Ronald ?Rambo? Kim Explains BenQ?s ESports Game

BenQ, which is best known for PC gaming monitors, has expanded its eSports focus by acquiring Zowie Gear. Beginning at CES 2016, BenQ will showcase its new line of gaming monitors alongside Zowie Gear s 2015 line-up of keyboards, gaming mice, and mouse pads. BenQ is using the Zowie brand across all of its eSports products, and the company will be marketing that brand through eSports sponsorships and other avenues.

Former Counter-Strike pro gamer Ronald Rambo Kim, product marketing communications coordinator for eSports at BenQ, explains what this move means for eSports in this exclusive interview.

How did the relationship with Zowie come about

We ve worked with Zowie since 2010. They helped us design our gaming monitor. They re based near our headquarters in Taiwan. We re bringing all their gaming peripherals into our product line. At CES 2016, we ll have five or six different Zowie mouses, keyboards, and mouse pads from their 2015 line. Even though they re from 2015, they re new for us.

All future BenQ gaming-related merchandise will be introduced under the Zowie name. The new eSports devices will focus on ergonomics and personalization to enhance player performance and enjoyment.

Can you talk about the role eSports has played for BenQ over the years

We sponsor a lot of leagues internationally, including EVO, MLG, UMG, ESEA, and various ESL tournaments across the globe. We re in negotiation with all of them to extend into peripheral sponsorship with the Zowie brand.

How have you seen these types of league sponsorships impact sales of BenQ monitors

Over the last three or four years we ve seen eSports growing at such a rapid pace. There are so many more gamers. And now with Twitch and YouTube Gaming, the fan base is growing even larger. ESports has been phenomenal for our monitor sales. Our pro players love to use them as well. It s been a great partnership.

What pro teams do you sponsor

We sponsor 12 teams in all regions, including Evil Geniuses, Cloud9, VirtusPro, Flash Wolves, Fnatic, Mousesports, TeamNxl, Grubby, MiTH, TCM, and Orange ESports.

What role does eSports play in your overall marketing plans for BenQ monitors

ESports and our gaming monitors is a huge part of our business, and we recognize how important it is. We do a lot of R&D into our gaming products. And we ve seen rapid growth in sales and in customer satisfaction.

How do you see your Zowie acquisition impacting that brand

Zowie has been around for five years, but they haven t had the budget to market their products. We worked with them for five years before deciding to acquire them.

How do you work with pro gamers in developing new products

We fly in top pros to our headquarters to get direct feedback on what features they like. That s our foundation on how we build products. It s a process Zowie also used and we re continuing that.

What do you feel differentiates Zowie from other eSports brands

Whether you re a professional gamer or an avid gamer, you need equipment that will stand up under pressure. We get a lot of feedback from our customers and community, and we have a good basis of how to meet that demand.

Zowie really focuses our gaming products for the top professionals. It s not your generic office or work mouse. And its features translate to the highest level of play.

Can you detail what s being shown at CES

We ll have seven or eight different mouse shells that will fit any hand out there for right-handed, left-handed, or ambidextrous gamers. There s also new laser technology that involves the lift-off distance of the mouse from the mouse pad, which means you don t have to lift your mouse as high. We also have two different mouse pads. One has more friction. Zowie has developed a foundation of the mouse pad where they ve eliminated the air bubbles and gaps. So you won t feel any minor bumps that might be caused by some of the other brands.

When will new Zowie products be released

Our goal is to create a full product line from monitors to keyboards, to mouse and mouse pads. We re currently researching headsets and we re working to ship on one before Q2.

How do you plan on differentiating Zowie headsets from the competition out there

Comfort will be the main focus. And the electronic system has to be 100% accurate, so you can positional hear sound in the game based on the electronics in the headset. We know the market is crowded, but we have a strong R&D team and we can fine-tune and make a final product that will deliver a highly satisfactory experience.

What platforms are you targeting with your headset

Our headset should work on any console or PC gaming system.

As a former Counter-Strike pro, what are your thoughts on how popular CS:GO is today

It doesn t surprise me. It s always been such a classic first-person shooter game. I played on Team 3D seven years.

