We are entering an exciting new era for innovation and technology that is full of unmeasurable potential and opportunity. Not only does this apply specifically to the internet, but goes beyond it in many areas of business and technology. For the startup, investment and job markets, it means a climate for fresh new areas. For legacy businesses, it can mean new growth and expansion potential.
10 trends to watch:
1. Internet Of Things: The internet as a technology infrastructure has the ability to be connected to any object, both fixed (stationary) or mobile. This includes products, devices, and objects of all kinds, shapes and sizes -- appliances, automobiles, buildings and other structures, wearable technology, mobile devices and much more. As the development of products connected to the internet increases, the demand for software and other technology to support it is imminent.
2. Security And Access Control: With the arrival of the Internet of Things and other key internet and technology trends, the need for new security and access control solutions will increase. Watch for this to also leap into the offline world as access control and security solutions evolve for the home, office, buildings of all kinds and vehicles across the spectrum for both consumers and businesses.
3. Digital Payments: Digital payment technologies have been gaining momentum for the past few years. The arrival of Apple Pay has sparked increased attention and movement in this area of technology business, and this will only continue in the future. Keep an eye also on new payment hardware solutions in addition to software, particularly around the connected home and retail business.
4. Offline/Online Integration: A flurry of startups around the integration of the web and offline world such as Uber has showed the promise of connecting the digital and physical world. While this has remained heavily in the consumer and personal services markets to date, we will see it likely move into more B-to-B and business-related applications, opening new opportunities for ideas and innovation.
5. Increased Cloud-Based Products and Services: Internet-based solutions such as email and data storage are not new to consumers or businesses today. However, we are entering a new era in the cloud-based technology market as both category of users continue to grow increasingly savvy with this area of the industry. Watch for this to expand into communications, content distribution and a variety of new and unexpected products and solutions, particularly in the business arena.
6. 'Smart' Wellness: Wearable technologies centered around consumer fitness are only the beginning. There are new internet-connected products and solutions emerging in across personal fitness and wellness, from helping us get a good night's sleep to tracking whether or not we eat too quickly. We may even see our smart phones tallying up calories as we shop for food items at the store, and many other exciting applications. It will open up opportunity for new startups and technology.
7. New Communications: The internet enables a wide range of communications capabilities. It has been predominantly text-based to date, but internet-based video and voice communications are also used and will only increase. While video communication has been relatively limited to laptops and traditional PCs, and voice to VoIP-enabled stationary telephones, all will move to mobile devices -- as well as cars and other vehicles, buildings and more -- in the coming future. Watch also for the decline in use of both the traditional 'landline' and 'cellular' platforms, replaced by the internet for communications. While startups may struggle proliferating this market, there should be opportunity in creating new innovations for carriers and telcos in this space.
8. 'Smart' Government: When we think of 'smart' technology in the government and law enforcement environment, it is often in websites and mobile connectivity. But a new era of internet-connected law enforcement and government startups are going beyond this to web-connected weapons, vehicles, and other technologies that can track and monitor use, activity and location, etc. We will also see new ideas and innovations in government information, reach, and other solutions from startups in the near future.
9. Green Tech/Clean Tech/Cause Tech: The past few years of technology and ideas among startups has been widely centered on consumer applications for fun and entertainment. However, new and emerging companies are utilizing technology to solve problems that now go beyond the traditional green and clean tech arenas such as growing and distributing food, eliminating excess and waste and a wide range of other problems throughout the world.
10. Education: The education technology market has held promise for years. But, today it is increasing and evolving in exciting ways like never before. Startups centered around improving the learning experience, empowering students and teachers, etc. are on the forefront. But also there will be new companies that help the country's entire education infrastructure, education administration and other areas as well. Watch for a lot of investment to increase in this market in the coming years.