3 tech trends of 2016

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Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) was one of the biggest sensations of 2016 with the release of PokemonGo. The augmented reality mobile game amassed 100 million downloads worldwide in less than a month. According to TechCrunch, the game reached 50 million Android downloads in a record 19 days, whereas the next-fastest was app to hit this record was ColorSwitch at 77 days. PokemonGo delivered augmented reality to the consumer market in unprecedented fashion.

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The wave of augmented reality didn’t stop with PokemonGo. Rather, almost all of the big tech companies were active in the space. Apple CEO Tim Cook said early in 2016 that Apple has a team working on developing augmented reality technology. Later in an ABC interview, he said he favors augmented reality over virtual reality and indicated AR is more commercially viable than VR.

Although Apple hasn’t released any AR solutions yet, other big players have. In November, Lenovo shipped the first Google Tango-enabled devices. Tango enables depth sensing and rooming mapping in a mobile device, powering new augmented reality experiences. With a Tango device, you can try different furniture in your home before buying.

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The success of PokemonGo paired with the hardware advancements have set the mass adoption of augmented reality into motion.

Chat bots

2016 was a huge turning point in that people are now spending more time in messaging apps than in social media. Chatbots enable users to access services and information through these messaging platforms.

Chatbots are not new, so why are they trending in 2016?  Artificial intelligence.

Chatbots are now functioning with machine learning, allowing them to learn through conversations. Chatbots no longer function solely based on rules and preprogrammed commands. Rather, chatbots are now able to understand human language.

This year, Facebook launched a new messenger platform with chatbots, allowing businesses to deliver automated content like customer support and e-commerce solutions with chatbots. Within the first 3 months of the launch, more than 11,000 bots were added to Messenger.

Chatbots allow businesses to maximize real-time engagement and to drive conversions through their online channels.  Major brands are leveraging chatbots including CNN, Disney, KLM and Uber to reach the over 900 million users on Facebook Messenger.

Live streaming

Consumers are cutting the cord in record numbers and ditching their paid TV subscriptions. During the second quarter of 2016, about 800,000 U.S. customers canceled their pay TV subscriptions, according to an estimate from SNL Kagan.

Streaming services like Amazon and Netflix are investing heavily in original content to attract viewers to their platforms. Netflix indicated that it will invest $6 billion in original content in 2017. Similarly, it is estimated that Amazon will spend $3.2 billion on content in 2016.

A key development in the world of TV streaming in 2016 was AT&T’s announcement of its $35 a month online video service, DirecTV Now. DirecTV Now includes over 100 TV channels on demand. This is an enticing offer for for viewers looking to cut their monthly cable.

One of the top reasons people keep their traditional cable packages is for the viewing off live sporting events. In April, Twitter partnered with the NFL to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games live this season. The first Twitter livestream game between the Jets and Bills in early September drew a reported 2.1 million viewers. Although this pales in comparison to the 15 million people who tuned in on CBS and the NFL Network, Twitter’s NFL stream was hailed as a success. Twitter’s inroads with NFL streaming marks an important shift in the consumption of regular sporting events. A trend that will continue into 2017.


Lindsay Boyajian

Author: Lindsay Boyajian

Lindsay Boyajian is the chief marketing officer of Augment, a leading augmented reality enterprise platform. Lindsay is the author of Content Engine: The Growth Hacker’s Guide to Content Marketing and she was a 2016 finalist for Everstring’s Discovery Awards for Emerging Marketers in Tech.