This curated column is authored by Moses Ida-Michaels, Business Director, Availsys
Technology will drive the business markets of 2017. There will be unprecedented speeds and maturing of old technologies. Gartner groups top tech trends of 2017 under Intelligent, Digital and Mesh headings. Disruption technologies such as Big Data, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Nanotechnology will themselves experience secondary disruptions by their adaptation to new unexpected verticals. Companies that identify, set goals and respond to trends will be better suited to leverage gains presented.
Here are 7 Tech predictions for 2017
1. Artificial Intelligence Maturity
Artificial Intelligence will step much farther in 2017. All five human senses (Touch, Smell, Sight, Audio and Speech) will be machine-learnt and reach near-perfection. A lot of people are opting for digital assistants that will manage their diary, sort out accounting, type their books, organise their research. Immersive AI can only grow:
“While AI will infuse everything, from cloud services to Internet of Things, there’s one area that will really grow intelligent in 2017: virtual assistants. While Siri, Cortana and Google Now are not exactly new, such services are being stitched into more areas. For instance, Apple finally opened Siri up to third-party developers in 2016, so you can now tell Siri to send a payment to someone via Venmo. The global Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) market size is expected to reach USD 12.28 billion by 2024, according to Grand View Research.”
Technology growth and ready availability means nimble young businesses can bring fresh blood into the AI revolution. Learning and research centres are shaping up on AI possibilities with tech internships, and governments around the world push for more girls in STEM. These developments will increase the talent pool of AI-savvy workers and inadvertently foster innovation at a much quicker pace in 2017.
AI will be integrated into everything. Sensors and networks will be mixed naturally and there will be increasing seamless engagement between animals, human beings and wireless networks. Test bed exists where tiny implants in brains simulate brain functions and convert thought into movements on artificial limbs, 2017 is projected to be the commercial year for these products.
2. Intelligent Automation. Driverless Cars. Robots. Drones.
As industry 4.0 and other disruption technologies mature further, 2017 will blend human intelligence with machines. More people will work side by side with robots than ever. According to Accenture:
“… Intelligent automation brings fundamental changes to how businesses and individuals work. Machines have different strengths and capabilities that complement their human supervisors. Together, they’re changing what’s possible.”
In 2017, none of the global car brands will be left behind. Electric cars will increase to over 5 million and will make a strike as the preferred option in many cities. Car manufacturers will each provide a decent roll-out roadmap and compete for the commercial fortune cookies in this space. Drones are so cheap and ubiquitous that the big action for 2017 will not just be aerial photography or tracked military payload carriers. Drones will be adapted to many creative uses in agriculture, medical distribution, endangered species preservation in remote areas. Drones deployed for city deliveries will increase, yes the promise is not lost for Amazon to deliver to you via drones. Conversations around spectrum and frequency approvals signal scrambling will define the conversations in 2017. Robots and 3D Printing will find a lot more adaptation in fabrics, construction, and factories. Fully digital factories and oilfields become normal. There will be creative automation mixes. More legislative conundrums will crumble, the life-saving potential, cost cutting, boosting economies and improving quality of life for the elderly and disabled are leading the raison-de-tre for adoption of intelligent systems.
3. Clean Data over Big Data
In 2017, there will be data proliferation. As more and more businesses absolutely depend on big data, it will be ineluctable to seek “absolute” data integrity. For any meaningful data pattern, co-relation, trends, and customer preference to be drawn out from big data, accuracy and relevance will be key. We can understand why data captured five years ago is not as relevant as one-month old data. With market changes, dynamic technology, and disruption, whole data fields can meet obsolescence quickly. In 2017, organisations will seek creative ways to turn dark data into usable data. All types of businesses will continue to leverage structured and unstructured data on the cloud, platform, SaaS and PaaS and much fewer onsite data dimensions.
“Every year we see more data being generated than ever before and organizations across all industries struggle with its trustworthiness and quality. We believe the technology trends of cloud, predictive analysis and big data will not only help organizations deal with the vast amount of data, but help enterprises address today’s business challenges”
Data integrity will become more critical and this will drive new governance requirements. Securing “clean” data empowers employees and business partners to analyse and engage businesses accurately. As the age-long IT lingo states “garbage in, garbage out”. More critical is the domino effect on approaching Industrial systems with “dirty” data. In the words of Daniel Fagella of Tech Emergence “If data is not related to the relevant trends and nuances of your current business, it is unlikely to glean predictive value” Big data will stay relevant, innovative and clean and fresh data will be the new big data. “For example, MIT and Ford Motors recently partnered to read the cellphone location data of Bostonians, producing instantaneous traffic and transportation patterns that typically take years to build. Innovation will continue with developments in big data storage, providing much needed revolutionary agility in IT.”
