The new face of IT in 2016

Canon's Fast Business exclusively investigates what future trends will impact technology in 2016.

Everyone knows that technology does not stand still. So how will it evolve in 2016?

The Internet of Things, digital business and the cloud dominated the technology cycle in 2015.

While these technologies will remain incredibly important, here are five future trends that will change our world in 2016.

Payment without end

While renting software has long been an option for enterprises, subscriptions are becoming increasingly popular with consumers and small businesses.

By offering a free upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft has managed to move a significant proportion of its customer base on to a subscription base, which means a recurring revenue stream. This move follows on from its success in persuading consumers and small businesses to sign up to the Microsoft Office 365 suite – up three million to 15.2 million in the June quarter.

Adobe has gone a step further. Its almost ubiquitous suite of creativity tools is now only available on a subscription service known as Creative Cloud. As more people see the logic of renting their software, this trend will gather force in 2016.

Cheap and cheerful smartphones

While Apple enjoyed a record profit result on the back of runaway iPhone 6 sales, some pundits are predicting the beginning of the end of the premium smartphone.

The argument goes that smartphones have essentially become commodity hardware. So why would people pay $1000 for a high-end smartphone when they can get one that does most of what they’d want it to do for less than $300?

Some people will always want the exclusive, hard-to-get technology. Nevertheless, 2016 could well be the year that smartphone prices fall rapidly as people opt for budget ‘good enough’ smartphones instead of the high-end models.


Australia has some of the least restrictive unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) laws in the world, and we are taking advantage of this environment. Surveyors use drones for detailed contour mapping, mining companies monitor material stockpiles and real estate agents produce video virtual tours of luxury houses.

As drones become increasingly capable and affordable, this billion-dollar market is expected to take off, especially as action camera behemoth GoPro has announced it will launch its own quadcopter in the first quarter of 2016.

With an established distribution network already, the new market entrant’s competitors will have to hurry to make drones cheaper, more capable and more prevalent in 2016.

Robots and automation

Google may be getting the media attention with its driverless cars, but mining giant Rio Tinto has been quietly developing, testing and deploying driverless haul trucks at its mine sites since 2008.

Earlier this year, it announced it had completed the rollout of driverless trucks at two of its iron ore mines in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Completely autonomous, albeit monitored via GPS from a control centre in Perth, these vehicles represent a growing percentage of its fleet, and more are expected to follow.

While Rio’s plan to deploy driverless trains is currently on the backburner, the company has blazed the trail, and the automation of mining sites is a trend that will only gather force in 2016 as more companies and industries seek to adopt the technology.

3D printing materials

While 3D printing is no longer new, the technique is developing beyond the original plastic in leaps and bounds.

Materials such as nickel alloys, carbon fibre, glass, conductive ink, electronics, pharmaceuticals and biological materials – some of which were pioneered in Australia – will become widely available for 3D printing purposes in 2016.

This advance will disrupt existing supply chains and manufacturing processes as aerospace, medical, automotive, energy and the world’s militaries take advantage of the opportunities additive manufacturing offers.

For more future trends and insight from Canon, download the 2020: The future of ICT white paper.

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