Technology made big strides in 2016 on several fronts. Some were sustaining innovations built on previous breakthroughs (iPhone 7) and others broke new ground altogether (augmented reality in everyone’s hands with Pokémon Go). Here are three technologies that will leap forward in 2017.
The Cloud (R)Evolution
For some, cloud is still revolutionary. For others, it’s a way of life that just gets better every year. Two aspects are progressing: capabilities and attitudes. On one hand, the cloud is meeting more and more requirements. On the other, people are looking at it with a fresh attitude. The result: whole industries that some predicted would never go to the cloud are now using it for a wide variety of services.
Data residency is a requirement that is being met better by the break-neck expansion of cloud providers and regions. Borders are mattering less with AWS now in China and AliCloud coming to America. Plus, the requirement itself is being challenged more often (does our data really need to be here?).
The Machines Wake Up
With the thaw in the artificial intelligence winter, machine learning is behind the scenes doing more and more of the (usually mundane) jobs that people are either not very willing or not able to do. The most famous display was the IBM Watson victory on Jeopardy – and now various IBM Watson modules can be easily accessed through various IBM Bluemix services.
Healthcare is the first killer app, as very complex problems are faced by doctors with various backgrounds. Augmenting their judgement with relevant information will benefit everyone, immediately.
Do You Want to Play a Game?
Another term that’s been stretched to fit a variety of definitions is virtual reality. “Gamification” or “serious gaming” are rough terms that simply mean technology previously used for fun can now be used for work. Enterprises from automotive to real estate to military simulation are making use of game engines to engage customers and employees alike.
Real estate is something that has been cumbersome to see first hand, especially if it hasn’t been built yet. Virtual fly throughs, whether on a screen or in a VR headset, are taking the imagination out of what a new home or office will actually look like.
Of course, these are not independent developments. There are examples of gaming engines running on the cloud and connecting to bots in the background. Technology that helped your kids catch Pokémon in 2016 will help you do your job in 2017.