What impact do you feel Turner Sports eSports televised play will have on CS:GO and brands involved in 2016 and beyond

The Turner ELeague is exciting. We ve tried to publicly televise gaming through the Champions Gaming Series on DirecTV a few years back. Now with the community being so big, it doesn t surprise me that there s a new movement into televised eSports. It s great for sponsors and products to reach a televised audience.

What are your thoughts on how much eSports prize pools have risen over the last few years

It s great because it s a way pros can make a living doing what they love. Being a gamer, it s entertaining to watch gamers play at a high level. There are star players that are fun to watch.

What has eSports opened up for former pro gamers like yourself

There are more career opportunities today than ever before. Instead of playing competitively, you can become a full-time streamer and play online, you can work with leagues or tournaments, you can become game designers. A surprising number of pros I used to play with have gone on to professional poker.

What s the correlation with poker and eSports

When you compete at the highest level of gaming, you have to be able to process information at the highest speed and see the scenario unfold in a few seconds. It also involves math, good instincts, and making the right call.

How important is gaming equipment to pro gamers

Being a pro gamer, I realize how important equipment is. I ve tried over 50 different keyboards, mouses, and mouse pads to get the right combo. I went to Zowie in Taiwan and with the different shells we re able to get that perfect fit for any gmer, and then two different fictions on the pads. I feel like I have a good understanding of what gamers want and what gamers need.

BenQ is promoting its new curved screen monitor. Why doesn t that work for eSports

The curved screen is designed for those looking for the most immersive PC gaming experience. It envelopes your peripheral vision. It enhances the gaming experiences. We found for pros that 24-inch is the optimum screen size that they can process visually. The curved screen is 35 inches.


3D Sunshine Reimagines ‘Minecraft’ Through Virtual Reality

Building Legos is one of the most primitive forms of teaching children spatial intelligence, all while allowing them to dream and create. Steven Schkolne, a computer science PhD from Caltech, is taking that simple concept to revolutionize how people master such skills through 3D Sunshine, a transdisciplinary computer program that reimagines Minecraft through virtual reality.

Schkolne s sophisticated and innovative technology creates and manipulates objects in 3D, essentially giving creators in the digital motion graphics and compositing software sphere a new cutting-edge augmented reality tool to toil with in the platform.

People go absolutely nuts when they see it. The reception has been really positive, Schkolne tells [a]listdaily from his no-frills loft in downtown Los Angeles as he duplicates blocks, drags out walls and creates expansive models on his computer. When kids and adults try it, they re taken aback and excited about the possibilities for building holograms in new ways.

The idea for 3D Sunshine manifested while Schkolne was taking a 3D modeling class at the Art Center in the late 90s. It was here that the artist realized the black-and-white world of what he was able to accomplish with a pencil as opposed to a computer. Drawing digitally should be much easier, he thought.

Enter his years-in-the-making idea for Minecraft, where gamers spend hundreds of hours building complex fortresses with unforgiving digital tools. Now, in short order, users can construct using their TV, laptop or Oculus Touch and export straight into the game.

You have to see Schkolne s creation for yourself to appreciate his patent-pending idea; words don t do it much justice. That s exactly why he s built a YouTube channel for newbies to easily understand that all you do to build these structures is push a button, grab a block and move it.

Where virtual reality is about presence, depth and expansiveness, Schkolne s 3D user-interface incorporates hands and imagination. He believes the handheld-controller experience proposes a compelling opportunity for a crème de le crème brand like HoloLens and their internal developers to connect with third-party minds like him to enhance their products.

3D Sunshine challenges you to think, and has the potential to teach people how to navigate in space to build and construct. Educators love its fluid and fast potential. he says. We believe its going to educate our next generation of architects and designers and help them to express themselves creatively. We re trying to take that and add a layer to it by amplifying with the already-existing physical building process. It s very complementary to hardware that s coming out for VR.

The sensory technology is getting better and more accessible. We have a broad ability outside of VR. There s no one that s developed the algorithms and data structures that allow free building.

Schkolne, 39, who looks like a hybrid between Russell Brand and Pau Gasol he s that tall, too has a background that s just as unique as his idea. His parents were born in South Africa and moved from Cape Town to North Carolina when he was only 2 years-old. Although his father and grandfather were both anesthesiologists, Steven had the freedom to pursue other interests. He gravitated toward art and music, but eventually settled on a computer science bachelor s degree at Pittsburgh s Carnegie Mellon University.

