Top 10 Digital Predictions for 2016

Alexis Baghdadi, Jan 04 2016

Digital trends image via Shutterstock

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Doing business in the digital economy can be challenging. Technology is here to help, but you need sufficient insights and a correct grasp of global and regional markets.

Which service innovations can help keep your company or product ahead of the competition?

What marketing strategies should you adopt to guarantee more traction and larger customer conversion?

What about security and usability when it comes to payments and data storage?

Keep calm and check out these digital predictions published by global digital solutions specialist CI&T to start off on the right foot:

CI&T’s 10 Digital Predictions - 2016

1. Artificial Intelligence will be 10 times more present by end 2016

This year, we could witness an explosion of smart AI-supported applications that require fewer efforts on behalf of users to deliver results. For example, Hopper users only have to enter their travel destination and date for the app to monitor airfares and show them the best times to buy tickets. A machine learning algorithm enables the app to do that.

More recently Google released as open source its framework of artificial intelligence Tensor Flow, and has started to release applications like the Vision API, which makes it very easy to bring image recognition features to any application. Before Google, Facebook had already opened their AI framework.

2. Commerce via messaging apps will become more mainstream

Together, the four largest messaging platforms (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, Viber) have more than 3 billion users combined. This represents a huge opportunity for brands and stores trying to find new way to reach consumers.

Messaging platforms will become a key component for customer outreach and ecommerce. This could usher in an “app-within-an-app world” where apps like WhatsApp or Viber will propose micro services to book a cab, purchase event tickets, or even conduct ebanking transactions for example. Tencent has already started doing this via QQ and WeChat, and Facebook is expected to join in this year.

3. Companies will rush to launch content with augmented reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is recording enormous traction as VR devices become more affordable. AR has generated a huge buzz in the gaming industry, and it will certainly expand to the production of all sorts of casual content. There are already professional applications under development, mainly in the professional training area, such as Toyota’s driving simulation project, as well as medical applications.

Giants like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have made astronomical investments in AR, leading to the commercial launch of Oculus Rift, Hololens, and Magic Leap this year.

4. Cloud will establish itself as the safest choice

There have been enough security incidents involving large organizations’ internal systems, which has contributed to reducing investments in private data storage infrastructure. Meanwhile, cloud technology providers have redoubled efforts to educate customers around security, compliance, and reliability - eliminating fears and increasing trust.

For these reasons, application migration to the cloud will accelerate, establishing it as the main platform for developing new applications across companies of all sizes and industries

5. Mobile transactions will increase thanks to payment by presence

For those doing it early in the year, we will see low adoption rates and virtually no added value to the customer experience compared to traditional payment methods.

Companies that are really focused on the customer experience in mobile payments know well that the act of paying is the biggest roadblock to that experience.

In 2016, these companies will work on reducing or eliminating this obstacle by automating payment without direct customer interaction. In-person payment will be made easier through geolocation or presence sensors.

Uber is a good example of this customer experience: users are charged for a ride without having to undertake any specific action at the moment of payment. According to CI&T, this should become a more common type of payment at user-defined pre-authorized venues.

6. More media companies will adopt platforms that support cash and ad inventory systems

In the face of declining revenue, media companies will look toward unified platforms that can provide both transactional and subscription based solutions, as well as ad inventory management via a bid engine to provide alternative ways of receiving revenue.

To put it simply, if a user does not wish to pay, he can be sold to an advertiser.

7. Companies will move to decentralization

Centralization’s advantages used to include economies of scale, efficiency, velocity, and – most importantly – trust. The trust factor in particular has made previous attempts at decentralization less effective.

However, advances in business models based on peer-to-peer, collaborative, and shared economies, aligned with technologies such as mesh networks, blockchain, smart contracts, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), the equation will start to change this year. Trust will become possible, and will bring gains in scale, efficiency, velocity, and resilience – a weak point in centralization.

We will witness a growing movement in decentralizing knowledge, storage, value, and property records, and possibly even see the first steps towards autonomous agents, will start to take shape.

8. SVOD broadcasting and encoding will be optimized for internet distribution

As the media streaming channel Netflix looks close to achieving global domination, legacy broadcasters have begun to deploy OTT platforms to stand their ground and expand their reach in order to maximize revenue opportunities. Examples include the BBC’s iPlayer going worldwide, and the German ProSieben’s Maxdome platform. Other broadcasters like RTL, CBS, ABC, Univision, and ITV will also follow suit.

Video encoding hardware manufacturers are on to this trend, and have begun to augment their product feature set to support internet distribution of content. Accordingly, we will see the legacy video encoding manufactures move to digital PIMs to allow them to monetize their content catalogs.

9. The end of free-to-play gaming?

According to CI&T, the best days of free-to-play (F2P) and freemium games are behind them. This is probably due to the growing number of loyal and hardcore gamers with high standards when it comes to game quality and experience.

Rather than paying as they go for upgrades and expansions – which feels more like a marketing scheme than a gaming experience – gamers will favor more episodic-based purchase scenarios, and as a result F2P (Free-to-Play) gamer numbers will begin to slide.

10. Digital experiences will become physical

With the growth of digital components such as screens, connected appliances, sensors, and widespread connectivity in general, CI&T predicts that today’s digital experiences will become physical.

The large volume of data that is collected today will be used more intelligently by machine learning algorithms to find common tastes, affinities, and intentions, and will open the way for customized and adapted environments to a particular public or individual.

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