2017 Technology Trends to Watch

It’s no secret that digital technologies are becoming more pervasive and more critical to success. Here’s a look at some top 2017 information technology trends.

AI and Machine Learning Go Mainstream

Artificial intelligence will become a “first-class citizen in the enterprise, redefining the workplace,” predicts Marc Carrel-Billiard, senior managing director of Global Technology Research & Development at Accenture. Emerging AI areas include computer vision, natural-language processing, machine learning, deep learning, knowledge representation, expert systems, biometrics and video analytics.

“Due in large part to rapid advances in digital technology, including the plummeting cost of compute and storage, technology development is revolutionizing business and society,” he adds.

Accenture’s Technology Vision 2016 survey found that 70 percent of corporate executives are making significantly more investments in artificial intelligence-related technologies than they did two years ago, with 55 percent stating that they plan to use machine learning and embedded artificial intelligence. Accenture also released research that demonstrates AI has the potential to double economic growth rates by 2035, increasing labor productivity by up to 40 percent.

The Internet of Things Gains Momentum

Hype notwithstanding, the IoT is here, and it’s impacting virtually every sector of the economy. “In 2017, the internet of things will continue to be an accelerator for innovation and change,” states Frank Diana, principal, Future of Business at Tata Consultancy Services. “It will become the foundational piece of several emerging future scenarios: autonomous vehicles, smart homes, smart cities, connected health care and an energy internet.”

Diana adds that the IoT “will continue to blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds” and will drive new conversations and ideas across horizontal ecosystems. This “will require cross-industry stakeholders to collaborate, create and capture value,” he notes.

Meanwhile, Craig McNeil, IoT practice lead at Accenture Mobility, part of Accenture Digital, states that “2017 will be the year for competitive advantages in IoT. It will be the year when those companies that start to implement it on a larger scale define their competitive advantage.” By the end of 2018, he expects that many companies will have implemented at least one IoT pilot, if not more. These will range from “small, limited experiments to larger scale roll-outs in their business.”

The takeaway? “This means that 2017 must be the year of IoT education for consumers,” McNeil advises. “Guidance must be clear about changing passwords on devices and keeping networks safe, and progress must be made on standards for security within the industry.”

More Advanced Cyber-Security Takes Shape

The steady uptick in cyber-attacks and the increasingly risky and destructive nature of breaches—including the use of ransomware and cyber-espionage—has sent jolts through organizations throughout the world. It’s painfully clear that traditional perimeter-based security approaches no longer work. Making matters worse, hacking for hire is on the rise.

“We are seeing many new forms of weaponized malware that can easily be purchased by relatively unsophisticated actors,” notes Andrew Serwin, a partner at the law firm of Morrison Foerster. “This means that companies will likely be under attack more and more, as the tools of the hacking trade become ubiquitous.”

The IoT and increasingly linked systems point to even greater challenges. “Security is not just about protecting data, it’s also about protecting your computing resources from being used by others as an attack platform,” states Dan Logan, director of enterprise and security architecture at Tata Consultancy Services. He says there’s a need to update risk management frameworks to ensure organizations are not only are protecting critical data, but also guarding the underlying compute platform—especially devices at the edge of the perimeter where attackers can gain access.