How will technology shape culture? Six predictions for 2016

So 2016 is upon us, and with it the promise of a brighter future.

But what’s in store for the tech industry and how will it shape the world around us?

Hoverculture

The gift of choice last Christmas was the hoverboard and no self-respecting teen wanted to be seen without one.

Whereas the original Segway failed because of its association with middle aged security guards, the hoverboard is seen as the plaything of the stars.

Once Kanye and the Kardashians had one, that was it. And who can hate something that floored Mike Tyson?

But this year we’ll see their popularity begin to shape popular culture.

They’ll appear in TV shows, films and music videos.

Apps will be built to piggyback on the craze, from location trackers that share your activity to social platforms that connect you with other enthusiasts.

We’ll also see an increased usage of voice activated apps as people look for easier ways to browse whilst riding.

And just like skateboards in the 90’s, expect to see the rise of a new sport pioneered by daring boarders (with global brands signing to sponsor).

Dronecam

If anything rivalled the hoverboard for popularity in 2015, it was drones.

They’ve already begun to influence the way we see the world around us and the images we capture.

This will gain pace as people merge drones with webcams and live streaming.

News organisations will use them to broadcast public disturbances and natural disasters.

Festivals will employ them to capture live action from above the stage.

And sports brands will test them in matches, allowing us to track every movement of our favourite players.

But with this rise we’ll see consequences, and new legislation will be debated over authorised flight paths and the usage of drones in city centres.

Driverless Time

The rollout of driverless cars will have a profound effect on people’s lives.

The average Brit spends 90 minutes a day driving, which will now be available for digital experiences.

Brands who had previously been unable to distract drivers will be able to reach out with location-specific messages and time-sensitive offers.

Retail stores will use these ads to tempt people on their journey to work, offering an immediate form of click and collect with staff waiting outside to load items into your car.

As a result, manufacturers will begin to operate as ad networks, selling audience interactions and advertising solutions along with their vehicles.

Biotrackers

Health trackers saw a pre-Christmas sales jump of 1,200% and this will only continue as we enter diet season.

The game changer however will come with the integration of biometric circuit boards that attach to your skin.

This will give people an accurate read of their physiology.

As a result, we’ll be able to start modifying our behaviour and habits depending on our body’s needs.

Trackers will monitor our sleep cycles to wake us at the perfect moment.

They’ll nudge us from our seats when our heart rates begin to drop.

And we’ll even be warned when colleagues are affecting our blood pressure.

This will lead to the insurance industry incentivising people to share their biometric data, as well as legal proceedings against employers causing stress-related illnesses.

Digitised Clothing

Digital fabrics were often seen on crowdfunding sites in 2015.

Expect to see them on the catwalk in 2016!

People will be able to personalise their trainers and hats at the push of a button.

And a new breed of fashion designer will enter the industry, driven by a coding background.

This will slowly change the concept of fashion as we’ll no longer need different garments to change our appearance – we’ll be able to do that through our digital wardrobes.

Backing this new form of fashion will be global brands, commissioning bespoke designs to share with fans, which in essence are just cleverly disguised display ads.

Programmatic Everything

2015 saw Programmatic come of age.

Now it’s ready to step out of digital’s shadow and go it alone.

Expect to see programmatic bleeding over into other channels, from billboards to TV and cinema.

Even print is getting in on the action.

This development will be the most subtle (for consumers to see) but could be the most creative.

Brands will be able to tell sequential stories that evolve across the touchpoints we use and surprise us when we least expect it.

But with this development will come further questions about privacy and concerns over quality.

 

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Marcos Angelides

Marcos is a Strategy and Innovation Director at OMD.

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