Where are we headed?
A new year and new trends. What we’re seeing as most relevant to entrepreneurs is a matter of taste. But in the bigger scheme of things, as an entrepreneur you need to be aware of what’s hot and what’s not.
To that end, Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends report has arrived. Venture Beat reports that Meeker’s annual reports have become a major signal for the biggest trends in tech. This year, Meeker reports on slowing smart phone sales; the growing mobile ad industry and ad blocking; the video-fication of social media; the future of transportation; and the rise of messaging, bots, and voice-based assistants. You can dig into all 200+ pages of crucial information here.
What’s new is old?
The report has a lot of information. Making some sense of the roughly 220 pages is a bellyful. Oddly enough if you roll back the calendar a few months to 2015 and look at what was projected to be hot in 2016, it makes me wonder if we’re not experiencing a bit of a disconnect:
Interest in virtual reality seems to have peaked in some respects with tech trailblazers but in the intervening months the focus has been how to hook mainstream consumers.
Most smartphones these days are operating on the 3G or 4G network. But all eyes are on the next generation of cell service, unsurprisingly, called 5G. That said, many think iPhone sales may have peaked in 2015. Meeker predicts the rise of voice interfaces because they’re fast, easy, personalized, hands-free, and cheap, with Google on Android now seeing 20% of searches from voice, and Amazon Echo sales growing as iPhone sales slow.
Smartening up your smart devices
Meanwhile, an article in Entrepreneur points out that companies are looking to improve the way our devices communicate to each other otherwise known as cross-platform integration. Microsoft’s newest update of its newest operating system, Windows 10, allows devices in the same network to stream the same game across multiple devices.
Smart Data is proliferating in everything from automobiles to homes. Which means every time a new home appliance becomes connected to the Internet, a new wearable device starts tracking more of our movements or a social network encourages us to put more of our feelings and vacation pictures online, more data is created.
Where’s the safety net? Entrepreneur posits that parallel security measures will need to expand both in size and sophistication. New software security technologies will depend on identifying abnormalities in network behavior instead of identifying destructive code in software.
The general takeaway
Some other takeaways from the latest trends report include the following (thanks to Techcrunch):
- Video viewership is exploding, with Snapchat and Facebook Live showing the way, though video ads aren’t always effective.
- Messaging is dominated by Facebook and WeChat, it’s growing rapidly, and evolving from simple text communication to become our new home screen with options for vivid self-expression and commerce.
- US advertising is growing, with Google and Facebook controlling 76% of the market and rising, but advertisers still spend too much on legacy media rather than new media where the audience has shifted.
- The USA could become the home of the auto industry again thanks to innovation from Tesla and Google despite US auto sales slipping since 1950, though car ownership will fall as Uber/UberPool sharing becomes mainstream.
It doesn’t just make for absorbing reading. No matter what our business is, following the latest internet and digital trends are vital.