While individual technologies and products can come and go at a rapid pace, technology overall has trends you can follow, such as the rise of electric cars, the drone takeover or tablets replacing computers. Some of those trends can even be predicted.
Every year, Juniper Research looks into its crystal ball and tries to figure out the top 10 tech trends of the upcoming year. OK, it's a little more than complex than shaking a Magic 8 Ball, but it's still something of a guess. We're going to take a look at Juniper's predictions for 2016 and give you our take.
1. Reality turns virtual
You might have noticed that virtual reality has gotten a lot of press this year, from Facebook-owned VR-headset maker Oculus for $2 billion, to competing models from Samsung, the low-cost Google Cardboard and more.
Of course, until now those were prototypes and the real consumer versions are arriving this year. Juniper predicts that over the next five years we'll see an explosion of VR products and content. We've been in this same position of VR marketing hype in decades past, but this time we have the technology to actually make it work.
While the initial response to VR has been generally positive, most upcoming VR headsets have drawbacks. The $599 Oculus Rift requires an expensive heavy-duty PC to work, while Samsung and Oculus' more affordable Gear VR only works with high-end Samsung smartphones.
For a while then, VR is going to be a niche product. It will need to hang on until prices come down and the everyday tech user finds a use for it beyond gaming or novelty programs.