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The 4 pillars of tech trends in 2016 you must embrace

by Claire Melly , 10.02.2016

We are living in an era where making sense of lots of tiny pieces of data holds the key to brand and business success. Organizations with an “analytical culture” will maximize the opportunities this data presents. In our annual exploration of the top technology trends most likely to impact consumers and businesses in the coming year and beyond, data plays a role in each. We've identified four themes that will affect how the trends perform: confidence, communicate, capitalize, and collaborate.

Consumer confidence is key to brand trust

Relevant for all our ten trends is the necessity to use data effectively and find the right balance between personalization and being too personal.

As connected consumers leave an ever greater trail of data about their behavior behind them, the need for brands to offer consumers watertight data security and personal privacy isn’t optional – it is essential. Whether it’s captured in their connected car, when making a mobile payment, playing a game in virtual reality or viewing a video through a subscription service, consumers want relevant, tailored rewards in return for their data. And they want to be confident it will be safe and secure with you.

Harnessed correctly, artificial intelligence (AI) offers brands a new opportunity to reach consumers with highly relevant messages. Those that succeed will enjoy improved trust and relationships with consumers, while simultaneously influencing decisions and purchases.

Your communication must be pitch perfect

New technologies struggle to achieve mass appeal when the benefits aren’t communicated effectively. This is most evident with regards to wearables, which have, to date, failed to go mainstream. Much is being done to illustrate the positive impact they can have on individual connected consumers’ lives and we expect acceleration in this market in the near future.

Emerging technologies need to be right if they are to win the support of consumers. Drones offer significant opportunities – especially to businesses – but the technology is still in its infancy. New players may change the direction of this trend, so watch this (air) space!

Tech Trends 2016 4 C's

Capitalize on customer enthusiasm and appetite

One of the biggest challenges for proponents of new technologies is convincing potential customers to share their enthusiasm. For two technologies featured in Tech Trends, however, no such encouragement is needed. Consumers ranked 3D printing as the third most likely technology to impact their lives in our recent study. Similarly, the majority of consumers expressed an interest in purchasing smart home products within the next two years. We believe there is a real opportunity for providers to maximize both consumer and business appetite and accelerate these trends.

Be prepared to embrace unexpected collaborations

We expect to see some new relationships between unlikely partners as previously unthinkable alliances are needed to turn some technology into reality. For instance, we know that consumers demand a seamless experience in their smart homes. This is a vision that no single provider can deliver, so traditional competitors will work together to meet consumer expectations of a smart home.

New partnerships will be forged within the automotive market as manufacturers seek companies to design and build the game-changing apps and features that will define tomorrow’s connected car. The recent collaboration between Chinese networking giant, Huawei, and German manufacturers, Audi and Volkswagen, is one such example.

The future of virtual reality (VR), currently mainly the preserve of gamers, depends on technology providers working with brands to let consumers “experience” their products. Quantas, Thomas Cook and ASOS are early adopters, and more will follow suit as the benefits of the technology are realized.


With so many technologies poised for take-off in the coming months, it’s going to be an exciting time. We will continue to monitor, analyze, evaluate and report to enable brands to recognize and fulfill the needs of tomorrow’s consumers today.

For more information please contact me at TechTrends2016@gfk.com.