With 2017 fast approaching, Ericsson ConsumerLab broke out its crystal ball for a forward look and pinpointed several technologies and trends it believes will be top-of-mind for consumers in the new year.
According to its “The 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2017 and Beyond” report, Ericsson ConsumerLabs pinpointed artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and virtual reality (VR) as three of the most thought-about technologies. The report was based on Ericsson ConsumerLab’s global research activities, including data points from an October online survey of advanced internet users in 14 major cities across the globe. Ericsson said while the study only represents 27 million people, the early adopter profile or respondents makes them important to understand when exploring future trends.
In the number one AI section, the report indicated 35 percent of advanced internet users would like an AI advisor at work, and one in four would like an AI as their manager. At the same time, though, nearly half of respondents said they were concerned that AI robots will soon make a lot of people lose their jobs.
Just a spot down at number two, the survey indicated consumers are becoming increasingly aware of and dependent on the IoT as automated applications encourage its adoption. Two out of five respondents said they believe smartphones will learn their habits and perform activities on their behalf automatically, the report said.
VR also ranked among the top five trends in the report as nearly four out of five virtual reality users said they believe VR will be indistinguishable from reality in only three years. Ericsson noted 50 percent of respondents are already interested in gloves or shoes that allow you to interact with virtual objects.
Ericsson is likely on to something here. A recent report from NPD Group revealed U.S. dollar sales of VR/AR devices has increased around 300 percent in the six months ending October 2016 vs. the six months prior. And on Wednesday, Google, HTC VIVE, Facebook’s Oculus, Samsung, and Sony Interactive Entertainment tackled the issue of standardization when they joined together to form a non-profit organization that will “develop and share best practices, conduct research, and bring the international VR community together as the technology progresses.”
There’s more on what the rise of VR and similar technologies like augmented reality will look like here, but as Ericsson ConsumerLab’s head of research Michael Björn noted, much will depend on mobile networks keeping up with the technology.
“Beyond real time, I believe we should be talking about reality time. In fact, what we call reality becomes ever more personal and subjective,” Björn said. “Consumers also want the future to remain fully mobile, implying that demand for battery-friendly, instant and fast connectivity is set to grow rapidly. In that sense, reality time means it is time for 5G networks.”
One other interesting tidbit from the report?
Ericsson ConsumerLab noted what it called “The Smart Device Safety Paradox.” That is, more than half of respondents indicated they already use emergency alarms, tracking, or notifications on their smartphones, but among those who said their smartphone made them feel safer, three in five said they take more risks because they rely on their phone.