As the year 2016 is winding down, Ericsson Consumer Lab has delivered their annual trend report, The 10 Consumer Trends for 2017 and beyond.
According to the report, it looks like AI is an important consumer focus, and consumers envision it providing much more than ever before – both socially and at work. Actually, 35 percent of advanced internet users would like to have an AI advisor at work, and one in four would prefer an AI as their manager. However, almost half of these workers worry about AI robots soon taking over people’s jobs.
Automated applications are being used more often by consumers, which is driving IoT adoption. Two in five people think that smartphones will adopt their habits and do activities for them automatically.
Looking at the report, over half of consumers already use emergency alarms, tracking or notifications on their smartphones. Of those users who believe their smartphones make them feel more safe, three in five claim to take more risks because they believe they can rely on their phones more.
The report goes on to show that car drivers may be rare in the future. One in four pedestrians believes it would be safer to cross streets if all cars were autonomous, and 65 percent of them would rather have an autonomous car over a normal one.
However, as these smart cars become a reality, car sickness issues may increase, and three in ten foresee needing pills to cure this car sickness. One in three also suggested motion sickness pills to use with virtual and augmented reality technology.
VR no different from real reality in a few years?
Continuing deeper into the report, about four out of five virtual reality users think that virtual reality will be indistinguishable from reality in three years. Half of these respondents have already voiced interest in gloves or shoes that allow interaction with virtual objects. Over half of people surveyed would enjoy using augmented reality glasses to illuminate dark surroundings and pinpoint dangers. More than one in three would prefer to edit out disturbing elements around them as well.
Discussing the rise of virtual reality, Michael Björn, Head of Research, Ericsson ConsumerLab, states, “Beyond real time, I believe we should be talking about reality time. In fact, what we call reality becomes ever more personal and subjective.
Consumers not only surround themselves with the like-minded on social networks, but also are also starting to customize the way they experience the world with augmented and virtual reality technologies. Consumers also want the future to remain fully mobile, implying that demand for battery-friendly, instant and fast connectivity is set to grow rapidly. In that sense, reality time means it is time for 5G networks.”
Still, the paradox of internet use persists
The report also states that people are readily transforming their social networks into silos. One in three surveyed explains that social networks are the main source of news. And more than one in four value their contacts’ opinions more than the viewpoints of politicians.
But, when it comes to privacy, people are divided. Two in five advanced internet users prefer to use encrypted services, but the others would just like to have decent privacy across all services. More than one out of three thinks that privacy no longer exists at all. And more than two out of five advanced internet users would choose to get all their products from the largest five IT companies. Of those, three in four believe this is a highly likely possibility in just five years.
These insights are based on Ericsson ConsumerLab’s global research studies for more than 20 years, along with data collected from an online survey of advanced internet users in 14 major cities around the globe, performed in October 2016. According to Ericsson, although the study only represents 27 million citizens, their early adopter profile makes them critical to understand when exploring future trends.