With 2016 now firmly behind us (much to the relief of many, one suspects) 2017 has the potential to be a pivotal year for the vast global technology industry, in all its manifestations. With January already behind us, we thought it high time to take a look at some the big tech trends to watch in 2017.
A Slowdown In Global Collaboration & Innovation
It would be hard for any list looking at global trends to ignore our changing global politics. With the election of Trump and the UK looking like it’s heading for ‘hard’ Brexit, there will undoubtedly be a growing tendency towards more isolationist and protectionist policies in 2017. This will likely have an impact on the ability for the tech sector to export their products and hire talent from across the globe. Already, in January, Google has admitted that hard line immigration policies brought in under the new White House administration could have a material impact on its business, as it recalled 100 of its affected staff from overseas. The degree to which US immigration policy will affect the massive US tech sector and deter companies reliant on foreign expertise from basing their businesses on US soil, is yet to be seen, but expect turbulent times ahead.
Evolution Of The Internet Of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term we keep hearing but 2017 could really be the year that it starts to proliferate at a staggering rate. The SME community could well wake up to the potential the IoT presents in the workplace, with opportunities for better supply chain management, efficiency initiatives, big data collection, customer service, real time monitoring and process automation. The mainstay of many manufacturing businesses for years now, IoT technology will also start to find its way into other industry sectors as R&D in this sector blossoms. One signal of the growing IoT market is the scrabble amongst big tech firms to create the go-to IoT OS platform with Cisco, AT&T, GE, Microsoft and Google all in the running.
Increase In Cloud Migrations
As internet speeds get faster and more and more cloud based services hit the market, the increase in businesses eschewing traditional network infrastructures, over cloud based models looks set to increase in 2017. The growth of so-called ‘cloud first’ strategies is testament to this with more and more businesses starving investment in data centres in favour of cloud based solutions. The advantages this presents to companies include affordable disaster recovery and vastly improved agility although there are also challenges to rejecting traditional IT business models.
Increase In Cyber Attacks Big & Small
2016 certainly wasn’t without its share of big cyberattacks and 2017 is set to be the same with Bob Twitchell, CEO and founder of Dispersive Technologies, predicting a 50% chance of a major cyber warfare attack on US government or military infrastructure. On a smaller scale, it’s likely that there will be an increase in the sophistication and scale of smaller scale cyber crime that is more motivated by financial gain, whether through stealing data and selling it on the black market, or extorting money from businesses by holding its data to ransom. Expect an increased emphasis from the business community on robust cyber security policies.
Shift Towards Biometric Security
The scale and number of cybercrimes may be growing year on year but don’t expect the tech industry to sit back and let it happen. With so much cybercrime the result of poor password and sloppy security policy, the rise of biometric security may help to address this human-error factor. Once the reserve of military tech, many of us use our fingerprint to access our smartphones on a daily basis. Expect this technology to become more ubiquitous in business IT security in 2017, as we all start to use our fingers, faces or eyes to unlock the tech we use in the office.
You might not have heard of Blockchain but you will definitely have heard of Bitcoin. Well, blockchain is the distributed ledger technology behind the world famous crypto-currency and it’s set to revolutionise the way the internet works according to some analysts. Blockchain is a digital ledger that can record anything that needs to be verified as having happened, whether that’s the transferral of property deeds or funds (such as with Bitcoin) to the confirmation of an individual’s identity. Blockchain works by storing these records as blocks which are cryptographically and chronologically bound into a “chain” by multiple computers in the blockchain network. Only if all the computers in the network agree on the answer are the blocks assigned a unique digital signature. Because the blockchain database is distributed to everyone using it, it’s all but impossible to hack. Bankers are buzzing about the potential for blockchain to transform financial transactions and that could just be the start. Could 2017 be seen as the start of the blockchain revolution? We’ll let history be the judge of that.
AR & VR
We couldn’t end without mentioning augmented reality and virtual reality. Every year seems to be the year that VR will take off but 2017 is certainly going to see it become mainstream in areas like gaming with Sony’s Playstation VR leading the charge (just don’t expect your local cinema to start screening films in VR quite yet). 2017 may see augmented reality beat VR in terms of growth potential. Without the need for a headset and countless business applications in the worlds of corporate events, tours, real estate, training and education and even the construction industry, 2017 could be the year that AR shines.