How will you know where to take your business in 2016 if you don’t know where you came from? The business trends of 2015 will continue to shape every aspect of business in 2016 and beyond. So if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon with these trends, the new year is definitely the time to do so.
2015’s top trend comes to us via good, ol’ teamwork: it’s just been rebranded for the 21st century. For many industry-leading companies, collaboration is driving every aspect of business—work environments (see Facebook’s new HQ), smarter communication (the zero to 60 in no time flat startup that is Slack), and even how companies organize their departments (Marc Lore’s Jet has teams named after superheroes).
As companies continue to become more connected through other trends like the IoT and the Cloud, we’re only going to see this trend increase into the future.
Don’t worry, robots aren’t going to take over the world—yet. Engineers are making great strides in robotics. From machines that can decorate a cake to robots that are building some of the world’s most recognizable and technological advanced cars, robots are only going to become more and more a part of our lives.
Just like automation, which is thriving on the manufacturing floor, and drones, which could have done incredible things this year if not for the lag in governmental regulations holding up progress in this field.
Thanks to the Internet of Things now even your light bulbs can talk to you. A huge trend at CES 2015 was connected appliances ranging from your washer and dryer to your refrigerator. For businesses, the IoT is helping drive more efficient, real-time operations and new opportunities.
On the manufacturing floor and out in the field, it’s allowing machines to communicate potential issues and errors before they become a real problem.
Need a part for your manufacturing floor machine? Print it. What about a customized arm for an amputee? Print it! 3D printing is continuing to offer new and innovative ways to improve both business and life.
Customization at this level is allowing companies to build products to their clients exact specifications, while hospitals are learning the extent of 3D printing’s capabilities through treatments like building tailored ribcages for patients in need.
Big Data, the Cloud, and analytics, oh my!
These are trends that have been around for a few years now, and are proving they aren’t going to just fade into obscurity at some point.
Big data and analytics are giving companies a leg up over competitors who are refusing to adopt to the technologies. The Cloud is giving everyone new and innovative ways to work because programs, documents, images—anything to do with working on a computer—can be accessed from any device as long as it’s on the Cloud.
Veruca Salt is infamous for her song “I Want It Now” in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. And for better or worse, we’ve all turned into a bunch of Verucas. For most, this just means getting a bit miffed when your Amazon package doesn’t show up on the exact date it’s said to, or that we all hate commercials now because of streaming services like Netflix.
To keep the Verucas happy, businesses have to retool their supply chains and warehousing protocols, and manufacturers need to make plans for customizable, instantly deliverable goods in the future.
Most of us have had a bad boss at some point in our career, but this is, thankfully, no longer the going trend. Benevolent leadership is catching on in economies like Australia’s, but the U.S. still is a ways away from the trend. Benevolent leaders love people, love working with people, and create a safe, pleasant atmosphere for their employees.
They’re also focused on solving problems in a way that not only works for the company and the customer, but for the community and the environment as well.
The Device Mesh
The Cloud is a big contributor to this trend, which is allowing employees to work on seemingly any device from anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection.
While this can be a nightmare for IT departments who are not or haven’t been prepared for the trend, it’s allowing companies to allow both more collaboration within the office and independence outside the office when employees have the opportunity to work from home or abroad.
It seems silly, but many people just came around to the idea that this is the only planet we have to live on. This is good news for us, as we may be the last generation that can turn around the terrible things that have been done to Mother Nature.
Luckily, it seems like every company I had the opportunity to interview had a sustainability plan in place, including the heavy industries like mining.
Virtual reality isn’t just for future video games anymore. Imagine it being used for rehab programs for PTSD sufferers, or to immerse people into situations so they can make a more informed decision.
Even better for business, imagine the possibilities of your customers being able to try on clothes virtually, or going through a training program from the comfort of your own office. It’s all possible now.