Mobile Inspired Trends for 2016

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Mobile Inspired Trends for 2016

MEC UK's Head of Mobile, Jide Sobe, identifies the most important mobile trends for 2016.


The start of the year sees lots of activity in the tech world, with CES (the Consumer Electronic Show) in January, closely followed by Mobile World Congress in February. Both of these shows are peppered with new product launches and manufacturers showing off their latest technology. Whilst a lot of the exhibits are not mobile specific, the underlying technology is driven by the mobile ecosystem, so here is our round up of the top mobile inspired trends for the year.

1.It’s just dumb glass
Hardware continues to be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, and the big excitement is around the services that can be accessed on the device, rather than the device itself.
A case in point is Samsung’s Galaxy S7, which is virtually indistinguishable in design to the previous S6.
LG are pushing the boundaries slightly more, by releasing a revolutionary modular design allowing the bottom of the phone to be removed, and additional modules to be added. For example, adding a professional camera attachment, allowing manual focus and zooming.
Chinese manufacturers such as HTC, Huawei & ZTE are not about to make a big splash in western markets, but will undoubtedly be big in Asia.

Why This Matters To You
As the number of digital screens increases, the differentiation between them fades in to the background,
allowing consumers to focus on the content or service.
It’s no longer enough for a brand’s mobile strategy to be a cut down version of their website. Instead, you need to deliver value to consumers by making it simple to buy, interact or use your products. Services that let consumers interact with a brand when they want, how they want and on whichever screen they choose, are becoming the differentiators.

2.Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality has been big in 2016, with lots of demos available at both shows, and mainstream public events, with companies taking two different approaches.
At the high end ($599 - $799) are Oculus Rift and HTC with their Vive headset. Both of these need to be tethered to a very high spec computer for processing capacity, and allow users to interact with their surroundings.
At the opposite end is Samsung’s Gear VR (free with pre-orders of the Galaxy S7, and featuring Mark Zuckerberg at the launch) and LG’s 360 VR headset. These use the phone to process the image, but don’t allow for user engagement with the environment. Both Samsung and LG also launched 360 cameras, enabling users to create, and share, their own 360 content. This may provide the impetus needed to take 360 video mainstream.

Why This Matters To You
It’s still “wait and see” on VR for marketers. VR might be big but the consumer use cases are still unclear. The top end hardware is expensive and requires a dedicated space, so isn’t ideal for home use (but excellent for experiential installations though).
The lower end versions are more accessible but there is still limited content available. The new cameras will make it easier for consumers to create and share VR content, but could take a year to go mainstream.

3.The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is everywhere in 2016, with seemingly everything connected to everything. Whilst some use cases are starting to take off, there’s still a long way to go for others. LG’s Rolling Bot being a case in point. Billed as a rolling camera that you can use to entertain your pets, it doubles as a home surveillance camera.
IoT has also been evident in talk of connected cities, showing how sensors can be used to monitor everything from the weather to traffic conditions, and the data used to optimise the efficient running of civic infrastructure.
Consumer uses for IoT have focussed on the Smart Home. With so many competing ecosystems coming to market, consumers will have to be careful that all of their IoT devices are able to talk to each other.

Why This Matters To You
IoT devices, when done correctly, offer tangible benefits to consumers through ease of use and increased efficiency of communication. Despite the lack of use cases for a $5,000 connected fridge, it can actually be useful to monitor your home security system when you’re away, or for your smart thermostat to sense that you’re on your way home and turn the heating on.
For brands, this offers opportunities for new services that can remove friction for their users. But any new service must bring value to consumers and never just be a case of jumping on the technology bandwagon.
So they’re our top 3 mobile inspired trends for 2016. There will definitely be big developments in all of these areas, although they might not filter down to mainstream consumer use this year. One thing is for certain, the pace of change is just getting faster, making it ever more challenging for brands to keep up and stay relevant for their customers.

Mobile Inspired Trends for 2016