I’ll end this series with a fun topic – New technology, and how it impacts marketing.

Virtual reality makes a comeback – With the release of the Oculus Rift (right) https://www.oculus.com/en-us/ in Q1 of 2016, look for virtual reality to become a consumer good within reach. Facebook bought this company in July 2014 for $2B, and Microsoft is developing software alongside it. Virtual reality will most likely first gain steam as a training mechanism with military applications, but its potential for media consumption is also a big draw looking forward. Lytro is another company enabling sophisticated virtual reality landscapes to be possible: http://mashable.com/2015/11/05/lytro-immerge. The ability to capture full-360-degree field of view will take modern virtual reality applications far beyond the pop-culture perception of Tron or Total Recall.

Although this isn’t a hot-button item for immediate notice, this is an entirely new platform that marketers want to be aware of, as there is little doubt social media and advertising will eventually be integrated into gaming consoles or into sports or movie experiences.

Realistically, look for 3D printing to become mainstream in 2016. The technology has been around for several years, and with the combination of decreasing prices and increasing machinery sophistication, this technology can be in the hands of virtually anybody. Whether the end user wants to “Print” a chess piece or a prosthetic limb, the applications are virtually limitless. Additionally new “printing” materials (fiberglass, metal, etc.) will make 3D printing a force to be reckoned with for specialty retailers.

Also look for more self-driving consumer cars! Hydrogen-fueled cars!  Drones delivering your groceries! Robots on hoverboards! The future is bright, and filled with exciting new technology!