Below are 10 predictions on developments that will have a major impact on the technology landscape in 2016.

Development of smart car

It was first reported in September this year that Apple, the company synonymous with the iMac, iPad, iPhone and, most recently, the Apple Watch, is working on an electric car, codenamed Project Titan, which is expected to debut in 2019.

Meanwhile, Google has also hired a top car figure, John Krafcik — who has extensive industry experience, having worked for Toyota, GM, Ford and Hyundai — to bolster its self-driving car programme. And, of course, there is Tesla, which already has electric cars in production which you can be sure will be introducing further innovations to its cars as well as its business model.

It will be a few years before the Smart Car race goes into full gear, but 2016 should see the beginning of that race.

Smart homes become more common

With smart machines and the Internet of Things being the hot industry buzzwords, you can expect more home automation gadgets and devices coming into the market to help you turn your home into an ecologically-friendly smart home.

With many companies churning out smart-home equipment, economies of scale means that it will no longer cost an arm and a leg to upgrade your home into a smart home. Many of these devices can already be found in modern hardware stores across Malaysia. The smart home soon won’t be a novelty but something that is not that unusual.

Windows 10 dominates

To get Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to their brand new Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft did something unprecedented and made the upgrade download absolutely free for all Windows computer owners whose machines are compatible.

This unusual marketing approach will ensure that adoption will be rapid. A month after it was launched, Windows had been downloaded and installed on 75 million computers. Next year, that figure will be much, much higher, and this will go on until Windows 10 becomes the most common operating system in the world.

Cybersecurity is beefed up

This year saw a lot of major hacking cases that served as a wake-up call to major corporations that they need to beef up their online security. And you can be sure the big corporations will take security seriously and spare no expense to make sure they don’t suffer the fate of companies like Sony, who got famously hacked this year.

New types of security measures such as “chip to cloud” strategies would also start to be employed. In this approach to security, all objects with online capabilities are secured once they come online, with immediate identity authentication. This eliminates any window for hackers to hijack the identity of unsecured objects.

3D printing comes of age

3D printing is certainly not something new. It’s been around for a few years now, and people are aware of it but it’s not mainstream yet. Its popularity could surge next year as prices continue to drop, making 3D printing a common and affordable proposition as opposed to being something niche and cost-prohibitive.

Online video overtakes TV

This has been on the cards for some time now. Music has long gone digital and is downloaded and streamed online. Online video has gained massive popularity in recent years but it has yet to take over TV.

That may change next year.

Hsiao-Wuen Hon, the corporate vice president for Microsoft Research Asia, expects online video distribution to overtake TV broadcast in 2016.

He expects more people in China to watch the upcoming Olympics through the web than through TV. This could be true in Malaysia too as streamed content can be viewed at one’s convenience and would therefore be preferable for many people.

IoT gains momentum

We’ve heard tons about the Internet of Things and its potential as well as inevitability. Currently, it’s little more than a concept. There are examples of it in the market already but it’s hardly reached a tipping point.

Next year we could start to see different entities embracing it for things like medical devices, kitchen equipment and cars, which would be able to receive a constant stream of personalised information.

Virtual reality becomes real

Tech research house Juniper has identified 2016 as the breakout year for virtual reality headsets.

Oculus, Sony, and HTC are all expected to launch virtual reality products next year. This could be the start of a virtual reality revolution that will continue to grow and transform various industries, especially the entertainment, healthcare and industrial sectors.

The race for 5G begins

Remember when 3G was something new and exciting. Then 4G came along with promise of faster speeds.

It was faster but still not that fast. Most of us who are heavy mobile data users will welcome the introduction of 5G, which is being defined by a new radio access technology.

Growth of social media commerce

Traditionally, online retailing is done through e-commerce websites but increasingly people are using social media to help sell things online. Setting up a social media presence is much faster and more affordable. As more and more people and companies start to peddle their wares via social media, you can be sure social media platforms will respond by making it easier to do e-commerce via their platform.

Over at Cyberview, we have identified nine focus areas, namely Information Security, Creative Content, Mobile Internet, Cloud Computing, Big Data Analytics, Green Tech, Biotech, Wearable and Smart Grid. As you can see, many of the big developments anticipated next year will one way or another touch upon the various tech areas we are focusing on.

We hope that whatever is happening in the tech world, we will be able to help play a role in making sure Malaysia is on the forefront of those developments as well.