Predicting the trends for the future in such a fast moving sector is a challenge even when just looking a few months or year into the future. Innovation and the adoption of technology is changing the way we live and work. Although it might not be easy, looking to the future and how technology may change is particularly important for businesses wanting to stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant in what can be a very fickle market.
Here are some of the key trends we see shaping the year ahead:
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
It wasn’t that long ago we were watching Will Smith in I, Robot and wondering if we were truly watching a science fiction or perhaps getting a glimpse of the future. A worrying thought perhaps but there is little doubt that AI and machine learning is moving at a pace, we have already seen humans being replaced by computers in the form of chat bots. The links between intelligent apps and machine learning will be important and with the busy lives we lead who wouldn’t say no to a little extra help from AI. There will be further developments in 2017 and this could present opportunities for businesses to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
This already well underway and will continue in 2017 with more businesses moving to a cloud-first strategy and providers enhancing the capabilities of cloud technologies. There are many ways businesses can benefit from adopting cloud-technology, and there are already providers with cloud-based systems for data storage, book keeping, accounting and more. Switching to cloud based systems can provide numerous benefits, such as reduced hosting costs, increased capacity, and more streamlined operations. However, one of the main benefits of cloud based technologies is the ability to access real-time data at any time, on any device – allowing for greater decision making abilities due to the immediacy of information, and the ability to easily share this with trusted advisers.
Quickly following cloud migration is cyber security and in many ways the two go hand in hand, although the risk is by no means limited to cloud stored data. In an online world the cyber security threats are everywhere and only heightened by the Internet of Things (IoT) bringing more devices online. Technology companies must consider IT security for their own products at the early stages of development. As the recent attacks on major companies have shown no business is immune to attack and expect the threats to increase in 2017.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Some people still struggle with the term Internet of Things and think it is not really playing a starring role in the technology sector. Perhaps it is not the best term but in simple terms any item connected to the Internet enabling them to send and receive data falls within the term IoT. In a world where we control our heating remotely, pay for a beer with a smartphone and have watches which tell us when we need to go for a walk, IoT is all around us. Technology businesses will need to consider how their products can be ready for the IoT era and also consider associated security issues.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
We all watched last summer as hordes of kids (and in some cases adults still in touch with their inner child) mindlessly charged around chasing Pokémon. At the time it seemed like the next big thing, we all expected AR and VR to change the world. Pokémon Go may have fizzled out for now but this year we will see AR and VR technologies become mainstream with more sustainable and commercial applications.