Using the Flux Trends T.R.E.N.D.S acronym, Flux presents six factors you should be looking out for this year. The main theme of the trends is 2016 – The Rise of the Machines. These trends explore how the world is evolving: from game-changing technologies to shifting social norms.
T – Technology
On demand assistance – your wish is their demand.
From food to education to learning how to use gadgets to getting home safely to beauty services and more, there’s an app for that. People who are inspired by dishes on their socials feeds rely on Talk to Chef for assistance with daunting recipes. Amateur chefs connect with professional chefs who respond to their questions via video chat.
Audvisor provides business advice for career-focused Generation Y in the form of three- minute audio clips from over a hundred experts, while Business Talent Group provides bosses on tap for companies that want to tackle a specific problem without adding another senior executive to the payroll.
Older generations can easily learn how to use new gadgets with Enjoy. The e-tailer sells the latest technologies and, also, delivers the products by experts who spend time showing clients how to use them. Companion allows users to reach out to friends, family and safety departments to keep an eye on them when travelling late at night. Task Monkey (the South African version of American Task Rabbit) pairs time scarce people with people who have time on their hands and are prepared to take on a variety of tasks for an agreed fee. The on-demand economy is getting up close and personal. A solution to any problem you might have is just a tap or swipe away.
R – Retail & Marketing
More cyber crime in store for retailers.
The failure of the retail sector to manage and secure the complex technology underlying their business is resulting in unprecedented cyber crime attacks. The magnetic stripe that passes though checkouts is where cyber criminals glean personal and financial data. Moving on from politics i.e. cyber jihad, banking and telecommunication, this new wave of cyber crime finds its way through patches in firewalls, USB drives and, a surprising weak link – inept suppliers’ passwords. Everyone with a security pass, a password or a vendor account is a weak point. When retail giant Target was attacked in 2014, the criminals are thought to have used the password of a vendor to access Target’s network. They then installed malware on the cashier stations to steal credit card details and send them to servers in Russia. It took Target two weeks to eradicate the malware. By then 40m credit card numbers had been stolen.
The most expensive types of e-crime for retailers are personal identification-related frauds, such as account takeovers, followed by card fraud, refund fraud and electronic “phishing” for private information. The theft of personal data, specifically card data, is the number one target as it can easily be monetised; unlike the theft of intellectual property.
E – Economy
Sharing economies create passive income streams for the cash strapped.
Napster, eBay and Craiglist were the pioneers of the sharing economy but companies like Uber and Airbnb have taken collaborative consumption to new heights. These innovative companies offer unique ways to passively generate extra income.
Airbnb was created by the CEO’s idea to help pay the rent, and the system has gone on to disrupt the travel and hospitality industries. Over the past few years at least 100 companies have sprouted up to offer owners an income stream out of dozens of types of physical assets, without needing to buy anything themselves.
However, there’s a new twist.
People are now starting to invest in new cars or property to feed into these ecosystems. For example, stories of people adding underutilised cars into the Uber pool Uber to turn their vehicles into an income stream rather than a financial liabilities are becoming more frequent. Similarly, investors are buying apartments to add into the Airbnb system, instead of opting for the traditional renting system.
The sharing economy is not only disrupting industries but creating clever passive income streams for both the cash strapped, as well as the entrepreneurs.
N – Natural World (eco trend)
Security estates for endangered species in South Africa.
Rhino poaching incidents in South Africa rose by 440% between 2008 and 2014. Poachers killed a record 1004 rhino across the country in 2013, the equivalent of almost three rhino a day. Time is fast running out for saving the rhino.
A new way of tackling the problem is urgently needed. The rhino protection zone is an effectual initiative from the Rhino Pride Foundation. The intention is to purchase 100 000ha of land early 2016, with the first phase of rhinos in place in the zone by the end of 2016. In discussion with rhino owners, it was learnt that there is a need for a safe zone where they can confidently leave their animals and pay a monthly fee for their protection and safety. This option works out to be more cost-effective than the anti-poaching security currently used on their farms. Keeping the animals safe protects the owners’ assets, which will, hopefully, increase in value over time. Initially, the secure zone will provide a safe haven for rhinos, expanding in time to include other endangered species. The founders of the Rhino Pride Foundation will acquire the animals and various breeding programmes will be established.
D – Diplomacy (politics)
Waves of militant student protest propel civil ripple effect.
The #feesmustfall protests were not merely a symptom of angry students: they were a sign of a much larger economic catastrophe. Waiting for change is no longer an option.
The bomb has been detonated and the effects are rippling throughout civil society in different ways. Protests have expanded from the townships to the suburbs. There’s even murmurings of a possible tax revolt; fuelled by mismanagement of taxpayers’ money, as well as the surprise axing of Nhlanhla Nene as Minister of Finance. The suburbs are gleaning courage and motivation from the students’ protests and are becoming aware of the power of a collective voice, as evidenced by the e-tolls disobedience campaign. The issue of outsourcing WITS campus workers was achieved in one week, versus laboured campaigning via political channels. The current South African Black Consciousness Movement is a considerably more militant youth who are activating significant change. Black youth are no longer referencing Mandela. They’re propelled by the more militant, anti-colonialism ideologies of struggle heroes like Robert Sobukwe, founder of the Pan Africanist Congress, and Steven Biko, a student leader who founded the Black Consciousness Movement. Militant or not, South Africans have reached a tipping point. The student protests have buoyed, inspired, and galvanised all citizens to take a firm stand and communicate that enough is enough.
S – Socio/cultural
Virtual becomes a certainty for augmented reality.
2016 will see the opening of VOID, a Virtual Entertainment Centre in America, exemplifying the next phase of augmented/virtual reality. VOID virtual reality theme park is the first of a global franchise of Virtual Entertainment Centres, which combines augmented reality, sensory technology, and wearable tech. Visitors will be immersed into a mind-blowing interactive gaming experience via virtual reality. The Void is the first company to seamlessly blend virtual reality experiences with real, physical environments.
Brands are cashing in on growing global curiosity by digitally transporting consumers to captivating destinations via virtual travel. Recently launched by Marriot Hotel, Virtual Reality postcards enables guests to order a Samsung Gear VR set and travel to Chile, Rwanda, and Beijing from the comfort of their hotel room. British Airways transported pedestrians in Europe via Oculus Rift. All users have to do it put on the device and virtually ride a bronco in Dallas, roller skate on a boardwalk in Los Angeles, or ice skate in Central Park. At the close of 2015 Samsung launched a dedicated web browser called “Samsung Internet for Gear VR”, specifically for VR enthusiasts, signaling a tipping point of VR as a new mainstream entertainment option.
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