17 killer trends in technology, media and comms you need to watch in 2016

2 May 2016

An extensive list of technological predictions from Deloitte paints a picture of an innovative 2016, with graphene, e-sports and photo sharing three crucial areas of research.

The progress of cognitive technologies in enterprise software, mobile payments “and the progression of graphene” are exciting aspects of technology, media and telecoms (TMT), according to Deloitte’s Paul Sallomi and Paul Lee.

Elsewhere, predictions that VR and sports will be huge, according to the report, run alongside the belief that mobile will become the biggest games platform in the world in 2016 – bigger than PC and consoles.

“While the past 15 years have witnessed startling change, it has also seen remarkable continuity,” said Sallomi and Lee in a release. “Broadcast TV, radio, cinema, live entertainment, printed books and in-person meetings remain popular, despite multiple digitally-enabled alternatives.”

Women in IT, millennials love PCs

The report lists education as playing a primary role in both recruiting and retaining female staff in a grossly imbalanced labour gender mix, however, there’s more to it than that. A UK study found that just one-in-20 applicants for IT roles were women. Things like having female recruiters might help, but that women in IT roles are 45pc more likely to leave in year one means even that might not be enough. Payment (in the US women make 79c to the dollar men make for the same job) is obviously key.

Interestingly, millennials, largely the mobile generation, are predicted to be most enthusiastic towards PCs, in both use and buying. All the while, mobile payments will skyrocket.

“Consumers are constantly connected to their smartphones,” reads the report, with a user-friendly mobile site “essential”.

Graphene, VR and gaming

Graphene is at the absolute cutting edge of scientific research at the moment. What CRISPR is to genetics, what Mars is to space researchers, graphene is to physicists. Deloitte reckons 2016 will give us the first true sneak peak at the potential the wonder material has. As an example, microbots that clean water, biosensors for diabetes treatment and even microrobotics are at the cusp of a revolutionary moment thanks to graphene.

Deloitte predicts VR to be a billion-dollar niche and, given the activity by HTC, Sony and Oculus in the first half of 2016, it’s soon to hit the consumer market big time. In truth, 2018 is probably when this industry will really kick-off, when a second wave of products and software begins to filter down.

The final prediction that caught the eye, though, was to do with mobile gaming. Noting that the mobile games industry is fairly mature at this early stage, it faces the “same core challenges as most mainstream media”, which is essentially creating valued content. It will succeed, apparently, becoming the dominant gaming platform in 2016.

Below is the full suite of predictions (click to view it in a larger format), with the full report here.

Deloitte tech predictionsImage of 17 via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic