3 Technology Predictions for 2017

The rate of technology advancement and innovation these days is stunning.

Today…as we are ending 2016…we have less in common with 2006 than 2006 has with 1996. And odds are, none of us can truly predict what ten years from now will look like.

Consider the original launch date for the very first iPhone…

Original iPhone launch date

That’s right. Less than ten years ago, few were using smartphones. Just watch a movie or TV show from before 2007, and you will immediately get a glimpse of just how far technology has come in less than ten years. And, that’s just the consumer side of things. Tech today for business is incredible, allowing rapid innovations to be brought to market faster than any time in history.

Doesn’t it get you excited?

Experiencing a rate of change like no other we’ve seen in history is invigorating! And, perhaps even a little scary.

With new technology, methods, and players springing up all the time, these days it’s tough to know exactly what to expect in a new year.

So then, what can we predict for 2017? 

Three things. 

Technology will become:

  • Smarter
  • Easier
  • More connected

Smarter

As the lines between the digital and the physical blur, technology will become even more intelligent, human-like, and immersive in the coming year.

Artificial intelligence will be useful in cases of virtual personal assistants where natural-language processing is key.

Advanced machine learning will allow for deep, contextual awareness of situations that improves with time. Combine this with something like robotic process automation (RPA) in the enterprise setting and everything can be done automatically…and even faster. 

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will be able to take advantage of the physical world and then enhance it digitally.

Forbes predicts that 30% of consumer-facing G2000 companies will experiment with AR/VR as part of their marketing efforts in the next year. These immersive interfaces will be particularly useful for industries such as healthcare and retail, where patients and customers can receive personalized service on-demand. And beyond consumer application of this cool tech, these smarter technologies will enable enterprises to speed up business processes, and better meet the always-evolving needs of customers, partners, and employees.

Easier

Accelerated by the proliferation of mobile smart devices that have powerful application functionality, advanced technology is more accessible now than ever before. With accessibility comes a need for ease of use, especially for non-technical or commercial audiences. Captivating and intuitive user experiences have become expected, forcing companies to develop and design simple interfaces for even the most powerful apps. Plus, with expectations changing and evolving at the speed of light, the enterprise that tries to address the challenge with software that cannot change at the same speed will not be able to deliver.

The ones that don’t meet the expectations? They’re nostalgia. That’s why in 2017, low-code application development platforms will have their day.

In enterprise scenarios, the need for business and IT departments to be perfectly aligned has never been so important. Low-code application platforms enable business and other non-technical users to take advantage of easy-to-use BPM technology to create powerful, enterprise-grade applications, fast. 

When the ability to quickly build and change business applications isn’t in place, you know it. It’s where shadow IT is born: employees finding, buying, and using their own technology solutions instead of waiting for IT to get to them. It’s where IT is in a seemingly perpetual state of updates and upgrades…maintenance instead of innovation. And, it’s where enterprises cannot adapt quickly enough to take advantage of market dynamics, resulting in lost potential.

The technology that can address these challenges exists.

In 2017, low-code development platforms will continue to gain traction as organizations look to empower their staff and make their own innovative IT a competitive advantage.

Breaking down these barriers will lead to self-service environments where users can build and deploy their own applications in record time…with little (if any) involvement from IT. And, it will lead to IT no longer being seen as the information technology department…in 2017, IT will become the Innovation Team.

More Connected

2017 will expand on the connectivity that is already apparent today.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to connect billions of smart devices, capturing contextual data.

These devices will be in our homes and on our bodies, and advancements in this technology will seamlessly tie it all together. For business, IoT has held promise for some time. In 2017, it will take a big step forward.

Application program interfaces (APIs) will become increasingly important for connecting and opening up systems.

The ability to create, expose, and make API calls will become easier and more common. This capability is critical for digital transformation platforms as it allows expansion of business or application value into new channels and drive deeper engagement with existing ones.

What happens when all of this is combined?

Imagine this scenario. A person looking to purchase a car is doing some preliminary research online. They see an option for a “virtual tour” of the interior where they can visualize their body in the driver’s seat, along with all the cool head unit features, seat options, and steering wheel adjustments. Strap on a VR headset and they can even take it for a virtual test drive! Meanwhile, an automated salesbot collects information about the person’s selection – the type of vehicle, number of doors, and any other specs they chose – then sends an automated recommendation report with related vehicles. And that’s just the beginning.

Once the new car arrives, it can be paired to devices like a smartphone or tablet. The car’s system has natural language processing capabilities that recognize commands, such as sending a call or text message. Maybe it has learning functionality that suggests music based on the driver’s listening trends (dance music on a Friday night or smooth jazz for the commute into work on Monday). With a navigation system that is connected to traffic and mapping systems that operate in real-time, detours for avoiding congested areas are automatically spoken to the driver. Finally, all of this data is captured and reported in a user-friendly mobile app, built with a low-code development platform. The car can send notifications to the app when maintenance or service is required, and another notification can be pushed to the owner’s mechanic for scheduling an appointment.

This is no longer futuristic. These themes of smarter, easier, and more connected technology will dominate and drive innovation in 2017 and lay the groundwork for even more innovative tech advancements lasting through the remainder of the decade. I can’t wait to see what more 2017 has in store for us!

 

Kamna Talwar