Eight business technology trends that will dominate 2016

Here are some of the top technology trends that every business needs to be aware of in 2016. If your business isn’t already thinking about these things, you might be missing some key opportunities.

Mobile matters more

In 2015, Google announced that mobile search and use has finally overtaken desktop. In July, ComScore released a report on how Canadians spend the majority of their digital activity on a mobile device. Conclusion: the days of browsing on mobile and buying later on the desktop or laptop are changing: 30% of all online shopping purchases now occur on mobile phones.

The device mesh: Internet of Things continues to grow

Google (via Nest), Philips and Amazon have already introduced concepts for the smart home. From thermostats to smart light bulbs, remotely controlling everyday appliances wouldn’t have been possible without the Internet, but that is just a small piece of the puzzle. Wearables like Android or Apple watches are making it even easier to access information on the go. Technology research firm Gartner describes the “device mesh” of mobile devices, wearables, consumer and home electronics, automotive devices and Internet of Things sensors interconnecting and expanding the current model. Watch for more of this to emerge in 2016.

New technologies will disrupt traditional business models even more

The world’s biggest taxi company doesn’t own any taxis (think Uber). The world’s biggest hotel doesn’t own any hotels (think Airbnb). These have already drastically disrupted traditional models and businesses. Slack, Stripe and Square have been successful because they provide products that solve problems created by necessary tools. Going into 2016, more startups and technologies will be created to solve pain points that most businesses and professionals face daily.

Rise of cognitive computing and machine learning

According to a recent podcast I was listening to, 60% of developers will integrate some form of cognitive computing into their code by 2020. More businesses will start to use elements of this technology to learn from collected customer data to provide more customized and improved user experience for clients.

Privacy and security will become a value proposition

High-profile data leaks and security breaches made headlines all over the world in 2015. In 2016, expect consumers and customers to look for services that ensure information security and privacy. For businesses that store data, there will be a growing demand for transparent security measures.

Smarter smart devices

With Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and other big companies supporting research into artificial intelligence, 2016 will be a promising year for personal-assistant technologies that will remind you of your upcoming flight to Toronto, remind you to buy a carton of milk before heading home or present you with relevant news from your favourite site after dinner.

Advertising on social media will grow

Social media companies will see another round of growth as advertisers and businesses diversify their marketing channels. With the controversial issue of ad fraud and the increased adoption of ad blockers, more brands are experimenting on different social media channels like Facebook, Snapchat and Periscope. Businesses will turn to sponsored posts to increase views of their content.

Growth in customized domain names

Launched in 2013, the new generic top-level domains were introduced to the market worldwide, providing alternatives to .com such as .law, .tech, .finance, .social, .consulting and several hundred more. Notable upcoming domain launches in 2016 include .app, .blog, .buy and .shop.

With companies like Amazon and Google investing heavily in the program, the new alternatives to .com will gain more visibility in the coming year. With the added benefit of flexibility, visibility and branding, we’re already seeing the new domains being used by different organizations like Barclays (www.home.barclays), Google/Alphabet Inc. (www.abc.xyz) and the Eiffel Tower (www.toureiffel.paris).

Cybele Negris (cybele@webnames.ca) is president, CEO and co-founder of Webnames.ca, Canada’s original .ca registrar.