While earning both his masters and PhD at Caltech, he says he developed a system that blended computation with art, building a machine that allowed him to draw digital light sculptures by tracing shapes in free air with his hands.

As wired as Schkolne s PhD brain is for computer science s creative and complex constructs, as a startup, he wears the business man hat, too.

Minecraft is just the beginning of our vision, he says. I have quite an ambitious plan for our growth, but the details will have to be played out in the future. Minecraft is a proof of concept, and not a final destination. We don t want to make this an art project. This is a serious business.”

Hyatt Creates Comedic Hijinks With Iliza Shlesinger Campaign

Hyatt Regency recently joined forces with Comedy Central and funny girl Iliza Shlesinger to launch the custom content series “It’s Good Not to Be Home” to celebrate the simple human truths about traveling.

“Travelers told us that they enjoy the freedom travel provides to break from routine, meet new people and find new inspiration,” Stacey Snyder, director of brand experience for Hyatt Regency, told [a]listdaily. “Comedy felt like a natural way to bring this insight to life, whether that was highlighting how, on the road, you can sleep sideways, steal all the toiletries, or eat dessert first.”

Pegging Shlesinger’s with influencer marketing duties seemed like a natural fit for Hyatt as the always-travelling comedian brought her own experiences to the series.

“Comedians are road warriors so teaming up with Hyatt Regency on the ‘Good Not to Be Home’ campaign was a natural fit,” Chris Ficarra, senior vice president of integrated marketing for Comedy Central, said in a statement. “Working with Iliza and her cute dog Blanche, we developed custom shareable funny content to engage fans on, on air and across Comedy Central’s social-media platforms.”

Snyder joined [a]listdaily to discuss the hospitality company’s upcoming marketing strategies, and to offer a sneak peak into forthcoming campaigns.

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What went into Hyatt merging comedy into its marketing campaigns How did that serve as the right collaboration for the company’s integrated global marketing campaign?

Hyatt is in the business of caring for people so they can be their best. That’s our purpose as a company. Caring for people is sometimes as simple as making them laugh, so for Hyatt Regency — the largest brand in the Hyatt portfolio — this is a way to demonstrate care that fits with the brand. The collaboration with Comedy Central stemmed from an insight we heard from travelers: the simple human truth that, sometimes, it’s good not to be home.

How did choosing comedian Iliza Shlesinger come about, and how did her personality fit the campaign?

We found Iliza Schlesinger with the help of Comedy Central. She is the perfect comedian to bring to life the experiences we all feel when we are traveling. And as a comedian, she spends a lot of her time on the road and was able to bring her own personality to the series.

How does a robust custom content series like this enhance brand awareness and marketing power for Hyatt than traditional methods of year’s past?

In today’s world, we know that people are seeking experiences. Making people laugh is an experience we can offer even when people are outside our hotels by teaming with Comedy Central on this content series. It extends from TV across social channels and even into Comedy Central’s Snapchat Discover stream, which is exciting for us.

Why was it imperative to incorporate Snapchat? What does it do for the brand that other social media can not?

We know many of our guests use Snapchat, so we made the platform part of the Hyatt Regency brand’s largest-ever integrated marketing campaign. Not only did we feature custom content featuring Iliza on the Comedy Central Snapchat Discover feed, but we are also among the first hotel brands to offer branded Snapchat filters when you stay at any of the more than 80 Hyatt Regency hotels across the U.S. and Canada. These filters just offer another opportunity for Hyatt Regency to engage with guests while they’re staying with us. And because we are among the first hotel brands to offer this, we look forward to seeing how our guests like it.

What are some of Hyatt’s chief marketing initiatives for 2016?

In 2016, travelers can expect to see Hyatt continue to focus on delivering clear, distinct brand experiences across each brand in our portfolio. It’s an exciting time as the entire company is focused on building long-term relationships with our guests by caring for each individual so they can be their best.

What Video Gaming Will Look Like in 2016

2015 saw a great many changes and shake-ups in the video game industry, with many more expected in 2016. Here’s a brief look at what’s to come as the new year plays out.

