futuregazing

Trends to come? Honest business, virtual schooling & a financial revolution

By Kitty Knowles 17 February 2016
Frost & Sullivan 2016 predictions. Pic: Istock/linetic
Summary

From a blossoming blockchain to women in leadership: We look into the future with a top trend analyst.

We love to ponder what lies ahead, and Texas research firm Frost & Sullivan is renowned for pinpointing future trends.

Last year, half of its annual predictions came true, with a rapid rise in smart cities, Apple Pay cementing the death of physical currency, and great strides taken towards a more autonomous world – that’s drones and robots.

What then, does the company think will take place in 2016?

We take a look at six intriguing trends predicted by Frost & Sullivan…

Mondo Hackathon by Rajesh Taylor Photographer
Mondo Hackathon by Rajesh Taylor Photographer

A Financial Revolution

Our financial services will exist in a shiny new online world, suggests the firm.

“Consumers will demand more digital banking solutions: Mobile payment options, virtual currencies, peer-to-peer lending platforms, and crowdsourced funding will emerge as some of the biggest segments.”

We’re aware that this prediction flies in the face of YouGov research which suggests that, as consumers, we’re just not ready for digital finance solutions yet, but at The Memo, we get really excited by banking apps like Mondo, Tandem and Squirel.

That’s not to say we’re not aware of trouble in the waters: Just last month we investigated claims that industry darling, TransferWise, might be a flawed product of smoke and mirrors.

Still, at least we know what leaders in financial technology expect to develop this year.

Read more: Let hackers break the banks to fix our finances

Pic: Istock.
Pic: Istock.

Getting us back on side

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Frost & Sullivan think big business will be forced to refocus on building up trust; after all, 2015 saw the Volkswagen scandal rock the automotive industry, and the pharmaceutical world shamed in the wake of excruciating price hikes.

“Regulation across the board is to become more stringent and unforgiving of defaulters, we could very well see other key players find themselves mired in scandal in 2016,” the firm states.

We think it’s a shame that being honest and trustworthy are now seen as ‘strategies’, rather than a foundation of good business – just why have all the gadgets in our lives been faking it? Let’s hope for fewer empty words in the future.

Read more: Ex-hedge funder ramps up price of AIDS drug by 5500%

Read more: The death of diesel: From superfuel to fossil fuel

The rise of the eUniversities

We love virtual reality, we know it has to capacity to inspire, engage and educate. Now, its natural progression will be to move into schools, Frost & Sullivan predict.

“Augmented Reality applications for elearning are gaining prominence,” the company suggests.

“We will see more mobile-based and personalised learning in 2016, including corporate training, virtual field trips, QR Code scavenger hunts, virtual drivers’ education, and gamification in math, physics, and other logic-based subjects.”

Last month Gojimo founder George Burgess told The Memo that he also thinks its big data, smartphones, and gamification that will soon be making big waves in our education system. Other experts have suggested that we gamify A-levels to make them more engaging and take pressure of teachers, while countries like Sweden and Norway already have eSports on the curriculum.

Clearly, education is about to smarten up.

Read more: When it comes to VR, content is king

Accessible luxury will be a trend for 2016. Pic: Istock
Accessible luxury will be a trend for 2016. Pic: Istock

Millenials will go premium

2016 will be the year that so-called Millennials grow up, suggests Frost & Sullivan. (About time right?)

“Millennials will increasingly prefer premium services and branded products as their careers take off and discretionary spending increases.”

As a ‘Millenial’, I look forward to my better, classier decisions. Although I’m not sure that my bank balance agrees. Perhaps the solution will come with the rise of ‘affordable luxury‘, as predicted by The Memo‘s editor Alex Wood.

Read more: Fast and luxurious: the apps you need for ridiculously lavish living

Things could get worse for women in tech in 2016 say Deloitte. Pic: iStock/kieferpix
Things could get worse for women in tech in 2016 say Deloitte. Pic: iStock/kieferpix

More boss women

At one end of the spectrum, accountancy group Deloitte, has claimed that things aren’t about to get better for women in tech any time soon (and that gender equality might even slip backward), but we hope Frost & Sullivan are right when they predict increasing female leadership across the board.

“Next year will see an increase in aggressive policies by governments and Boards to raise their diversity ranking in a bid to boost both GDP and the bottom line,” the firm states.

Despite being incredible leaders, women face unconscious bias every day. At present, one in five senior executives are women. If new policies can help to shift that figure for the better, that can only a good thing.

Read more: Will 2016 be worse for women in tech?

A blockchain boom

2016 could be the year that blockchain changes money as we know it. It’s a bold prediction, that if correct, will make all traditional money and product tracking systems redundant.

“Blockchain will allow for improved database records, financial inclusion, and transparency, which will set the foundation for tightened cyber security processes.”

Confused by the very idea of blockchain? Don’t worry: Watch our explainer video here (with cake)

Read more: Blockchain buzz grows as PwC develops “radical new solutions”