Editor's Picks

Live Streaming, Gaming Apps And Chat Bots - Here Are 6 Trends We're Excited For In 2017!

As we enter into the new year, it seems only natural that we share all the Singapore technology trend in 2017 what we’re excited about, and what we foresee happening in the digital space this year.

Here are our top 6 picks!

1. The Rise Of Chat Bots

Chat bots have been made popular especially since June 2016 – when Facebook launched them in Messenger.

Over the past few months, developers have been experimenting with various chat bot use cases, and according to Facebook, while the early chat bot attempts by developers have been “really bad“, the quality of chat bots have generally improved over time.

According to David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products, the best use cases include driving people toward subscriptions, facilitating small transactions, and customer service.

Here’s an example of how airline KLM uses a chat bot to communicate with their customers, where the app recognises the customer details and then provides them with what they need:

KLM Chat Bot. Source: Digital Strategy Consulting
Source: Digital Strategy Consulting

This year, we definitely expect companies in Singapore to come out with smart use cases for Chat Bots and integrate them into their product offerings. We also expect a rise of companies offering professional services around Chat Bots, and will share them here on Vulcan Post as we discover them.

2. Mega Apps

One of the fastest growing regions in the world now is China – and if you have been following its development closely, the dominant platform now is undeniably WeChat.

WeChat introduced the idea of “apps in apps” or “instant app”, and is literally the “one app to rule them all” in China.

Its concept is very interesting, because with it, you can perform everything beyond just chatting with your contacts – from product purchases to payment, to joining interest clubs (WeChat has a fitness tracking feature called WeRun), to booking a cab and making restaurant reservations, there’s a high possibility of relying on the app for most everyday processes!

Here’s an example of WeChat in action:

WeChat content can be linked to a full fledged e-commerce system.

If you are interested in finding out more, here are 10 WeChat travel industry case studies where companies integrating their business with WeChat’s platform – very fascinating.

And who knows, we might just see a mega app in Singapore to rule them all this year.

3. Breakout Gaming Apps

The third thing we’re excited about this year is in the mobile gaming space.

We’re expecting at least 2 or 3 mega breakout gaming apps this year. While we have no clue on what would pop up, we expect more gaming developers to take the cue from Pokemon GO’s brilliant use of augmented reality to create a real world interactive gaming experience. Pokemon GO was (still is) a game that transcends age, gender and race, and sets very high standards in the gaming community.

Pokemon GO took Singapore by storm last year

We have yet to see a huge breakout gaming app from Singapore – and hopefully, 2017 is the year we will see one that will fly our Singapore flag high and proud in the global gaming arena.

After all, there’s a dedicated area by the government called Pixel Studios dedicated to catalyse the creation of valuable gaming apps in Singapore.

4. Smart Companies Taking Up Dead Retail Space

One of the biggest trends we’ve documented in 2016 on Vulcan Post is that retail vacancy is at its highest in decades.

With recession (Singapore only reported an overall economic growth of 1% in 2016, and projects a growth of 1% this year) looming, as well as competition from e-commerce, it’s no wonder that retailers are unable to make ends meet, and some are even forced to move out from their physical locations.

Singapore malls hit an all-time high in vacancies in 2016

Of course, not all is doom and gloom though – we’re expecting resourceful and entrepreneurial individuals to negotiate contracts and/or deals with shopping mall operators which would be flexible and thus beneficial to the former.

We expect smarter usage of spaces, with digital companies taking up physical locations around in Singapore as an extension of their business.

Take Naiise for example. Originally a design centric e-commerce company, it has now expanded to 6 physical locations around in Singapore. Or take co-working space operator Spacemob for example, which raised almost S$8 Million in funding last year.

Both Naiise and Spacemob are examples of smart innovators taking advantage of retail space in Singapore, and bringing the arrangement’s benefits to both space owners and consumers alike.

5. Live Streaming

Facebook Live

Another space that we (ok, maybe just me) are personally very excited about is the live streaming space.

At this moment, I think that we are still barely scratching the surface of the possibilities of live streaming. Live streaming is something different from usual platforms, and allows brands and personalities to appear more authentic and spontaneous. It also helps garner immediate interaction with the public – something which brands are all severely lacking nowadays, as they seem to chase quantity over quality.

Example of a live streaming app

Another thing about live streaming is that it is completely powered by millennials, given how they often have FOMO (fear of missing out), and want to always be in-the-know of the latest trends and happenings. Where stock images and highly-edited content flood our social feed, live streamed content also offers experiences that are more ‘honest’.

Live streaming has already exploded in China, but we have yet to see mainstream adoption in Singapore – but that’s something we’re expecting to change dramatically this year.

6. Government Becoming Increasingly Digitised

The last thing that we are excited about this year is that Singapore is becoming increasingly digitised.

Taking the lead for digitising Singapore is GovTech, which sits under the newly-formed stat board IMDA. As the agency responsible for most of the digital applications used by the different government bodies, they are helping government services to move online and become mobile-friendly, all in the name of convenience for the average Singaporean.

They also constantly monitor data from these e-Government services and get user feedback so as to keep improving what’s offered.

Image Credit: IDA Hive
Image Credit: IDA Hive

Some other things that you should know about GovTech, thanks to our friends from Tech In Asia:

  • They’re run like a startup, with plenty of open spaces and standing desks.
  • They built Singapore’s Business Grants Portal, which consolidates various government business grants into one website, on Ruby on Rails.
  • Data.gov.sg, a repository of public government data, is hosted on Amazon Web Services.
  • They have a Medium blog to document their processes.
  • Experimentation is highly encouraged within the team.

Sounds exactly like a startup, doesn’t it?

So there you have it, 6 main trends that we are excited to witness in 2017. Did we miss out any developments? Do let us know in the comments below!