Nintendo Boldly Goes

After the tragic passing of Nintendo President Satoru Iwata earlier this year, 2016 will be the time for his successor, Tatsumi Kimishima, to show what direction he intends to lead the company towards. To that end, Nintendo already has a number of projects set to debut next year, among them being the Nintendo NX system. The NX has been the topic of much speculation, and is believed to be a new console designed to succeed the Wii U.

No doubt, Nintendo will continue with the phenomenal success of its Amiibo figurine line by releasing new versions and creatively using them to work alongside games. However, a more exciting change will be Nintendo’s first steps into developing games for mobile systems. 2016 will see release of Pokemon Go! Developed by Niantic, which is receiving up to $30 million in funding from Nintendo and Google, Pokemon Go! is an augmented reality game that will allow players to find and capture Pokemon in real world locations.

Additionally, DeNa has partnered with Nintendo to develop a free-to-play game called Miitomo for mobile devices. It will let users creatively communicate and share interesting facts with each other using their own Mii characters, with the strong possibility of tying into other games.

Mobile Gaming Consolidates as It Grows

Both analysts and publishers  see big changes coming to the mobile games industry. The ongoing trend, marked by moves like Activision Blizzard’s $5.9 billion purchase of King Digital Entertainment, is one of consolidation where a small number of large companies will control almost all of the mobile games market. Expect to see more buyouts, partnerships, and major investments as companies compete to grow. We’re also likely to see a number of major investments come from Asia in the coming years, as successful companies look to expand globally.

Although smartphones will continue to represent the large majority of mobile gaming, expect companies like Apple, Amazon, Nvidia, and Google to continue efforts to bring them to living rooms using set-top boxes that will handle all forms of entertainment under a one brand umbrella.

Consoles Entertainment Expands

Big plans are in store for the PlayStation 4 console, with the most prominent being the PlayStation VR (formerly Project Morpheus) headset. With it, the PS4 will be the first gaming console to officially support virtual reality content, and Sony has partnered to have a line-up of games ready at launch. Currently expected to launch sometime in the spring, the virtual reality accessory doesn’t have an official release date or price yet. However, it may turn out to be similar to an all-new console launch for Sony.

Sony is also expected to further expand the entertainment value of its network with services like PlayStation Vue, which gives cord-cutters a viable subscription based alternative to cable TV providers. The second season of the PlayStation Network TV Show, Powers, will premiere in 2016 and it’s very likely that more original programming will follow.

With the PS4 leading in sales, Microsoft will have a lot of ground to make up. It will continue to add games to the backward compatibility library to incentivize Xbox 360 owners to upgrade to an Xbox One. We’re also likely to see more cross-platform connectivity between the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs with games like Gigantic and Fable Legends as Microsoft pursues a more unified experience across all its devices.

Step Into Virtual Reality

Consumers got a taste of virtual reality technology this year with the creative use of 360-degree videos, seen through devices like Google Cardboard and the recently released Samsung Gear VR. However, 2016 is posed to be the year that truly brings us into the VR era with the launch of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR headsets.

Oculus VR has partnered with a number of game developers to build a library of games, including the recently announced Rock Band VR, and each Oculus Rift headset will come with an Xbox One controller. Furthermore, Xbox One games can be streamed to a Windows 10 PC, and viewed through a Oculus Rift headset to give users the feeling of playing inside a movie theater with a massive screen.

HTC hasn’t been as open with its plans for the future, but the fact that it has partnered with Valve (developers of Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, and the Steam platform), big things are expected to come.

The Microsoft HoloLens, a standalone head-mounted computing device that uses augmented reality, is also expected to release sometime in the first quarter of 2016. Being a Windows 10 device, it will be able to stream games from an Xbox One to a virtual screen. However, even though the E3 presentation of a holographic Minecraft was very impressive, as was October’s reveal of mixed reality gaming through Project X-Ray, it is still unclear how well the HoloLens will compete against VR devices like the Oculus Rift.

eSports: The Name of the Game

With estimates showing that eSports will grow to 300 million viewers by 2017, and bring in $1.9 billion in revenue by 2018, eSports will certainly be a key to success next year. Both Activision and EA have formed their own respective eSports divisions.

