We’ve curated some of the most interesting videos, infographics, news articles and posts from the tech world below. Are you positioned to grab the channel opportunities these trends are revealing? Read on to find out.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

April 7, 2016

5 Min Read
The VAR Guy's Top Trends of 2016

Now that we’re a quarter of the way into 2016, the year’s tech trends are beginning to solidify. Everywhere we turn, experts are placing bets on what’s going to be big for the rest of this year. We’ve curated some of the most interesting videos, infographics, news articles and posts from the tech world below. Are you positioned to grab the channel opportunities these trends are revealing? Read on to find out.

SXSW: The Perennial Trendsetter

Every December, we hear experts telling us what the big predictions are for the following year. But we never really believe them until we see them manifest at South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) in Austin each March.

Kevin Ready writes in Forbes that transportation technology was a big theme this year, including US Department of Transportation Secretary Foxx announcing the six finalists of the government's Smart Cities Challenge. He also noted the low number of consumer software startups, the debut of which is typically some of the biggest SXSWi news every year: Twitter debuted at South-By, and remember last year when everyone walked around Meerkatting? Robotics, VR and a plea from President Obama to consider allowing the government into devices rounded out Ready’s high points. 

Trends in Regulations

ITU released their annual Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2016 publication recently with the super-catchy theme of "Regulatory incentives to achieve digital opportunities." The trends discussed in this tome are dense but directly applicable to companies in the channel looking to build a future in the digital economy. Broadband, network sharing, mobile-to-mobile, cloud and the IoT are all examined from a regulatory standpoint. Don’t feel like flipping through the 172-page report? The two-minute video below gives a snazzy high-level overview.


Getting Vertical

Funnily enough, even the topics of trend analyses point to a trend. It isn’t enough to identify the Next Big Thing in overall tech anymore. In this age of specialization, we need to get industry-specific. VMware talks trends in retail. HCI devoted a week’s worth of coverage to tech trends in healthcare. Dave Romero writes about the top tech trends in learning and development.  The lesson for the channel? The tech we sell and service can settle nicely into just about any niche, from home entertainment to space exploration to marijuana cultivation. Canna-tech, anyone?

IIoT is the New aaS

Remember when tacking “as a service” on to the end of a word didn’t feel ridiculous, and it was just “software” that got that fun little “-aaS” qualifier? Yeah, it’s hazy in our memories, too. Well, brace yourself for the next round. As the Internet of Things moves quickly from a theoretical science fiction-like idea to reality, different applications have started to appropriate the acronym. In 2016, it’s all about IIoT, or the Industrial Internet of Things. David Bolton writes that the IIoT may one day eliminate points of failure through predictive analytics. Morgan Stanley and Automation World teamed up on a research project that showed the IIoT will keep the automation industry growing at a faster pace than global GDP. And the IIoT was one of four 2016 trends identified by Steve Phillips from Avnet in the video below. We’re just waiting for next year, when everything-IoT joins everything-aaS on our list of most hated acronyms.


Silicon Valley on One Coast…Wall Street on the Other?

A few years ago, some extremely lazy marketing people got tired of saying two full words and gave birth to “martech.” Within the last few weeks, that trend has moved into the financial sector. Fintech is the new buzzword everyone’s throwing around, referring to the rash of startups trying to innovate the closed ranks financial services sector. Ryan Falvey at TechCrunch says that heavy regulations make the banking industry too bulky to innovate as quickly as markets would like, leaving a $138 billion opportunity rotting in the ground. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the national bank regulator, is evaluating the first-ever charter request from a virtual-currency firm and will release a white paper detailing their views on fintech at some undefined point in the future. And the New York Times has devoted a lot of ink to the topic in recent days, talking about how the disappointing performance of much-talked about fintech IPOs like LendingClub are making investors wary, how robots are helping us be more ethical investors and how consumers are perfectly happy opening their wallets instead of their phones when they go to check out, thank you very much.

We’re About to Miss Talking about Unicorns

Everyone give a hearty round of thanks to Business Insider, who last week gave us a new tech investment world buzzword when they said the age of the “unicorn”—that is, private tech startups that reached a valuation of over $1 billion—is giving way to a new era with an unlikely mascot: the cockroach. Unlike unicorns, which are characterized by a focus on super-fast growth instead of profits, a cockroach startup builds profits slowly but steadily so that it has the revenue to weather a volatile marketplace. Mark our words. As tired as you got of hearing the word “unicorn,” you’re going to think of it with nostalgia by the end of this year when all anyone can talk about is…shudder…roaches.

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About the Author(s)

Kris Blackmon

Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions

Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.

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