It’s an understatement to say that the year ahead holds a great deal of uncertainty. But while we may not know exactly what’s coming, we do know that one sector is guaranteed to keep moving forward at a lightning-fast pace: Technology. Wondering what, specifically, we can expect to see in the year ahead? Here’s a closer look at five tech trends anticipated to take off in 2017.
1. The “Internet of Things” Goes Mainstream
We’ve been hearing about the Internet of Things (“IoT”) in which “anything that can be connected, will be connected,” for a while now, but 2017 looks like the biggest year yet. And while the IoT market has until now been a bit of a dogfight between disparate devices, the entry of major players like Amazon, Apple and Google onto the scene promises major momentum for large-scale adoption and streamlining in the year ahead. The growth of all things smart isn’t limited to the home, however. Also predicted to pick up in 2017? Other cognitive technology, including everything from personal assistants to self-driving cars.
However, as wireless technology takes off in the form of many new kinds and increasing pervasiveness of all things AI and wireless, it brings with it the increased threat of IoT-related security breaches, prompting Forrester to declare 2016’s DDoS attack that felled thousands of websites to be “the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using connected devices to do harm.”
2. Laptops Will Finally Reign Supreme
Despite the massive mobile movement, desktop computer sales have until now still managed to outsell laptops in the workplace. According to Spiceworks’ “State of the It” report, 2017 will be the turning point: “While global consumer sales of new laptops passed sales of new desktops long ago, there are still plenty of older desktops used in businesses around the world. In fact, according to Spiceworks network data, desktop usage has stubbornly remained higher than laptop usage in the workplace to this day….However, the trend is finally starting to reverse as organizations in EMEA have budgeted more for laptops than desktops for the first time in 2017. In North America, the amount businesses will allocate for laptops or desktops is roughly even, but desktop spend still maintains a small lead… for now.”
Some companies, meanwhile, will ditch the concept entirely with the debut of completely mobile workspaces. Consider UBS’s newly opened London office, at which employees are no longer tied to a particular desk, phone line or computer. Said UBS Head of Group Corporate Services and Sourcing Harald Egger in a New York Times piece on the changeup, “Working together, talking to each other, and working in a more agile way. People are probably not so fixed any more in their working environment.”
3. On-Demand Continues its Ascent and Expansion
On-demand is not exactly new. But the degree to which things—and more things than ever—will become instantly available is not only expected to continue to climb in 2017, but will also venture into new territory—from drone deliveries to yogurt robots. Thanks to brands like Uber and Amazon, consumers are used to getting things on demand via phone apps. The trend is also growing with business applications. More and more companies are seeing the benefits on web-based services (including Send Word Now’s on-demand notification and conference calling apps).
4. Bring on the Bots
Recode.net explains that a bot is software that is designed to automate the kinds of tasks you would usually do on your own, like making a dinner reservation, adding an appointment to your calendar or fetching and displaying information. The increasingly common form of bots, chatbots, simulate conversation. They often live inside messaging apps—or are at least designed to look that way—and it should feel like you’re chatting back and forth as you would with a human.
Today they exist in many of the places where you communicate, primarily messaging or chat apps which generally have a conversational interface. The boom in these types of apps is fueling the development of new, more sophisticated bots to further improve the customer experience.
Their growing sophistication is in large part due to the dramatic improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) software. AI allows computers to converse with humans as never before. Companies are increasingly deploying them for interactions such as product ordering and customer service. While automating tasks that humans used to do certainly isn’t new, the speed and realism that bots offer is expected to dramatically increase their use in 2017.
5. Cyber Security Takes Center Stage
2016 proved that cyber criminals are smart. Will 2017 prove that cyber security experts are even smarter? Experts agree that cyber security attacks aren’t going anywhere in the near future. In fact, we’ll likely see even more threats on this front, with new dangers emerging pertaining to everything from data manipulation to increased targeting of consumer devices. And as the "internet of things” takes off (See #1), so does the potential for ransomware to become a massive problem for individuals and organizations.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Just as cyber criminals are becoming more clever and agile, so are the people and applications tasked with defending against them. Gone is any lingering false sense of security and emerging in its place is global demand for people and tools to counter savvy cyber criminals and outmaneuver them before they strike.
One of the easiest ways to ensure rapid and consistent communication in the event of an attack is through the use of a group communication service like Send Word Now. With the ability to send messages through text and phone, in addition to email, you reduce your risk significantly. Additionally, it’s a cloud-based service so your contact information is accessible even if your internal systems are down. By integrating it with your contact database, you also ensure that your contact information is always up-to-date. Download our free e-book on Cyber Attack Response Planning and learn what you can do in the face of this ever-growing threat.
While we can’t predict the future, we can plan for it to continue to surprise us. The best way for contemporary organizations to prepare for what’s coming next? Keep abreast of technology trends, then be ready to adapt.