The most innovative industries for 2016
It’s not a big secret that during the last decade the way we perceive innovation has constantly been subject to change. In our minds, it transformed from a simple life-facilitator to a true art of painting societal life in bright colors, unique styles, and from unprecedented perspectives. So who are those da Vincis, Raphaels, van Goghs, Dalis, and Picassos, and eventually who will be the new Andy Warhols and Jeff Koons?
According to Business Insider, more than 1.2 million patents filed across 12 industries in 2014. For example, 30% were in the information technology industry, a far greater chunk than any other industry. Another 13% were related to telecommunications and 12% were automotive. A significant jump was also noted in the pharmaceutical industry and medical device development. In 2015, these numbers all grew by 8-12%. Additionally, we saw new sectors pumping up: medical devices and home appliances.
In 2016, these industry sectors will matter a lot, with some seeing tremendous growth and others not so much. There will surely be one major dislocation, however: an extensive use of new emerging technologies that are cognitive- and augmented reality-based. According to Bloomberg, the impact of these leads will be essential, since they aim to increase productivity (as Google Glass did for DHL), give additional facets to the activity of businesses (like the augmented reality application for IKEA customers) and governments, and of course create new revenue streams.
As for the zones that will be most likely of interest for investors, venture capitalist Tomasz Tunguz pinpoints four major startup sectors that will see a “disproportionate share of investment dollars”: big data, education, two-sided marketplaces and security.
The first, having been in the seed investment priority list for the past few years, in 2016 will meet also an exponentially growing interest of Series A investors worldwide. Educational innovation, though, will be appealing regionally. The astronomical growth rate and size of two-sided marketplace businesses, with their Uber and Airbnb examples, will see investors pursuing novel sectors. Robotics and drones in turn will not only push their further development, but leverage even more security concerns, thus resulting in the creation of new defense technologies.
Juicing up the exposure, the biggest technology surprise of the current year will be all sorts of advanced wearables. Ranging from smart clothing, through wearable devices in the office, to healthcare garments and fitness trackers, those innovation accelerators will really take hold in 2016. They will function as your personal body computer, collecting accurate information whenever you walk, sleep, work or train, depicting your body position and even your emotional state.
To understand public perception of advanced wearables in 2014, look at the infographic below.
In 2016, healthcare wearables, for instance, will be equipped with better hardware components to speed up computing and analytics, and simplify the communication between doctor and patient. Allen May, founder of Life Science Angels: “Digital health and mobile will even see 100 percent plus growth as the system continues to experiment on how to use this technology to lower health care costs, promote behavior change and improve patient compliance.”
Some small insights into this digital transformation we even had in 2015, with Apple launching its first collaboration with luxury fashion house Hermès. That represented not only a visionary step for Steve Jobs’s baby, but also a true mindset revolution for the Hermès brand that for centuries was quite technology-reticent. Yes, we have seen the emergence of innovations in the fashion sector before, and Stradivari-Louis Vuitton garments are more than just a good example of it. Now, high tech and haut de couture, this is something very new, and in 2016, this trend of smart clothing will be definitely the hottest one.