Earlier this month, the tech community gathered to hear the tech trends set to dominate the next 12 months at the GP Bullhound Research Roundtable, 2016. Covering key findings from the investment firm’s research report, the event provided an overview of the innovations poised to transform the industry. Always on the lookout for emerging technology topics, the GingerMay team was there to gather the most valuable insights:

Tech trends: the virtual reality revolution is coming

While virtual reality (VR) isn’t quite a standard must have item yet, the release of Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset, Sony’s Playstation VR, and HTC’s Vive/Stream VR marks a turning point. With greater public access comes the start of the VR revolution and the gaming industry is already leading the way by converting popular games and innovative VR experiences. The future will see the health, sports and education sectors follow suit but for this year we can expect film and TV to embrace the format first.

Tech trends: Lifestyle tech to jump up a gear

As mobile devices, big data and social media increase their influence over daily life, consumers are starting to manage more elements of their lifestyle with smart tech. As a result a myriad of products, apps and platforms are being launched to monitor activities such as exercise, sleep, diet and general health, and deliver real-time data to wearable devices. In the next 12 months, tracking applications will extend to include other lifestyle areas, as more big brands partner with tech firms to meet consumer demand for a digitally quantified self.

Tech trends: Alternative lending to shake up fintech

Advances in alternative lending – such as peer-to-peer platforms – are set to take fintech by storm. Uninhibited by restrictive regulations, these emerging technologies provide faster and easier access to funds for borrowers, while enabling lenders to make loans at their chosen level of risk. This improvement in the lending experience is driving an increase in fintech platforms across every vertical from student loans to mortgages, and will soon see more big banks join forces with alternative lenders and acquire progressive start-up businesses to stay ahead of the competition.

Tech trends: Enterprises will get more mobile  

Much like consumers, modern workers are digitally focused and want instant access to the information they need, wherever they are. Furthermore, Google estimates 80% of the global workforce is already performing physical or desk-less work every day. To meet this challenge, enterprises are exploring making business information easily available inside and outside the office – and that means mobile. In 2016, there will be a sharp rise in enterprise mobile app solutions such as Slack, an app that organises conversations within a team to drive more cohesive communication and boost productivity.

Tech trends: Shifts in the unicorn population

Coined in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee to describe the rare companies that achieve a $1 billion valuation, the term ‘unicorn’ is now a more frequent sight – especially as 90% of unicorns are tech companies. But this year the US unicorn population will diminish as a result of poor growth, high cash burns, and unachievable expectations. In contrast, European unicorns will do better than other global markets due to the high standards and discipline of their investors, which will soon start to be seen as an aspirational global benchmark.