Consumers expect brands to be savvy with the latest innovations, which means it’s important for you to have an eye on the tech trends that could boost (or bother) your business.

Here are the tech trends marketers should gear up for in 2016 ranked by the amount of potential they might have for most brands:

Live Streaming

Periscope and Meerkat kicked off the livestream trend in 2015, especially in the gaming world. To visualize how big this trend is, just look at the numbers: Amazon bought the live-stream platform Twitch for $1 billion, Twitter acquired Periscope for about $100 million, and live social network YouNow raised $15 million, all in 2015 (TechCrunch)!

Level of potential: 12/10

Get with the program and find a way to implement this into your marketing strategy today! From live streaming an event for customers who can’t attend to video chat sessions or behind-the-scenes tours, the possibilities are endless.

Wearables

The tiniest screens have triggered a tremendous change in the way people use technology to complete daily tasks. We can now communicate, get directions, track our fitness, learn a language, and even control our home from an accessory on our wrists. And today’s wearables are just the start of things to come. Check out the new Apple Watch just for kids!

Level of potential: 10/10

At CES this year, there were nearly 3x the number of wearable exhibitors compared to 2015 (Cnet). It’s time to think about how your marketing campaigns will appear and what opportunities you’ll have to reach your customers on a 2-inch space or smaller!

Phablets

If you’re not a fan of tiny screens, you probably have a phablet sticking out of your back pocket. This is yet another piece of technology dramatically shifting user behaviour from desktop to mobile, as we rely on smartphones during hundreds of micro-moments throughout the day.

Level of potential: 10/10

Like them or not, phablets are here to stay. If Apple has hopped on the bandwagon with its 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, you know it’s a big deal. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for your website to be mobile-optimized, and now you have to keep the same strategic mind frame for everything mobile – from advertising to content – because, contrary to popular belief, it’s different than desktop!

Internet of Things (IoT)

In 2016, we’re predicting that way more “things” are going to be connected to the Internet – coffee makers, lamps, wearable devices, and entire city infrastructures! Anything that can be connected, will be, and this is just the beginning of a journey to a complete IoT takeover.

Level of potential: 8/10

You might not be able to market all products or services on a refrigerator, but try to think of the impact these connected devices are having on your customers? Could your product be the “thing” that’s connected? Or maybe your service be improved through connected devices? Where will your ads appear as this imminent shift takes place?

Virtual reality (VR)

We’re beyond excited for the future of virtual reality, and we think you should be too. More budget-friendly VR devices, like Google Cardboard, are being released every month so that customers can immerse themselves into alternate realities.

Level of potential: 7/10

It’s been around for a while, but we believe 2016 is going to be the year VR takes off for consumers, with more tech being developed to amplify the amount of user-generated VR content. So watch out for your biggest competitors as they take the leap because it may affect your brand.

Drones

Last year Amazon shocked the world with their announcement of their delivery drone service Prime Air. It was only a matter of time before other models of drones were introduced, and currently there’s everything from the tiny and inconspicuous nano drone, to the recently launched self-driving quadcopter (which can carry an actual human!)

Level of potential: 5/10

Drones are definitely cool, but they have a ways to go to get past air space regulations and some other technicalities. We’ve heard of flying drone successes in mapping the Canadian landscape, pizza and burrito companies delivering their goods and medical aid missions in other parts of the world. They may or may not make headway in 2016, but it’s time to start planning for the impact they can have on your business.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

We’ve enjoyed getting to know and find ways to benefit from having virtual assistants on our smart devices. Voice recognition software can now pull information from deep within mobile apps to create more tailored recommendations. On the other side of the spectrum, we have robot friends like Pepper Robot that can detect human emotions and actually interact with you like a person.

Level of potential: 6/10

Siri and similar virtual assistants rely on search results, not ads, and some of their own algorithms. This places more importance on optimizing your site for smartphones, search engines and local listings. If you haven’t already incorporated these important factors in your digital strategy, user-reliance on virtual assistants is just another reason to do so immediately.

Whether it’s emerging technology or the evolution of these tech developments into something bigger, at the end of 2016 all of this will lead to one thing: a much smarter future.So, how can these tech trends impact the strategies you use to engage with your customers in the next year (or five)? Not sure? Let’s chat!

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