2015 was a milestone year when it came to the evolving way in which technology has touched each and every part of our lives. We saw an explosion of agile start-ups that successfully leveraged open platforms, wearable technologies suggested new ways to interact with the world around us and the unique confluence of big data, intelligent analytics, mobile and the cloud created entirely new business realities.
That is the great thing about the industry we operate in. Nothing stands still. This makes predicting the future a very challenging exercise. Yet with 2015 now over, it is time to look ahead and to predict the technology trends that will have a significant impact on the financial and business world in 2016. Here is a selection of some of the changes I expect to see over the coming months:
- The need for answers you can trust
Answers are cheap and everybody has got one. But trusted answers, from trusted sources are a rare and precious commodity. Finding them on your own is harder than finding the proverbial needle in the proverbial haystack. A reality made more urgent, when entire industries are undergoing massive transformation. 2016 will see a greater need than ever before for factual integrity. Answers alone will no longer be good enough and organisations will depend on the most accurate and relevant information out there.
- Growth of big data as a service
With the cost of aggregating, storing and analysing data growing more expensive, organisations will look for new ways to get the insight they need. 2016 will see the growth of a new ‘big data as a service’ model, where external data can be pulled from experts, straight into enterprise systems. The longer-term view is one where external data is analysed alongside data from inside the business – unlocking new insights that create new value more quickly and cost-effectively than ‘build it yourself’ strategies have managed so far.
- Information of everything
For the second year running, the Internet of Things has been poised at the top of the Gartner Hype Cycle (on the ‘peak of inflated expectation’). Once widely deployed, it has the potential to be one of the most disruptive technologies in decades with 25 billion connected “things” expected to be in use by 2020 (according to Gartner). This all means we are on the verge of a plethora of data and this is just the beginning.
- The emergence of open platforms in finance
Though financial trading was one of the first business disciplines to embrace real-time data and digital technology back in the 1980s, those systems have evolved in a closed, proprietary way. It’s a state of affairs that is remarkably similar to the world of mobile telecoms in about 2006 – they called it the ‘walled garden’. When Apple, Google and other smartphone vendors opened up mobile devices to ecosystems of developers, consumers felt the benefits almost immediately. In 2016 we will start to see a growing ecosystem of in-house developers, software providers and institutional digitisation leaders emerge.
- A shift from competition to collaboration
As the industry moves towards open standards, we will see a shift in attitude from competition to collaboration. Established players and fintech start-ups will transition from arch rivals into partners working towards a greater good.
- The real start of the fintech mobile revolution
In 2015, wearables may have struggled to find their place in everyday life, but mobile technologies aren’t going away and 2016 will see new and exciting ways to harness their potential. Naturally, it is the financial services sector that stands to benefit more than most from digital evolution and from advances in mobile technology. This is an industry where the immediacy and availability of data is critical. New mobile advances are providing new platforms for this information to be delivered more easily to both internal users and also to customers.