Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byer’s Mary Meeker unveiled her well anticipated 2016 Internet Trends report. Below are some topics from her deck of slides that are worth discussing.

Slowing global Internet growth 

Since most people in developed countries are online already, the amount of global Internet user growth has slowed down. Trying to obtain Internet users in under developed countries is extremely difficult mainly due to the high cost of computers, smartphones and the connection itself. In the report, it shows how countries fall into one of 5 groups based on certain barriers they face to Internet adoption.

Group 1: High barriers including rural areas with low ability to read
Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania – Offline population= 548 million

Group 2: Medium to high barriers including incentives, mixed demographics and infrastructure
Egypt, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand – Offline population= 1,438 million

Group 3: Medium barriers with greatest challenge in incentives, rural areas and a literate offline population
China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam – Offline population= 753 million

Group 4: Medium barriers with greatest challenge being low income urban areas
Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey  – Offline population= 244 million

Group 5: Low Barriers with a highly literate but low online population
Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, USA – Offline population= 147 million

Images are the future

In about 5 years, it is predicted that image search will take over text search. This comes as a direct result of the increase of creative expressions through images. In Meeker’s report, she states how Generation Z (people aged 1 to 20) will be known for their use of images. Along with images, video is also becoming increasingly popular with Snapchat and Instagram being the leading social media platforms among millennials.

Listen to the voice

‘Voice’ is positioned  to be the most efficient form of computing input. Meeker states how humans can speak 150 words per minute but can type only 40 words per minute. While right now voice recognition software may seem aggravating, the report predicts that once the technology can pick up 99% accuracy then it will become widely used.  Andrew NG, Chief Scientist at BAIDU said:

“As speech recognition accuracy goes from say 95% to 99%, all of us in the room will go from barely using it today to using it all the time. Most people underestimate the difference between 95% AND 99% accuracy – 99% is a game changer. No one wants to wait 10 seconds for a response. Accuracy followed by latency, are the two key metrics for a production speech system.”

Messaging apps will take over 

Messaging Apps may soon take over home screens. Meeker believes that messaging apps will shift from simple social interactions to more expressive over time. She also reported that messaging apps will feature more business-related interactions. Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, have a huge user base and only seem to growing.

Advertising efficiency

Advertising today is being shaped by the evolution of technology. A new trend that is popular right now is geo-location filters on Snapchat. Companies can create their own filter and anyone who is in that geographic location will be able to use that filter. Google has proven effective with their advertising pulling in $75 billion in revenue in 2015. However, online advertising seems to have a long way to go according to Meeker. She mentions that video advertisement should be more effective than it is, stating that being authentic, relatable, useful and non-intererptive with ads could increase ROI on video advertisements.

Currently, video is switching over to real-time, for example Facebook Live and Periscope, whereas before we had semi-live videos, such as Snapchat or Instagram. Combining the latest technologies with being relatable and authentic is a recipe for success. One example that Meeker uses is Candance Payne’s video of her in a Chewbacca Mask on Facebook Live. The video was uploaded by Candance’s Facebook page as a live video and it showed her trying on a talking Chewbacca mask. The store Kohl’s was mentioned 2 times in the video and became the leading app in the USA App store along with an increase in demand for the Chewbacca mask that was worn in the video.

Meeker’s report is a great insight into the future of technology. Technology is a fast moving science and trend reports like these help us see the bigger picture on what is happening the world of technology. Check out the full report here.


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