8 MARKET + TECH EXPLOSIONS HAPPENING IN 2016
As if the world were not moving fast enough, buckle up - things are getting bigger, faster. Let's just say that the kitchen is heating up to record levels! As we look forward to a new year, it's important to know what's emerging and how our world is evolving.
1. CAN YOU SAY... 7 BILLION?!
As in - Internet users. In 2003, there were 750 million. By 2008 it had doubled to 1.5 billion. Today it is 3 billion. Experts predict that the rate of growth will continue to grow exponentially and reach 7 billion within 5 years (yes, that is the current Earth's population). The world is becoming a single marketplace and tools and access are becoming more affordable. Those predictions seem staggering, so I'm a little skeptical. It will definitely be interesting to see if things pan out as the experts are predicting.
2. MOBILE WILL CONTINUE TO OUTPACE DESKTOPS
This one is absolutely one I can agree with. More than 50% of the traffic to this blog is from mobile devices alone! While the desktop market will certainly not go away, the mobile arena will continue its spread like wildfire. Whether people access the Internet via phones, pads, watches or other devices, they will never cease to stay connected everywhere. And all. the. time. If your website is not fluid in its display across devices, it will become detrimental to your growth. Google already made mobile websites the next 'must-have' with its mobile-friendly algorithms in April 2015. (Have you checked your site to make sure it passes Google's mobile-friendly test? Check it out here.)
3. VIDEO... VIDEO... + MORE VIDEO
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but video is proving to be like the advance to color movies from black and white. Whether it's instructional, entertaining, sales-oriented, or subliminal in intent, video is where it's at. Maybe its just human nature, but we love watching others do what they do through video on the web. Maybe its more effective in digesting and communicating information. Maybe its just lazy. Either way, we love it!
While many videos are filmed and edited to perfection, this is no longer essential. Videos are becoming real time. People don't need to go back home to edit and upload their content. Sites such as Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat have already capitalized on this and others will soon follow.
4. CROWDFUNDING IS HERE TO STAY
Crowdfunding can be a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to get their business off the ground in the early stages. After a number of years of study and research, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has now formalized the rules for this new venue of raising capital. It's called the JOBS act, and allows people to gather up to $1 million per year without having to register with the SEC.
Individuals can use this avenue to sell shares of their company to investors. It presents an unlimited industry of potential for entrepreneurs wanting to connect with people willing to fund their ideas and inventions.
5. TRANSLATION SERVICES CREATE A GLOBAL COMMUNITY
Thinking of learning a second (or third) language? This might be the year to do it, although you may not have to learn Chinese or Spanish to stay relevant in international business. With the advance of online translation capabilities, every market in the world is now literally able to communicate with one another. Whether it's for finance & banking, tourism, medical, or legal, translation services are available and are changing the Internet landscape. No longer do companies and entrepreneurs need to limit themselves geographically or within their culture. The language barrier is being eliminated making advances possible like never before. Of course, knowing another language (especially these top 5) certainly helps!
6. ROBOTS + MACHINES
Yes, I'm talking about driver-less cars and drones. Robotics will make advances in every industry. Some companies are even selling robots for companionship. The technology will make processing more powerful and size smaller. Machines will continue with an ever-accelerating speed to replace human skills. Already, there are hybrid services where the user is not sure if they're speaking to a machine or a person. This will become more and more unclear. Scary?
7. 3D PRINTING
The revolution is just beginning. The first 3D-printed car has already been produced. The possibilities extend to literally every industry out there. The ability to custom design and create products will change everything. Medically, companies have already reached the point where they have printed skin, kidneys, and a replica of a beating heart. Imagine, rather than going out to buy a new pair of shoes, simply printing them. It sort of makes your head spin to think of such a paradigm shift.
8. VIRTUAL REALITY
If you thought 3D printing was space age and futuristic, hang on to your hat. A 55-year-old quadriplegic woman recently flew an F-35 Strike Fighter simulator with nothing but her thoughts. The industry is expanding well beyond just gaming. Virtual reality headsets that have previously cost $2,500 will become affordable to the masses. Want to test drive the new Land Rover or traverse the Grand Canyon? You may be able to do it from your own living room. Got a family reunion coming up? You might just end up attending it 'virtually'.
Technological advances are moving at a speed like never before. While it may seem overwhelming to stay up with these changes, the truth is that for entrepreneurs, there has never been a better time to capitalize on this opportunity. Go out there and make your future!