4. Cybersecurity Readiness
This is going to get central focus of many businesses and governments. Already there is a shortfall of over 1 million information security professionals around the world and this shortfall is set to increase to 1.5 million in 2019 with total need peaking at almost 7million professionals by 2020. Universities are scampering to retrain and structure solutions for digital security professionals. Here is what
The good news is that more universities and colleges are offering infosec degree programs than ever before, and many are participating in ground-breaking research — meaning students have the opportunity to participate in hands-on security research and learning opportunities at many of today’s top institutions. What’s more, the global shortage of information security talent means that pursuing a degree or research program within the field can be a highly rewarding career move.
2016 was the year in hacking became the new normal. Executives, consumers, the US presidential elections, 100 European banks were infiltrated by hackers. There is the demand to mix human intelligence with AI and other machine-based cyber security strategies. Newer and more powerful hack-clusters and criminal enclaves are emerging in Russia, among terror organisations and even in Western Europe and the US. It will be far more lucrative to stage a cyber-attack than to make a bank heist in 2017. One in 5 businesses have experienced data loss in 2016 and data is currency for many businesses.
5. Blockchain and Bitcoin Growth
In 2017, there will be unprecedented investment in cryptocurrencies and block-chains will jump over its growing pains to help regulators around the world view and audit aspects of the deep web. The last 2 years has witnessed the maturing of crypto-currencies and putting down money for building infrastructure to undergird the computing power required for block chain and for opening a sliver of big cash from established financial powerhouses into the foundations for the bitcoin. If you still do not understand blockchain, here’s a simple explanation.
… a blockchain just sounds like a kind of database with built-in validation — which it is. However, the clever bit is that the ledger is not stored in a master location or managed by any particular body. Instead, it is said to be distributed, existing on multiple computers at the same time in such a way that anybody with an interest can maintain a copy of it.
6. Marijuana Tech
I nicked this unconventional technology trend for 2017 from Forbes. The technology for fully automated growing of legal marijuana in not only now legal in the State of Colorado, United States, the same legal-marijuana wave is spreading across Europe. Perfect light-controlled grow-beds, high tech software and control systems will drive urban and green grow of marijuana. Investors are buoyed on by the big gains in Colorado, and 26 other states who have legalised medical marijuana, and from places like Amsterdam, Netherlands.
New investment will obviously focus on high quality, “safe”, “clean”, medicinal marijuana. Many will also target repressed demand around the world where this drug has been erstwhile illegal. This trend will apply to the technology for the spread of legal highs for many other banned drugs. As enforcement and regulation eases, more tech businesses will be investing big money into research beds and this will be a strange trend for 2017.
7. Industry 4.0 (Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT))
Mckinsey defines Industry 4.0 as:
“… the next phase in the digitization of the manufacturing sector, driven by four disruptions: the astonishing rise in data volumes, computational power, and connectivity, especially new low-power wide-area networks; the emergence of analytics and business-intelligence capabilities; new forms of human-machine interaction such as touch interfaces and augmented-reality systems; and improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as advanced robotics and 3-D printing. (The four trends are not the reason for the “4.0,” however. Rather, this is the fourth major upheaval in modern manufacturing, following the lean revolution of the 1970s, the outsourcing phenomenon of the 1990s, and the automation that took off in the 2000s.)
2017 will be a year for the normal deployment of smart factories as the basic Industry 4.0 standard. Manufacturers will be looking for more efficient, intuitive and safe ways to create products. This will encourage targeted networking of production data, helping floors to spot error faster, cut down downtime, and handover repetitive and dangerous human involved processes to robots.
As the wave of protectionism grows in the UK and the US as Brexit and the election of Trump signifies, you can picture this trend taking hold around the rest of Europe. Western Europe, the US, Canada and Australia will be encouraged to double down in domestic manufacturing, instead of offshoring production to China, Cambodia, Tunisia, India, Indonesia, Argentina and Mexico. New factories to be deployed, or new production lines will be smart factories. This is the space innovating for driverless cars in the UK, Jaguar Land Rover leading. It is projected that in 2020, UK’s automotive industry will beat the all-time record of 1970 with 2 million cars /year. It is currently manufacturing approximately 1.7m cars each year. In 2017, most of the premium cars coming off the production lines will have in built sensors and are near-ready for the driverless world.
What are your tech expectations for 2017?
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