As the calendar changes and annual business and tech predictions start to appear, you may wonder if these forecasts will become reality and how much weight you should give to them when strategizing for your business year ahead.
At the beginning of 2016, we highlighted some of those tech predictions, featuring a review of Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions report. Now, one year later, let’s take a look at what panned out…and what didn’t.
Women in IT still stagnates
Deloitte stated we could expect stagnation in the number of women working in Information Technology (IT) roles and other fields which have traditionally been dominated by male employees. While year-end stats are yet to be finalized, it looks like this 2016 prediction was fairly accurate.
Recent findings from HiringSolved found that women made up only 19.6% of the staff at the top 25 tech companies in 2016 — which was only a slight increase from 18.4% in 2015. Although not much has changed, there is a glimmer of hope that this small increase could be the beginning of a trend in the right direction.
And there’s certainly been an increase in the amount of press, media coverage, and discussion within the tech community surrounding this topic.
A recent “Elephant in the Valley” survey, which polled female employees working in Silicon Valley, revealed some of the barriers that women in the tech industry face:
● 66% of women felt left out from important networking events as a result of their gender
● 47% of women reported being asked to do lower-level tasks, like ordering food and taking notes, which their male colleagues were not asked to do
● 75% of women were asked about their marital status, family lives and children during interviews
So if we aren’t seeing dramatic results just yet, it’s encouraging to see that this issue is no longer being swept under the rug — and that bigger changes may be on the horizon.
Millennials still won’t abandon their laptops?
Earlier this year, Deloitte stated that while overall mobile use was still on the rise, ‘trailing Millennials’ (age 18 – 24) were the most ‘Pro-PC’ generation, ranking their laptops as one of their “most valuable possessions.”
Incorporating desktop advertising into an online marketing strategy was an essential method of reaching Millennials according to the report — although they wisely stressed that a mobile-first strategy was still the way to go (as opposed to a mobile-only strategy).
So how did things turn out in 2016?
There’s not a lot of data yet, so it may be too early to tell on this one, but research from comScore showed that desktop use was falling during the first three months of 2016. The research also found that one in five Millennials (age 18 – 34) don’t even use desktops anymore. Although this particular study was based on a relatively small timeframe, it appears that the jury is still out on Millennials and the classic laptop or desktop devices.
Moving to mobile devices, research has also shown that 67% of Canadians and 72% of Americans own a smartphone, so whether or not Millennials use laptops and desktops may be a secondary consideration. Deloitte’s recommendation for a mobile-first online marketing strategy will undoubtedly hold strong.
Virtual reality still on the rise
Deloitte expected 2016 to be the biggest year yet for virtual reality device and gaming sales. It was a pretty safe bet, considering VR is one of the gaming industry’s fastest developing technologies. But Deloitte made one bold prediction, in particular, estimating that sales for VR devices would surpass 2.5 million units in 2016.
Well, they were right — partially. VR headsets have already skyrocketed past that number, with UploadVR reporting the following sales stats for virtual reality devices as of November 2016:
● Oculus Rift Over 350,000 units
● HTC Vive Over 420,000 units
● Google Daydream Over 450,000 units
● Samsung GearVR Over 2,300,000 units
● PlayStation’s PS VR Over 2,600,000 units
The impressive projected sales of PlayStation’s PS VR alone will surpass Deloitte’s prediction. But even if the PS VR hadn’t snuck in a release just before year’s end, the combined sales of the other major VR devices in 2016 show that Deloitte’s prediction was a good one.
On the other hand, Business Insider reports slightly lower numbers for Sony’s VR sales, as interpretations of the projections have varied. Although they don’t claim as strong of a 2016 for virtual reality headset sales, the wind has not been taken out of the sales for 2017. “As prices come down across the next year, consumers could start migrating from entry-level headsets like the Gear VR to Sony’s PlayStation VR. But it’ll take a marketing push from Sony, which SuperData Research’s director of research Stephanie Llamas says is still missing. … If 2016 is the first big year of VR, perhaps 2017 will be the year where it takes root.”
So why is the PlayStation PS VR and Samsung GearVR selling at higher rates than their competitors? The reason is simple: most VR headsets, including the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, require a powerful desktop computer in order to support the graphics, space and speed required to deliver an immersive experience. Because purchasing an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive also means investing in a higher-end PC, sales have been slower.
On the flip-side, PS VR can be purchased as an add-on to the existing PlayStation 4 system, meaning that the 47.4 million PlayStation 4’s that Sony has reportedly shipped as of Q3 in 2016 will have PS VR available as an add-on. Similarly, the Samsung GearVR works with existing Android and Windows phones, meaning that anyone with a compatible smartphone can simply buy the headset and enjoy a VR experience.
That being said, the recent announcement from Oculus regarding Asynchronous Spacewarp technology, which will greatly reduce system hardware requirements, should help bring down VR costs in 2017 and increase the adoption of VR platforms like the Rift and Vive.
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