2016 in Review: Top technology trends that ruled the year

Whether you’re an entrepreneur trying to keep up with the latest trends or just a technology aficionado, everyone’s always excited when new, innovative technologies arise.

At the end of every year, important research companies such as Gartner and Deloitte release reports on the technology trends their research tells them will dominate the year to come.

We’ve decided to do the opposite (kind of) and instead of guessing what will trend in 2017 (we would be guessing because, unlike these companies, we’re not specialized in market research), we’ll bring you the top technology trends that ruled 2016.

We all know the tech market is one of those fields that are always innovating and creating things we could only dream of a few decades ago (I’m still waiting on the hoverboards, though).

2016 was an agitated year when it comes to new technologies and innovation so I’ll try to make it short and stick only to the most disruptive and significant trends.

AI – Artificial Intelligence

A couple of years back, the promise of artificial intelligence and machine learning in our everyday lives was nothing but a futuristic idea, a promise of the future. Well, 2016 was the year those trends became more present as ever in our lives through algorithms, self-improved searches, and personal digital assistants.

[Scientists are working non-stop at making artificial intelligence better and approaching human-level intelligence. For now, we’re more and more impressed with the capability chatbots are achieving, especially now that Facebook has allowed them on messenger.

According to many researches, chatbots can be very useful for customer support, offering services, or even bringing celebrities closer to their fans. Could this trend be the beginning of the AI revolution?

Data Visualization and Management

Unless you’ve only just arrived in the tech scene, you’ve likely read a lot about big data in past tech trends reports. It hasn’t changed, big data is still a big thing in today’s scenario but people are choosing to focus on its possibilities and applications instead of referring to it so generically.

Having a whole lot of data doesn’t mean much – unless you’re able to accurately interpret all that information and draw significant conclusions from it.

That’s where data visualization and management shines. For the past year, thousands of companies have developed their own tools to help people classify, manage, visualize and interpret all that data without specific data analysis knowledge.

We all know there’s a world of information out there but, unless we have the right knowledge or tools to make sense out of all that data, it’s not that practical or useful. Data visualization and management became a need that many companies volunteered to solve.

Live Video Streaming

During the past year, online live video streaming became more and more popular. I’m willing to bet you’ve seen at least one of your friends, celebrities, or brands you follow stream a live video for their followers using Facebook live or YouTube, for example.

With the overwhelming amount of new streaming technologies, going live is becoming a lot more practical, popular, and “cool”. Why should you, as a brand, stream live video to your audience? Well, to begin with, live video streaming allows you to provide an “in the moment” experience, through which your users can react, comment and interact.

With all the aforementioned possibilities as well as other known alternatives such as Snapchat, it’s easier and more practical than ever for anyone to live-stream a broadcast at any time. We can expect to see more tech trends to support live video streaming, such as Spectacles, developed by Snap (Snapchat’s company), that promises to record videos up to 10 seconds long to be broadcasted on Snapchat.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

If you’re aged somewhere between 6 and 87, you’ve probably given Pokemon Go a try (or, if you’re like me, you became obsessed with Niantic‘s biggest success in 2016). Pokemon Go brought augmented reality into our day-to-day lives, especially if you consider it hit over 100 million downloads worldwide.

Niantic is promising a lot of new features for the coming year so people are likely to keep on trying to catch’em all in 2017.

Also in 2016, Google has announced Daydream, a virtual reality platform in which developers can build entire worlds within VR without the need for a computer screen. Daydream is also a platform for users to interact and play games. For now, it’s only compatible with Google VR.

Internet of Things

Just like we’ve seen with big data, the internet of things (aka smart home technology) has figured on tech trends lists for quite some time without actually taking off. Despite the availability of many smart objects in the market, the lack of a “unified language” kept on making it hard to create integrated networks.

For the past year, however, companies like Google and Amazon launched devices intended for creating a centralized hub for all smart devices and making the future of the Internet of Things unification a little brighter.

It makes a lot of sense that, since these technology trends had such a huge impact in 2016’s market, companies will focus their efforts on developing and exploring them further during 2017 (and the next years to come).

Each of these trends has enormous potential still to be explored and even though I know I can’t speak for everyone else, I’m very excited to see the future development of these unpredictable and promising technologies.

Written by
Isabelle Wuilleumier Salemme
Head of Customer Support @Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to help users make the best of Pipefy via support and writing informative content pieces. Besides being in charge of support, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover, and a professional photographer.

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