Business Technology

Five 2017 technology trends for businesses to prepare for  

7 min read

30 December 2016

What 2017 technology trends will take the business world by storm? There are five standout developments to prepare for.

A lot happened in the technology industry in 2016, but 2017 technology trends are only going to continue that pattern.

I’ve had a rub of my crystal ball to determine which 2017 technology trends business leaders should be aware of, and believe there are five in particular to be aware of.

(1) The adoption of disruptive technologies will fuel Smart Cities growth

According to Gartner research, by 2020 there will be 9.7bn connected things in use in smart cities. So when it comes to 2017 technology trends, Gartner’s research points to just three years away and it’s clear that disruptive technologies will continue to push the boundaries and support the infrastructure of WiFi, cloud services, broadband networks, wireless sensors and mobile apps.

Used to generate “smart” services to urban areas, traditional services and networks will become more efficient as their use of digital and telecommunication technologies increases.

Smart Cities can enable the efficient running of transport networks, healthcare systems or energy management. Cities can become more efficient, more environmentally friendly and more public-centric.

So looking at 2017 technology trends, with economies tight, local and national governments will begin to grasp that the only future is a smart one.

(2) Artificial intelligence (AI) will help fuel the rise of intelligent apps

AI refers to the science and engineering of developing intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programmes. Most of us are familiar with Google’s self-driving car and the introduction of the much-publicised Amazon Echo. This is a wireless speaker, enabled with Amazon’s cloud-based virtual personal assistant (VPA) Alexa.

VPAs are intelligent apps that are likely to soar in popularity over the coming year. Companies are falling over themselves to make our lives easier and healthier. Personal Health 360’s Shae is a virtual health assistant that follows “you through the day and responds to you as circumstances change”.

It measures stress levels, environment, brain frequencies and blood readings. Samsung’s robot prototype Otto offers help with home security and can listen to voice commands to activate functions.

By 2018 it’s predicted that 200 of the world’s largest companies will be exploiting intelligent apps using advanced analytics and big data to enhance customer experience. In terms of 2017 technology trends, this will be a crucial year in development of the apps.

Continue on the next page for more 2017 technology trends, including one that that will become the norm.

(3)    Connected living will become the norm

We are all connected and we will continue to be so in 2017 as Internet of Things (IoT) devices become intelligent and follow in the footsteps of of drones and robots, across homes and businesses around the world.

Connected technology gives us the ability to understand what is happening within our home wherever we are. This can be applied to home security systems, which can also help you check on whoever is in your home, albeit children or elderly relatives.

Installation of smart meters are also on the agenda as the UK government hopes to have them in every home by 2020.

Giving customers more control over their energy usage it also allows the government to engage with a smart energy grid is in the hope of achieving a low-carbon, efficient, and reliable way of providing gas and electricity to the country. A connected city is an efficient and sustainable one.

(4) The rise of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will help transform the way we interact

AR is the blending of VR and the real world, while VR is a computer-simulated reality. Both are at the forefront of advancements in healthcare offering doctors and patients solutions to medical treatment and individual monitoring.

These immersive technologies can already enable doctors to locate veins for blood samples, help patients play Pokemon Go or just guide visitors around a hospital.

In recent months, a VR operation was performed at The Royal London Hospital where students were given headsets so they could be fully immersed in the experience while learning.

Students in less developed countries can also get in on the act, despite being thousands of miles away from the operation. It’s an exciting time for both technologies, with the sky really being the limit.

(5) Digital twins will take off

Within three to five years, billions of things will be represented by digital twins. Digital twins are a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system and use sensor data to understand their state, make changes and improve functions.

To work, digital twins need the physical product in real space, its digital twin in virtual space and a link between the two. IoT will play a crucial role in enabling this to happen.

Digital twins need sensors to allow the physical and the digital to talk to one another, ultimately helping changes to be made in the real world. For example, within the aviation industry digital twins can profile machines and predict what they are going to need next.

This in the long run could improve a fleet’s efficiency by predicting delays, highlighting fueling issues and flagging up maintenance problems before a plane lands. Good news for passengers, and good news for airlines.

Gavin Wheeldon is CEO at Purple

Image: Shutterstock