Activision Blizzard will expand its already strong presence in the eSports community, marked by games like Call of Duty, StarCraft II, and Hearthstone. The Call of Duty World League, was announced last September, and is geared to grow both the Call of Duty Championship competition and viewership. Overwatch, a comic book superhero and villain style competitive shooter being developed by Blizzard, will give the company yet another eSport game to promote when it releases next year.

EA will focus on developing its Battlefield franchise and successful sports games like Madden NFL and FIFA into eSports. In the future, you might expected heated family arguments over what type of football event they should be watching.

With two of the largest game publishers in the world, along with a great many independent games, working to establish a lasting eSports presence, it may only be a matter of time before others follow-suit. 2K Games’ Battleborn, which releases next year, is a likely contender but there could be a lot of temptation to eventually turn Grand Theft Auto Online into an eSport.

The 6 Biggest Tech Marketing Hits of 2015

Whether it’s growing, shrinking, or taking on a whole new form, technology saw some huge releases in 2015, alongside announcements like the Microsoft HoloLens. While devices like the Apple Watch drew new attention to wearable technology, especially given how a recent report estimates that 39.5 million U.S. adults use some form of wearable tech in this year alone, while other devices gave us an all-new way to see reality.

Here are some of the devices released in 2015 that left the deepest marketing impressions.

Apple Watch

Apple has a unique talent for taking often overlooked consumer technologies and turning them into gold. That can be taken almost literally when it comes luxury editions of the Apple Watch, which features an 18-Karat gold case and a $10,000 starting price. Although rival companies already  had their own brands of smart watches when the Apple Watch was first announced, there was a lot of hope that Apple would turn the technology into a success with features like 3D touch, Apple Pay, the ability to run apps, and connectivity with other Apple devices.

Although fitness and health monitoring were discussed as major points during keynote presentations, the Apple Watch was marketed largely as a fashion accessory instead of putting too much focus on the technology. There is even a issue of Vogue with a 12-page spread detailing the different body and band combinations and styles. Meanwhile, its promotional videos illustrate how the Apple Watch is the perfect accessory for a variety of everyday activities.

Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book

Microsoft’s Surface tablets have gone a long way toward bridging the gap between the portability of tablets and the power of notebook computers. While past efforts to promote Surface systems played up the differences between it and MacBook computers, Microsoft decided to shift its approach to appeal to high-end tech users with a message of being creative and bold.

Last October’s reveal of the Surface Pro 4, with more powerful hardware and better usability, came as welcome (although not unexpected) announcement during a press event. However, it was followed by an announcement that took audiences completely by surprise. Microsoft introduced its very first laptop computer line with the Surface Book, a 2-in-1 notebook computer with a removable screen. The screen can operate independently as a high-end, large screen, tablet. Its gorgeous look, technology, and capabilities were enough to build up hype for the computer, despite its relatively high price point and pre-orders began selling out within 5 days of its announcement. 

iPad Pro

Apple’s Tim Cook once famously compared convertible tablets to converging a toaster with a refrigerator, and Microsoft had a little fun with that statement before the announcement of its new Surface lineup, given  how the iPad Pro was announced a month earlier.


Given how the iPad Pro is actually a gigantic iPad that runs iOS, Cook doesn’t really contradict himself by releasing it. Although it is a sort of admission that Apple recognizes that there is a market for large-screen portable devices to further bridge the gap between tablets and notebooks. Apple’s marketing approach so far is to help capture its enormity with imagery from outer space, like the planets Jupiter and Saturn, rendered in spectacular color.

Samsung Gear VR

2016 will be the year that high-end virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive release, but the Samsung Gear VR is the virtual reality device for today. Officially releasing last November, the Gear VR uses principles similar to Google Cardboard, where you use a mobile phone to drive 360-degree viewing experiences like movies, videos and games.

Although some might consider mobile VR as a stepping stone to more advanced experiences, its low price and portability make it attractive to many users, giving it the potential to become more popular than the high-end sets. Content partners like Netflix recognize this potential, as it paves the way for the VR era, and have been quick to take advantage. Samsung itself has been releasing exclusive content to draw more users to its camp, like the LeBron James “Striving for Greatness” VR video, which gives viewers an in-depth look at the player’s training process.

iPhone 6s

The iPhone “S” series has traditionally been regarded by tech enthusiasts as an “in-between” model that fills in gap between major iPhone releases. Apple recognizes this, and decided to use this perception to drive its marketing. Commercials emphasize how spectacular the new and improved features like 3D Touch Siri are. Of course, it also helps to have a few celebrities like Selena Gomez and Jamie Foxx show off using the iPhone 6s. So, what’s different about the new iPhone 6s Not much. Except… all this.


