Straight from Adobe Summit: Top Ten Predictions for the Future

We're back from Adobe Summit to share some of the exciting things we heard.

Adobe Summit 2016 wrapped up last week, and while most of it was firmly centered on the Adobe Marketing Cloud and being an experience-first business, there were moments when the sun broke through to give attendees glimpses into what’s next according to the Adobe Digital Index. Here are Tamara Gaffney’s, Principal Analyst and Director, Adobe Digital Index, and Ray Wang’s, Principal Analyst and Founder, Constellation Research, top ten predictions for the future:

1. Tablets Are Coming Back, But in the Form of Flexi Touch Screens

Engagement and conversion are suffering across devices, with desktop on a steady downward trend and mobile rising steadily. Within mobile devices, tablet use is flatlining, specifically with B2C tablet use on the decline while smartphone use soars globally. Look for fixed-screen size devices to go away, to be replaced by completely responsive devices with widescreen capabilities. Flexible glass technology and surface size-changing technology will eliminate the differentiation between smartphones and tablets.

2. Share of Smartphones Tilts Back to Android

iOS leads the share of global mobile OS visits with 55%, followed by Android’s 45%, but most of this is due to Apple’s higher share of pass-along use. Look for Android phones to experience a tailwind as Apple continues to go down-market in price (you can now lease an iPhone for $17 per month for 24 months) and Android continues to rise up in the market.

3. Biometric Authentication Overtakes Passwords by 2020

Steep mobile app drop-off continues with the average occurring just 45 days after app download. Verticals leading app use are Media, Finance, Shopping, Health and Travel, and those leveraging touch ID have much higher and more consistent rates of usage. Look for biometric authentication to completely replace passwords by 2020. Things like fingerprints, heartbeat and even selfies will take the friction out of the experience as simple multichannel authentication and “channel ubiquity” continue to be key drivers for mobile experiences.

4. Voice Rocks Our World

While Siri is the most commonly used voice recognition technology, it is not the heir apparent. Believe it or not, the most anticipated voice technology is Facebook M with 29%, while Amazon Echo is the most admired. Voice will emerge as the new technology battleground, with the winner TBD based on demographics and buying patterns. Look for voice and social to cross paths, with multi-device app usage and the emergence of an advertising play that is mission or value-driven for brands.

5. TVE (TV Everywhere) Growth Marches Forward

Viewers continue to switch over to digital video from live TV, with Gen Z (or iGen, as some affectionately refer to them) getting particularly addicted to TVE. Last year alone, there was an 81% growth in TVE viewing in the Teens & Toons category, followed by Broadcast & Cable, Sports, and Movies. Apple wins amongst SmartTVs with 10% share of authentication by device, while Roku grew steadily in Q4. Look for Roku to overtake Apple TV as it continues to release higher quality boxes, and the forthcoming emergence of Android OS TVs to further disrupt the market.

6. Gaming is Huge!

Content entertainment is changing—things like MOBAs (multi-player online battle arenas) and other examples of people watching videos of other people playing games are already surpassing traditional sports viewership, including the NFL, NHL and MLB. Gen Z continues to create and demand new content every day and will not stand for once-a-week episodes. Look for new gaming strategies and advertising opportunities to emerge as it continues to grow faster than video.

7. Content CONTEXT Will Be Your New Mantra

As contextually relevant content continues to become more and more expected among consumers, things like identity, time, location and weather will shape how brands are creating attraction through entertainment. Expect a convergence of mobile and TV operating systems to shift both engagement and consumption of content.

8. iOT Will Become Mission Critical

The “internet of things” will contribute to the expansion of channel ubiquity as content and context converge. Rollercoaster-like peaks and steep dives in usage will be an obstacle as iOT companies will be faced with reliability challenges, such as Nest did after an outage for its Dropcam product caused baby monitors around the country to fail. Look for increased demand from iOT and connected devices combined with internet providers losing other sources of revenue leading to rising internet costs, resulting in a consumer outcry and opening the path towards bandwidth as a public utility.

9. Virtual Reality to Impact B2B, Healthcare and Gaming First

Oculus took the lion’s share of Q3 VR buzz at 62%, followed by Hololens at 22% and Morpheus at 14%. Virtual reality will have its biggest immediate impact in B2B, Healthcare and Gaming before other verticals. Scenes and setting will take precedence over channels as contextual insights will transform experiences. Look for companies like Nerf to capitalize on the technology to create a new subset of VR-oriented products and sub-ecosystems and enter the market for field service industries, healthcare applications and gaming companies.

10. 2016 Will Be the Year of Identity

Despite consumers using 3+ devices daily, marketers only see an average of 1.2. Stitching together a cross-device view of the consumer will be one of the biggest challenges this year as companies continue to struggle to fulfill consumer expectations for personalized experiences. Identity will become a key enabler for frictionless transactions as commerce, payments and ID converge. Look for the battle for identity to heat up, with an emphasis on companies like Google, Apple, Adobe, Amazon, Intuit and Microsoft. Trading privacy for conveniences will become everyone’s challenge and marketers’ opportunity.