Women in Tech, millennials & VR visits the NFL.
We’ve barely even begun scratching the surface of 2016 and it is already shaping up to be a fascinating one for technology, according to Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2016 report.
According to the recently-published report, this year we will see many recent technologies hit their stride. Advances in the world of physical products and hardware begin to blend further with software and digital products.
It’s a pretty dense (though fascinating) read and is jam-packed with pertinent information regarding the current and future state of the technology, media and telecommunications sectors. If you're in IT or tech, this report will grip you from start to finish. But if you're a business decision-maker in any company, the report covers trends that will impact your company at some point this year.
Allow me to fill you in on some of the more fascinating and pertinent predictions for the coming year:
Women in Technology on the Decline?
Unfortunately, 2016 won’t be the year where we see the rise of the female IT specialists.
The numbers of women working in programming, IT and computer science have stagnated and will potentially even decrease by the end of 2016. This is due to a number of factors, which include disincentives for women to pursue careers in technology, maths and sciences, largely due to gender stereotyping which is still, sadly, very prominent in many areas.
However, it is important to note that there is greater diversity at one end of the programming spectrum than the other. Namely, that there are more women and a more diverse class of ethnicities working in areas such as web development, whereas roles like computer and network operators tend to be male-dominated.
The Deloitte report mentions that government incentives such as increasing the percentage of women working in IT jobs in the public sector, and having women present while interviewing female IT candidates, can go a long way towards helping hire, retain and promote those women to management and even senior level positions within both public and private organizations.
Additionally, the report notes that as tech companies begin to be more aware of their hiring and promotional policies, they take steps to employ, retain and promote women and minorities. When that happens, there are more programs and incentives to get women interested in coding and computer technology from an earlier age. A great local example is the Ladies Learning Code initiative, which hosts several sessions a year aimed at getting women and girls interested in coding.
Millennials Are ‘Pro-PC’
So much for that popular saying that millennials are all about being “glued to their phones” because, as it turns out, they are the most-PC of all age groups. This group prefers to use their personal computers and smartphones as complementary devices, not substitutes for one another. Surprising, right?
In fact, according to the report, the trailing millennials (14 to 25-year-olds) state that their laptop is their “most valued possession.” This means that, from a business and marketing standpoint, mobile advertising is still a massive juggernaut of an industry, but it is one which hasn’t (and may not) ever completely overtake the personal computer.
Instead, the report suggests using a two-pronged approach, and diversifying your marketing strategy to appeal to both computer screens and mobile phones. Even though social media and games are largely geared toward mobile platforms, the majority of people (millennials included) still prefer to do the majority of their screen time on a personal computer.
Virtual Reality Invades Even the NFL
Virtual reality (VR) will have its first billion-dollar year in 2016, according to the report. They estimate that 2.5 million VR headsets will be sold this year, with over 10 million VR games sold.
Deloitte says there will be two types of VR devices which will begin to grow in popularity this year: “full feature” and “mobile.”
“Full feature” are high-end VR gaming devices which connect to a user’s video game console or PC with an advanced graphics card (a standard graphics can’t handle the high refresh rate required for a decent, immersive VR experience).
Some examples of this kind of “full feature” hardware would be the Oculus Rift, or Valve’s HTC Vive. Deloitte predicts that there will be approximately 1-1.75 million “high-end” units sold in 2016, and that the majority of “full feature” VR users will already own the latest video game consoles, or have a high-powered PC which can handle the challenge.
“Mobile” VR is a totally different story. “Mobile” VR allows users to load virtual reality experiences onto their mobile phones, and to snap them into place in portable headsets designed for that purpose. Some examples are the less-than-stellar Google Cardboard, and the GearVR headsets.
However, don’t expect to see VR intruding on your television screen or in the movies in any real way just yet. While the potential for VR is huge, content is still rather scarce since it's just emerging into the market. Companies are still mixing, matching and experimenting with new ideas about how to use this technology. For some great examples, check out the New York Times VR experience, and the New England Patriots’ VR practice promotion.
Do you think these predictions will come true? What are your tech predictions for 2016?