Although Nintendo saw languishing sales with its Wii U gaming console system, the company struck oil this year with the release of Amiibo – figurines based on Nintendo’s vast library of characters that can interact electronically with games via built-in NFC (Near Field Communications) chips. The company’s long-standing fan base went wild for them, and they quickly sold out. While each figurine costs about $15, some have sold at auction for over $100.

Despite how video-game related figures, like Skylanders, have been around for quite some time, Amiibo are the first to officially feature Nintendo’s lineup of characters. As a result, fans were lining up and camping outside stores to snatch up rare ones. Although much of the Amiibo marketing focuses on how they interact with games, its functionality has practically become secondary to simply collecting them. Whatever the reason for their success, it’s clear that Amiibo are here to stay, and if the cross-over partnership with Skylanders Superchargers is an indication of anything, it’s that there will be a lot more to come.

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2015’s Biggest ESports Stories

ESports has been going strong over the past few years, with millions of viewers and live attendees checking out competitors in everything from League of Legends to Call of Duty: Black Ops III. However, 2015 marks its biggest year as competitive gaming continues to become mainstream entertainment.

Big money, big prizes.

With the growing popularity of eSports tournaments, more promotional partners have signed on, contributing a number of big prizes to go towards the biggest and best in the business.

No tournament stood out more this year than The International, Valve’s yearly get-together of the world’s best DOTA 2 players. With the help of items for the game sold to the community, The International managed to draw a whopping $18 million  the largest to date for an eSports-related tournament. With Valve’s brand strength, that number could grow even more next year.

In addition, up-and-comers have managed to raise large amounts of funding for their teams in the hopes of claiming their stake in the eSports world. Skillz, for example, raised $15 million in Series B funding back in September, with a number of big name partners like the Kraft Group and Mark Lasky (co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks) leading the charge.

2016 could mean even bigger cash flow for big and small companies alike, and it’s a safe bet that the audience will follow suit, with an estimated $1.9 billion in revenue expected in a few years’ time. 

Expanding into an unexpected medium.

There’s no question that eSports has been a big hit on the streaming platforms, with Twitch garnering over 100 million viewers monthly, and YouTube introducing its own gaming channel to engage with fans. But we’re starting to see more eSports-based activities coming to television, which could be a new trend for 2016.

ESPN was once against providing eSports coverage, but it changed its tune back in March with Heroes of the Dorm, a special program where competitors fought in Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm game for a chance at a hefty tuition fee contribution. As a result, the program fared very well on both the viewing and social front, and the channel could partner for similar tournaments in the months ahead.

In addition, TBS is set to take the eSports initiative on its airwaves, as it will be airing a special series focusing on competitive gamers competing in the first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The team hopes to draw in a massive audience, with its 90+ million monthly viewers.

Although it’s still a bit slow going, eSports is starting to seep into television, and it’s sure to keep going strong on the streaming front. It just helps to give it more exposure.

More competitions ahead

Finally, eSports saw a huge evolution in the number of tournaments being held worldwide this year. In addition to various events in the U.S., there were also special competitions held overseas, including South Korea, where Activision Blizzard’s StarCraft II continues to be a tremendous draw.

That said, more partners are stepping in to present eSports-related events for gamers of all skills to take part in. Intel continues to devote itself to particular events, recently celebrating the tenth year of eSports; and Activision recently announced the Call of Duty World League, working alongside its partners at Sony to create a new competition for pros and amateurs alike, which will culminate next summer in an all-out fight to the finish.

Between bigger money, bigger partners, greater exposure and no shortage of people itching to get a first place victory, eSports has shown impressive strength for 2015. And it’s only going to get even better from here.

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The Most Notable Tech Trends of 2015

If anything, 2015 will be known as the year that technology really turned a corner. We’re starting to see more streaming-capable devices, more Internet of Things-enabled gadgets making their way to market, and more accessibility to computer services through mobile devices, both big and small.

