What the year 2016 has been for all things tech. Blockchain exploded onto the scene, followed by AI, augmented reality, IoT, conversational interfaces and digital which saw mainstream acceptance. It was the year when these technologies leaped off the slides of executive presentations and began their steady march towards the enterprise. And guess what? 2017 looks to be a major year as well for enterprise tech.
As we look forward to what is to come, here are some emerging technologies and concepts that are poised to fire off the grounds in major style in 2017.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Gain Ground
For years, artificial intelligence has been the stuff of sci-fi stories. But after many years of hype, AI seems to have reached a tipping point of market acceptance. Artificial minds like IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana are helping change our lives in ways big and small.
AI and machine learning, including deep learning, neural networks, and natural language processing, are advancing significantly to develop capabilities to understand, learn, predict, adapt, and potentially operate autonomously. Research firm Markets and Markets estimates that the AI market will grow from $420 million in 2014 to $5.05 billion by 2020.
Enterprises are figuring to drive digital innovation by ascertaining avenues of business applications of Machine Learning. Evolution of chatbots and their application in businesses that need high consumer interfaces is a relevant example that emerged last year. Increasingly, enterprises are evaluating the plethora of business scenarios where AI and Machine Learning could help achieve specific business value.
Intelligent Devices Will Meet AI to Become More Collaborative
Gartner predicts that in 2017 we’d witness the two worlds of AI and the Internet of Things increasingly merging. Of course, it’s the next evolutionary step for both streams of technologies as the apps that control IoT devices would eventually need to have machine learning capabilities to develop deeper control and usability. In 2017, we’d see more of such devices to begin communicating with each other and help make decisions.
In its reports and communications, Gartner anticipates a shift from standalone intelligent things to a more collaborative intelligent things model as such connected devices such as drones, autonomous vehicles, and smart appliances increasingly permeate the environment. Gartner estimates that six billion connected things shall actively request support from AI platforms by 2018.
Verticalized IoT Platforms Will Rise With The Help of Hybrid Clouds
2017 will be the year of the platform play as enterprises are marching toward digital transformation. As people, processes and platforms will increasingly interconnect, information exchange shall grow exponentially. To ascertain the application of IoT within specific focus areas and decipher actionable intelligence from within the interweb of connected devices, specialized ecosystems in the form of verticalized IoT platforms shall come to fore for enterprises to be more productive and derive maximum value from their niche. Immense scalability of hybrid clouds along with the ease of manageability with cloud service brokers will be foundational to the rise of such verticalized IoT platforms that enterprises and industries can best leverage to create connected and collaborated environment and transform digitally.
Blockchain to Secure Financial Transactions and Enable Decentralized Autonomous Applications
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin gave birth to the blockchain phenomenon. Now the financial industry is spearheading to take this phenomenon to newer grounds of its application. The concept of blockchain is gaining significant traction with the financial, government and healthcare sectors. The immutability of shared, encrypted and distributed transaction ledgers – defined as blockchains – is being seen quite useful for enabling transparent and secure financial transactions, and enforcing smart contracts.
PwC defines smart contracts empowered by blockchain technology as computable agreements stored in the shared ledgers that dramatically reduce the need for human validators in the transaction loop. In fact, PwC states a simple example of blockchain’s application in enabling smart contracts as an ability to automatically lock out a driver whose authorization to drive a rental car has expired.
Market Reports Hub believes the global blockchain technology market will grow from $210.2 million in 2016 to $2.3 billion by 2021.
Enterprises Will Experiment More with Augment Reality
Enterprises and consumer businesses have been experimenting with augmented reality for some time. In fact, the car maker Mahindra drew a lot of attention at the Auto Expo 2012 with its use of augmented reality while promoting the launch of its XUV5OO. However, it was in 2016 when augmented reality went mainstream with the runaway success of Pokémon GO.
In 2017, organizations will experiment widely with augmented, virtual and mixed reality technologies to help improve collaboration, employee enablement, and better customer engagement. In 2017, enterprises with skilled workforce are slated to witness much larger scale adoption of augmented reality. For example, with augmented reality employees at shop floors can work with visual step-by-step guidance to handle equipment and complete tasks, thereby maximizing productivity and reducing risks.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, nearly 100 million customers will shop in an AR setting and 71 percent of shoppers expect to view in-store inventory digitally.
Cloud to Help The Data-as-a-Service Explosion
As Big Data has become increasingly institutionalized, with a greater proportion of businesses gaining more sophisticated methods of collecting and harnessing data insights, these companies have incurred mounting costs from collecting and holding data. To offset these costs, gain new revenue streams, and simultaneously access new data sources, we will see the breakout of data-as-a-service (DaaS) strategies.
With the DaaS on Cloud model, data management becomes readily accessible through a cloud-based platform, as it offers enterprises to reduce their risks and challenges of managing, processing and analyzing big data by offloading its data management to a third-party cloud-based provider.
Simply put, DaaS is a new way of accessing business-critical data within an existing datacenter. Some of the most common business applications powered by DaaS technology includes CRM and ERP. These strategies will take advantage of both volume and variety of data, emerging data brokers, and increasingly accessible analysis interfaces.
IT Spending Will Increase
2017 promises to bring good tidings for the IT industry. According to Gartner, the worldwide IT spending is estimated to reach $3.5 trillion in 2017, up 2.9 percent from 2016. The increase in spending is driven by growth in software and IT services segments which have emerged as the bright spot for the IT industry. As per Gartner, software spending is projected to grow another 7.2 percent in 2017 to total $357 billion while IT services spending is on pace to increase 4.8 percent in 2017 to reach $943 billion.
Hosted Services Continue to be a Priority
Enterprises are increasingly embracing the cloud model. In 2017, industry reports suggest that worldwide spending on hardware and software projects will both decrease by 2 percentage points, while budget allocations going towards hosted/cloud-based services will increase by 3 percentage points. This subtle shift is just another indicator that enterprises are transitioning some on-premises hardware and associated costs to cloud services.
Quite obviously, if we delve deeper into specific areas of focus, there are quite a few more developments that have huge potential to trend through the next year. However, what you read is the list of the emerging concepts that enterprises would largely witness gaining more grounds and flourishing in 2017. Building on the existing foundational solutions that are prevalent today, these new technologies, platforms and concepts have been steadfastly progressing to finally be on the cusp of going mainstream and widespread adoption.