Technology will undoubtedly play a significant role in the success of businesses from every sector in 2016 – and the travel industry is no exception.
No business is immune to the development of new technology as it permeates every industry and can have a significant impact on consumer relationships.
Now that all sounds very serious, but the fact remains that companies need to stay updated on the latest technology trends if they are to survive in such a connected world. So without further ado, let's take a look at what some of the experts predict will be big news in 2016 when it comes to technological developments:
Virtual Reality (VR) available to all
Finally, the science-fiction concept of VR, which has been in discussion as a commercial reality for a number of years, will be delivered to the masses for both consumers and companies to enjoy. The Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony's Playstation VR are all due to be officially launched later this year.
This is good news for businesses dealing in experiences, such as the travel industry, as it means they will finally be able to offer consumers a realistic taster of their product or service from the comfort of their own homes.
Augmented Reality (AR) hot on VR's heels
But let's not all get swept up in VR fever quite yet – there's another reality due to become popular in 2016, too: AR. AR is less immersive but still has the potential to infiltrate a number of different industries. The technology allows for users to see virtual objects within the physical world, and so has the potential to be more practical than the sometimes nauseating experience of VR.
Microsoft is getting set to launch the HoloLens and Google Glass is also seeking a relaunch, so there are devices due to become available on the market soon for businesses interested in this less intense reality-shaping technology.
But users will tire of smart devices
Alas, consumers have become so overwhelmed with new technology and ever smarter devices over the last few years, a vast array of people are beginning to get weary of being constantly glued to a phone, tablet or computer and are seeking more original, physical experiences.
The growth curve of such devices will begin to flatten out (they will never be completely abandoned), so businesses will need to continue targeting consumers on these devices but also take into account the fact they are seeking fresher communications and experiences. Technology should continue to be considered as key to business success, but not necessarily be the key to securing long, loyal customers – that will require a different kind of approach.
Predictive algorithms will help
Thankfully, predictive algorithms will help businesses to predict future trends so that they can better communicate with consumers even as they become less reliant on their connected devices. Big data will continue to be gathered but in 2016 will be run through such algorithms to help make more informed decisions on future communication strategies or content calendars, for example.
While such algorithms won't work like crystal balls, they will help businesses better connect with consumers when needed, as their audience decides to switch off on occasion.
Of course, other forms of technology will be developed and change the course of business forever – but without the above-mentioned crystal ball, these four seem to us to be the most obvious choices for top tech trends in the months ahead.