What Are the Technology Trends That Will Change the Business Landscape in 2016?

Business.com / Starting a Business / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

So, what are the three technology trends that will revolutionize the global business landscape in 2016? Let’s take a look.

Business News Daily named 2015 as the year of the entrepreneur.

New business models and startups are constantly popping up.

Thanks, in part, to innovative use of technology, social media, GrowthHackers.com, and the ultra low-interest rates - 2015 is indeed a great time to start a business.

As this year is coming to an end soon, you might wonder what's waiting for us in 2016?

What are some of the technology trends that will change the global business landscape (and create brand new business opportunities)? While we can never predict the future accurately, I will take my shot to predict three important changes / new technology trends to look into before starting a business in 2016.

Related Article: 5 Technology Trends That Have The Power to Change Your Business

1. Big Data

Big data analysis has been used primarily by large corporations to gain insight into consumer behavior.

But things are changing — and they are changing fast.

Digital web marketers and startups are now collecting very specific information about their consumers and aligning their strategies with the data they collect. Basically, collection strategies and analysis techniques are improving simultaneously. In other words, organizations are not just getting better at collecting data; they are getting better at analyzing all of the data they are collecting in order to add value.

Companies once had so much data they actually struggled to mine it for the right kind of information. But improved analytics means that the new world of big data is a different ballgame. Increasingly, big data is helping organizations meet their goals and objectives. It can be leveraged to help banks weed out fraudulent transactions, used to help retailers predict their customers’ future purchases, and much, much more.

2. The Smartphone Resale Market

Smartphones are costly.

Consumers looking to get their hands on smartphone technology without paying the full retail price have generated a host of new business opportunities. Apple’s market share is declining across the globe (down from 47.7 percent to 38.8 percent in the U.S., 60.2 percent to 49.8 percent in Japan, and 42 percent to 38.6 percent in Great Britain in the first two months of 2015), perhaps as a result of high prices. But expensive smartphone prices and the decline in Apple’s market share have breathed new life into the cell phone resale market, especially in emerging markets throughout Southeast Asia and China.

Furthermore, this is also generating a variety of new business opportunities and startup ideas. Businesses that offer services to help users unlock their iPhone iCloud accounts on secondhand phones are becoming increasingly popular. This includes businesses like Official iPhone Unlock, IMEI Codes, and Keys2iPhone. As the smartphone resale market continues to grow and expand, it will generate even more business opportunities like this.

3. 3-D Printing

Worldwide shipments of 3-D printers were forecasted to grow a staggering 98% by the end of 2015. In 2016, it is expected that sales of 3-D printers will be double what they were in 2015. Over the course of the next several years, it is expected that the price of 3-D printers will decline while means of use will continue to expand.

What Is 3-D Printing?

3-D printing refers to the means by which it is possible to create an object simply by creating a digital file using computer-aided design (CAD) software and then sending it to a 3-D printer. The CAD digital image is sliced into 2-dimensional representations, and these representations are then fed through a printer that builds up the object layer by layer.

While 3-D printing was originally developed for rapid prototyping purposes, allowing companies to quickly build a few product samples so that designers could identify and correct any flaws, the applications of 3-D printing are widely expanding. A rise in popularity in 3-D printing has the potential to totally revolutionize the global business landscape. Basically, 3-D printing means that anyone anywhere in the world can produce an object they want or need pretty much on demand.

According to SteelBlue, as reported by Jeff Mottle in this blog post - 

As it turns out 3D printing was not only significantly cheaper and quicker to build, but also produced a significantly more detailed model. A comparable, lesser detailed, model was quoted to cost around $300,000 to produce. The team was able to print their model at a fraction of that cost, though those Connex printers don’t come cheap.

Steelblue largest 3D printed interactive city

Many argue that this has the potential to inaugurate a new era of “democratized” manufacturing that will facilitate mass personalization, allow for a more efficient use of resources, and totally transform the way in which consumer goods are produced. For example, 3-D printing is now widely used in biomedical applications, such as the production of prosthetics and hearing aids; for the production of software and machinery parts; and in the automotive and aerospace sectors.

Aircraft designers hope to be able to 3-D print a plane by 2050, and NASA is testing out 3-D printed parts for its systems. All in all, 3-D printing has the power to significantly expand customization while also making manufacturing quicker and cheaper.

Related Article: Embracing Something New: 5 Ways to Make Innovation Part of Your Business Strategy

What These Changes Mean to You?

In conclusion, it is critical to understand how the business landscape is changing, especially if you are an entrepreneur. Understanding new technology trends and adopting them early are key to maximizing your bottom line, whether you’re trying to figure out innovative uses for big data or are planning to leverage the potential of 3-D printing in your prototyping process.

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