2017 Technology Trends to Watch

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print
Technology Trends

Here are five tech and business trends to watch this year: artificial intelligence, internet of things, cyber-security, mobile-first and predictive analytics.

Social engineering attacks remain one of the top cyber-security issues in 2017, says Dan Boneh, professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He suggests that enterprises focus more heavily on two-factor authentication and application white-listing to "make the attacker's job harder," though a server-side compromise that spills the credentials may put all accounts and data at risk.

Ultimately, Boneh says, organizations must adopt a "broad defense strategy." This, other security experts point out, also includes keeping an eye on AI, deep learning and advanced analytics.

Mobile-First and Near-Zero Interfaces Evolve

With more than half of all consumers and employees accessing data via mobile devices at any given moment, the concept of mobile-first has clearly hit the mainstream. Yet, designing systems to operate in a mobile-first and zero or near-zero interface world is a growing challenge—and one that promises to command attention in the coming year. (Zero or near-zero interfaces are intuitive and seamless. They require little or no human interaction with a device, such as tapping on a smartphone or using voice commands. Interactions could take place with gestures or from one machine to another, such as using your smartphone to buy something.)

There's a need to focus on a wide array of technologies—speech recognition, imaging recognition, geolocation and much more—and build features into smartphone apps and other tools, all while the field continues to develop.

But there's also a need to think about things in a broader way, says Tony Fross, vice president and North America practice leader of digital strategy at Capgemini. "On the question of interface versus zero interface, it's interesting to look at wearables, specifically the smartwatch, to understand a triumph of form over function," he explains. "The low adoption of the smartwatch speaks to its lack of real utility. However, smartwatches help demonstrate how zero Interface and wearables will converge to bring together AI and voice recognition within range of a mobile consumer."

How should business and IT leaders address the topic? "Moving forward, the best experience design strategy is 'context first,' where any internet-connected device with GPS can be at the center of communication with users," Fross says. "We see this most recently with the launch of Amazon Go, which is, to date, the best example of how mobile-first is morphing into context-first experience design."

Predictive Analytics Makes Advances

By now it's clear that analytics—especially predictive analytics—is at the center of digital transformation. Scott Schlesinger, a principal at EY IT Advisory, says that business and IT leaders should focus on three key areas.

First, self-service, business-led analytics empowers end users to do more. "This frees up the IT team to focus more on the data side, ensuring that it is complete, accurate and available to those in the business they support," he says.

Second, enterprisewide analytics is gaining momentum versus departmental and regional initiatives. "No longer are we simply seeing single use case initiatives buried in a silo," Schlesinger says.

And, third, analytics should be based on all available data, rather than specific subsets of data.

"This leverages technology to integrate emerging technology solutions with legacy technology investments so that analytics can be run across the broad spectrum of data and provide a 360-degree view of what is happening, or may happen, within the organization, with a competitor, in the market and more," Schlesinger explains.

This article was originally published on 2017-01-09
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).
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