Dating apps, wearable tech, the “trough of disillusionment” and the UK’s world-leading internet economy were all on the agenda at the IoD’s Tech in 2016 event as Jimmy McLoughlin outlined what he thinks will the biggest hits in technology this year
The UK’s internet economy accounts for 12.4 per cent of the UK’s GDP, according to research by the Boston Consulting Group, but the IoD’s deputy head of policy, Jimmy McLoughlin, pointed out that half of all consumers think the pace of change and innovation are moving too fast. In such an environment, he claimed, it will be crucial to make sure that new technologies and businesses carry the public with them.
Part of the solution, McLoughlin argues, is giving more people a stake in the private sector. The UK already accounts for around three-quarters of Europe’s alternative finance sector and crowdfunding and peer-to-peer platforms have grown in popularity in recent years. McLoughlin believes getting more people to invest in start-ups and tech businesses around the country will not only help companies raise money in new ways, but make sure more people benefit from the wave of innovation he says is sweeping the country.
In a look ahead to what the next 12 months will hold, business leaders at the IoD’s 116 Pall Mall headquarters were also told about the ‘Gartner curve’, which tracks new technology through the difficult journey from creation to maturity. McLoughlin pointed out that wearable technology, much-hyped a few years ago, is a typical example of this process – being the subject of fevered speculation but, so far, failing to meet expectations.
The Internet of Things received a similarly pessimistic outlook from delegates at the Tech in 2016 event, who questioned whether households and small businesses would take to the idea of connected devices anytime soon.
McLoughlin also offered an honest assessment of predictions he made last year (available here). As expected, the sharing economy continued to grow, becoming more mainstream during 2015. Dating apps, however, were an unexpected hit, McLoughlin said, with apps like Match and Tinder revolutionising the industry and helping it shrug off the stigma which many may have associated with online relationships.