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The 10 tech trends that will shape our future

Posted on 22/04/2016, by Stuart Sheppard

We’re pretty proud of the technology we’ve built here at Octopus Choice.

Led by our CTO, the mighty Morgan Sowden, our small team of developers has turned an idea into a fully-functioning reality in the space of four months.

An experienced digital entrepreneur and technologist, Morgan knows a thing or two about the way the world’s headed. We asked him to pick out the five tech trends that he thinks will shape the future.

His response? ‘I couldn’t think of just five’. Here’s his 10…

1. Power is being redistributed to new middle men. Airbnb is just another middle man, as the size of their network grows, so does their stronghold on fees and charges.

2. Professionalization of marketplaces. “Commercial Hosts” on Airbnb, who list and manage multiple properties are an increasing proportion of the available properties (in some cites, as much as 40% of all of them). The consequence is that long-term rentals are being removed from the marketplace in favor of short-term Airbnb rentals that generate more revenue for the commercial operator.

3. The rise of the ‘gig economy’. Take “Digital Mums”, a service that connects stay-at-home parents with companies that need simple tasks done (such as updating a Twitter feed).

4. Shift from employment stability to uncertainty. Permanent staff are being replaced by on-demand contractors (Uber is an example, but this is happening in most industries). Commercial Airbnb operators will use on-demand cleaning staff to service their properties. The gig-economy workforce is one gig away from not being able to pay rent.

5. Rich communication is free and unlimited (Skype, Viber, Snapchat, etc), making distance irrelevant. Workforces can be distributed globally with little impact to productivity. Wordpress.org is the embodiment of this, with developers in 90 countries. Free and unlimited communication is also creating global “niche” trends, be they cat video memes, or jihadist ideology, that people can converge on.

6. Always assume a global audience from day 1. iOS 9 reached 90% adoption rate globally within seven days of launch on hundreds of millions of devices. This same speed of distribution is happening for ideas too, be they positive ideas (ALS Challenge), frivolous (Kim Kardashian) or dangerous (Islamic State). Millennials globally will all see the same movies (Netflix now has subscribers in 130 countries), the same music (Gangnam style would not have happened without YouTube).  US blockbuster movies generate 70% of their revenue from overseas (China is their second largest market).

7. Millennials are always online. All of them. Everywhere. The first thing every migrant purchased when entering Austria from Hungary or Serbia was a SIM card with pre-paid data.

8. Most internet is now consumed on mobile devices, not on desktops.

9. The trend is away from permanence to the ephemeral. Forever lasting Facebook posts may be loved by digital grannies and silver surfers, but teenagers prefer the disappearing Snapchat. EU citizens have "the right to be forgotten” and community boards are back to being anonymous (or full of spam).

10. Everybody loves encryption. Within months of the Snowden revelations, big companies were going out of their way to encrypt everything and prove it to the consumer. WhatsApp purchased Signal (the maker of an end-end encrypted chat app) and has now incorporated the same technology into WhatsApp. Viber, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger now all have end-end encryption.