There’s a lot going on in the world of technology, and as the year comes to an end, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the growing trends we’re seeing in the consumer product space, and where we expect they’ll go in the year to come.
1. Keeping track of your health and wellness
Wearables have been growing in traction for quite some time, and companies are recognizing that consumers want a more holistic understanding of their activity and wellbeing (many are incorporating sleep tracking, food recording, and heart-rate monitoring as well now). Expect devices to become more seamless, allowing for passive data collection and personalized feedback and coaching.
2. Owning it together
The growth of the sharing economy (think Airbnb, TaskRabiit and the like) allows individuals the ability to use products and services without having to take full ownership. Instead, they can share, rent, subscribe, become a member, or have them delivered. This continues to be a win-win!
3. Subscription services everywhere
Whether it’s for consumer media (Netflix, Kindle, Spotify …), a productivity suite (like Office 365 or Adobe Creative Cloud), or simply a monthly treat (the Birchbox-types), consumers demand fast and convenient services, on demand. While the pricing models vary (pay per product, unlimited service, pay as you go, etc.), you, the consumer, can save time and money thanks to these new services.
4. The “Internet of (Every)Thing”
All of the Internet-connected, data-gathering sensors being built into devices and your appliances are able to provide more insights, control, and efficiency than ever before. From home and kitchen appliances to smarter automobiles, to health and fitness applications, products are becoming smarter. In the near future, expect these devices and systems to be able to predict behaviors and provide contextually relevant information.
Thanks to intelligent micro-components, consumers can collect and analyze facial, fingerprint, and retina recognition as well as monitor heart rate to increase their wellness awareness. We are seeing such features being incorporated into products everywhere.
6. The new money
As consumers continue to demand convenient, prompt interactions, the checkout line is a place for much needed improvement. While the digital payment market is highly disruptive right now, consumers appreciate seamless transactions. Expect options to become more ubiquitous and mainstream.
7. Beacon technology
In general, we’re seeing a radical revolution in retail. Beacon technology is helping this evolution, as this low-energy Bluetooth tech allows consumers to have more personalized experiences, better customer services, and more targeted deals. This is increasingly important in our globalized economy because consumers still crave localized actions and support.
In the Pipeline
8. Intelligent drones
While the word drone may conjure up scary thoughts, by definition they are simply unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs). Today, they are still mostly used by hobbyists for leisure photography and videography, but applications in the near future are widespread: agricultural maintenance, storm tracking, wildlife preservation, and even help with search and recovery missions.
9. Robots rule
While robots of yesteryear have evolved into being great at avoiding obstacles, they have been limited in capabilities. The robots of tomorrow will be able to perform specific tasks and, with improved artificial intelligence, react and respond to new situations.
10. Virtual assistants
In yet another example of how processes and tasks are being more automated, virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Now and Amazon’s Alexa are becoming smarter with increased utilization. These intelligent virtual assistants provide results to the user commands (voice, text, gesture), serving up directions to your next meeting, booking your next reservation, or even identifying a song for you!