Interbrand, a New York-based brand consultancy, and Ready Set Rocket, a New York City-based digital marketing agency, announced seven technology trends that forward-looking brands can take advantage of in 2016.

“Technology's tremendous evolution provides us with a unique opportunity to re-imagine the traditional work/life/family/leisure structures of our lives. Instead of trying to expertly juggle the pieces, more people are choosing to edit out the nonessential and design their environments and schedules to better support the pursuit of their passions,” says Aaron Harvey, partner and executive creative director of Ready Set Rocket. “For brands that take the time to empathize deeply with their customers' priorities, this cultural shift presents a considerable opportunity to use technology that powers products and services that align with this lifestyle.”

The trends that embody this theme are as follows:

1.       Hybrid living reaches mainstream America. Inspired by the analog and the natural, new devices will deliver the intelligence and connectivity we crave, but in familiar form factors, allowing us to create smart spaces that remain calming, comfortable and distinctly human.

2.       Sixth sense. Smart products that learn our needs and make timely suggestions when we actually need them can give us what we crave most—the freedom to focus on the things that truly matter.

3.       Elastic technology. The ability to access data and communicate will soon extend beyond devices into a powerful layer of data that binds everything together. Brands that plan beyond concepts of mobile, tablet and wearable to envision this seamless future will encounter their customers anywhere and at any time.

4.       Little big brands. Big brands are hungry to think like startups, while startups are hungry to grow their teams and budgets as big as the big brands. As innovation is polarizing industries, there is a huge opportunity for both little and large partnerships to thrive by embarking on experimental projects to create a memorable branded story.

5.       The new tribalism. Driven by the need for connection and authenticity, people are clustering around share values, resulting in a cultural landscape where demographics matter far less than affinity. Mobile’s rise to dominance will only enhance this trend, and understanding the internal dynamics of these groups will be key to turning brand stories into movements.

6.       Complete customization. Consumers wanting to have their unique voices heard has led to feats of digital customization and personalization. Imaging and manufacturing technology will take things to a new level, giving users control of aesthetics, features and core product functionality.

7.       The privacy exchange. Consumers are more aware of their information's value and prefer to be compensated for it. Smart brands that recognize this and provide real value in exchange for customers’ information can build invaluable trust and loyalty. This trend will create an informal marketplace where consumers share data with corporations.