Here are some of the most notable trends we found over the course of the year.

The advancement of mobile devices.

2015 wasn’t just a year consisting of your typical iOS and Android-powered smartphones. It was the year that technology “grew up” into new sizes and dynamics, enabling consumers to do much more with them than ever before.

For instance, both Apple and Microsoft produced larger, high-level tablet devices (the iPad Pro and the Surface Book, respectively) that could enable laptop-style experiences, while utilizing features such as a “light pen”-like stylus that would allow for easier drawing and accessibility to certain programs. Despite the high price, both of these devices have been met with great enthusiasm, and should continue to show advancement well into 2016, along with other smartphones and tablets.

Wearable tech also took a huge leap forward, as Apple introduced its Apple Watch to the market. Though it took some time for the device to get “comfortable” to consumers who weren’t quite ready for it yet, it eventually grew into its own on the market, offering unique health and social apps and a handful of games to keep people interested. We’ll probably see a more consumer-friendly version of the device in 2016, something that should be affordable.

Streaming is taking over.

By the time 2014 drew to a close, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu were carving a neat niche for themselves, creating a juggernaut that would no doubt keep up and even match the power of regular television. In 2015, that race became closer than ever, thanks to the introduction of various new streaming services.

HBO jumped into the game with its HBO Now service; Showtime followed suit with its own streaming app; and even network channels like CBS got involved with a specific application, enabling users to watch their favorite programs at any time, or even live as they broadcasted. This, combined with the continued original programming provided by “the old pros” like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, put streaming video more in demand than ever before. More than likely, it could even surpass routine television programming by next year, based on these numbers.

Music streaming has also stepped up in a big way. While Spotify and Pandora continue to hold their ground with massive audiences, other competitors have made the market heat up. Apple introduced its exclusive Apple Music service to strong praise; YouTube finally got into the act with its oft-delayed Music channel; and others, like Tidal, entered the fray as well. This breakdown of the evolution of streaming music provides more details, giving us an idea of what to expect in 2016.

As for games, we didn’t see too much in the way of cloud streaming this year, although PlayStation Now has certainly set an example on how to do it the right way for game consoles and particular smart televisions alike. Microsoft could be working on a similar service to launch in 2016, putting cloud streaming of games back in the spotlight.

The Internet of Things is everything.

It seems that set-top boxes and game consoles aren’t the only things capable of connecting to the Internet anymore. In 2015, a number of new devices became web accessible, enabling users to connect and do more things than ever before. Even coffee machines and security systems became remotely accessible, providing better ease of use.

Earlier this year, we reported on eMarketer‘s findings for how much people intend to use Internet of Things-enabled devices. 71.9 percent of those surveyed stated they would use some form of IoT-based technology in mobile applications and devices a huge leap from the previously indicated 46.5 percent of business executives interested in it.

So what does this mean In 2016, we’re likely to see even more of the Internet of Things going around, with more devices and services becoming available with the push of a button. With that, security measures will also be put into place to assure their safety, especially when it comes to keeping shopping activities and other digital information at bay.

Virtual and augmented reality took over.

Although not all the competitors have arrived on the market as of yet, virtual reality looks to take a big foothold in the technological field in 2016. Throughout this past year, we’ve seen a number of announcements, app reveals and upcoming games that present an interesting future for virtual reality. This article breaks down just how exciting things will be for the likes of the PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and other competitors gearing up for what could bring in billions of dollars.

That said, many partners have already begun utilizing the technology in a number of ways. Marriott offers it in hotel rooms as a temporary getaway for weary travelers; movie studios have already used Oculus tech to promote projects like Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and The Hunger Games; and it’s even attracted some big franchises for release in 2016, including Minecraft.

That’s not all, though. Augmented reality made some huge waves this year as well, with a market that’s set to take in all the exciting game and informative applications it will provide. Microsoft could lead the charge next year with its promising HoloLens tech, which was demonstrated earlier this year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo to huge praise. And not just for games either.

The forthcoming year should see huge advances in virtual and augmented reality. Now the only question is what kind of effect virtual reality will have on a mass market, and if it’s even prepared for the kind of immersive technology it provides.