The year 2015 was all about drones, virtual reality, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
This year, venture capitalists and industry observers say the tech world should expect more of the same. “Most hot startups in 2016 won’t be trying to lead revolutions or usher in whole new industries,” says Igor Shoifot, an investment partner with TMT Investments. “Instead, they’ll be enhancing existing technologies, products, services, or transactional ecosystems by saving users time, money, effort, and helping them make better choices more easily.”
However, according to CIO, the New Year has a few potential technology surprises in store, including the “Uberization” of manufacturing and mobile ecommerce in emerging markets. Here are 10 of the hottest technology startup categories, trends and opportunities (ranked in no particular order) experts expect to see in 2016.
1. Wearables in the enterprise
Today’s consumers already embraced wearable technologies, such as Fitbit and other activity-tracking products. In the enterprise, however, the wearables market is still “nascent but shows promise,” according to Ludo Ulrich, head of startup relations for Salesforce.
2. Consumer IoT and ‘smart home’
“Smart home” devices, including Google’s popular Nest thermostat, aren’t new. However, lingering consumer concerns about the security of IoT devices in the home hindered the adoption of such gadgets, especially after BuzzFeed featured some high-profile hacks in a story titled, “7 creepy baby monitor stories that will terrify all parents.”
3. Consumer privacy protection
As the adoption of smart home technology increases, consumer concern about what happens to the data their gadgets collect grows accordingly, according to Stuart Bailey, founder and chief scientist at network security service provider Infoblox.
4. Counterterrorism technologies
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City led more startups to build safety and evacuation technologies, according to Moshe Hogeg, cofounder, managing partner and chairman of private VC fund Singulariteam. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., in late 2015 will similarly motivate startups to provide “solutions for counterterrorism activities” in 2016, he says.
5. Cybersecurity services to protect enterprises
Malicious hackers and cybercriminals “are continually getting more sophisticated, requiring new ways for companies to protect themselves,” says Theresia Gouw, cofounder and managing partner with Aspect Ventures.
See more about 2016 startup on CIO