Top 10 tech trends for 2017

What will be some of the biggest tech trends in 2017?

Technology is a huge factor in the world at the moment but how will it affect businesses? We spoke to various companies to see what they thought the top tech trends of 2017 will be.

1. Drones and Robotics will disrupt the insurance industry

Simon Perry, Insurance Matter Expert, GMC Software:

“Insurers must keep up with increased customer expectations. To succeed, they must ensure they’re able to capture data and information from new gadgets and technology, so they can better serve their customers and provide personalised and accurate policies.”

“Recent research from GMC Software found that more than half (56 per cent) of people would like their insurer to use new technology - such as health monitors and connected cars - to provide a more accurate premium. Insurers who fail to capitalise on this opportunity will be at a loss, especially as new technology continues to develop.”

2. Augmented reality will be the new enterprise reality

Darren Hardman, UK General Manager, Avanade:

“In 2017, organisations should be experimenting widely with augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies in order to be prepared for the future workforce. AR, VR, and MR are rapidly moving from the gaming and consumer domain to the enterprise at a rapid rate, as leading companies embrace the technologies to improve collaboration, enable employees, and engage better with their customers.”

“For example, AR allows an employee repairing or installing a new device or piece of equipment to receive highly visual step-by-step guidance virtually to complete the task, maximising productivity and limiting risks. The AR experience made famous by Pokémon is now also poised to transform the way companies engage with customers. Gartner predicts that by 2020, nearly 100 million customers will shop in an AR setting and 71 per cent of shoppers expect to view in-store inventory online. This is why, in 2017, enterprises in the UK should start experimenting with AR, VR, and MR technologies to understand how best to apply them within their organisation.”

3. Automation to go mainstream

Jim Bowes, CEO and Founder of Manifesto:

“With the arrival of Amazon Echo, voice control is no longer something of the future; it is now very feasible and useful, making the idea of automation mainstream. On top of this, the linking up of Amazon Echo with products like Nest or Hive, brands like Dominos and the arrival of chatbots, means that the concepts that have now been around quite some time are finally possible and will fuel marketing in 2017.

Over the next five years, a lot of the tasks we currently perform manually will be automated. Soon, setting alarms, changing heating, ordering a pizza with your voice will all be very normal things, which makes the idea of self-driving cars start to feel really quite close too - something the majority of people currently find hard to believe.”

4. Cyber-attacks could lead to more investment in security

Calum Paterson, Managing Partner at venture capital investor Scottish Equity Partners:

“Given recent high profile data security breaches our prediction for 2017 is for an increase in investment activity around cyber security. We are already seeing a number of very interesting proposals in this area. Opportunistic attacks, including data theft and destruction or targeted fraud are on the rise.”

“In addition to reputational damage for enterprise and detrimental impact on revenues, there is a growing risk of customer class actions against companies who have not taken adequate steps to protect customer data against a cyber-attack. Increasingly, companies are looking to adopt innovative technologies like cloud-enabled cybersecurity, Big Data analytics and advanced authentication to reduce cyber-risks and improve cybersecurity programmes.”

5. Ransomware will become a massive threat

Peter Bauer, CEO and co-founder at Mimecast:

“Ransomware will explode to become one of the biggest threats, fuelled by smaller ‘opportunist’ attackers using off-the-shelf kits to deploy malware. This is an easy and cheap attack method that produces fruitful results. Few organisations have effective defences against this type of malware and now with bitcoins enabling the perpetrators to increase distance from their victims further, it has never been so easy to get away with it.” 

“In the coming year, we should also expect more crypto-lockers and evolving forms of ransomware that deny access to desktops, network drives and cloud services. And just as you focus your attention on ransomware issues you can’t be caught off guard by adversaries impersonating the CEO to transfer thousands of dollars to an offshore account or by basic phishing attacks that will cause employees to launch attacks on your organisation.” 

6. Technology set to eliminate the most time consuming jobs

Andy Bottrill, Regional Vice President, BlackLine:

“An automated accounting landscape significantly changes the role of the accountant – but not in the way you may think. Many are concerned that technology will eliminate jobs, while in fact, it will eliminate the most time-consuming, manual processes that prevent accountants from delivering the strategy and analysis that drew them to this profession in the first place. It takes nine days, on average, for most Finance & Accounting organisations to close, consolidate and report the financial data, according to the Hackett Group. Top performing companies consume five days to accomplish the same processes, due to their detailed closing calendars, policies and procedures, and tight adherence to key performance measures used to track the efficiency of the account-to-report process.”

“Leveraging technology not only improves the efficiency that accountants need to deliver insightful intelligence, but it creates real-time access to financial data so that reporting and analysis can be done continuously.”

7. Businesses need to commit to the digital economy

Rowan Scranage, EMEA VP, Couchbase:

“The new economy is driving disruption in all industries; from Amazon changing the way we shop, to Uber changing the way we travel, to Netflix changing the way we watch TV. Banking is a great example. Finance is fast becoming digital first, and it’s only a matter of time before it’s digital only. Many future generations will never step foot inside a physical bank branch and, with contactless payments, bitcoin and blockchain, money itself is becoming increasingly digital, to the point of abstraction. 2017 will see the logical progression of this trend, whereby the fintech start-ups utilising emerging technologies such as blockchain become more mainstream. Left in their wake will be the big banks that can’t cater to the digital economy.”

8. Integration of Cloud platforms will be at the forefront of business transformation

Mike Sewart, Director of Fujitsu Digital, at Fujitsu EMEIA:

“2017 will start to see more Cloud platforms than ever before come together to provide business services for the Enterprise. Public Cloud platforms are maturing, and we are seeing more opportunities for organisations to integrate multiple public and private cloud services into their legacy systems. Soon, businesses who don’t adopt Cloud platforms will risk falling behind competitors and face high costs – organisations can no longer afford to rely on legacy systems. The challenge now comes in integrating the legacy estate into an ecosystem of 3rd party Public Cloud platforms in a seamless way, that all provide “best of breed” business services.”

9. Facial recognition technology provides serious privacy implications

Robert McFarlane, head of labs at digital agency Head:

“One area with serious privacy implications that will develop next year is facial recognition technology. You can already take a photo of someone, upload into Google Image Search and probably get something back from a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profile picture. As the process is simplified and streamlined, facial recognition will increasingly invite stalking and unwanted attention.”

“Giving facial recognition technology to the authorities for the sole purpose of reducing crime is a tactic I just don’t buy. It’s well known, for example, that people from ethnic minorities are more likely to get inaccurate matches, resulting in many innocent people being arrested. Then there’s the notion of an even bigger brother monitoring us, affecting how we behave in public spaces and how we legally protest in groups. Can we be assured that the facial recognition data won’t be shared with authorities? Or do we face the prospect of someone kicking down your door because you look a little bit like someone else?”

10. Software will need to add more than just visualisation

Tom Cahill, VP EMEA, Logi Analytics:

“Visualizations are being commoditized. Amazon and Google have both released near-free offerings that offer their users basic visualizations. We believe this trend will continue and it will drive down the perceived value of visualizations in general, including those embedded within software. Instead, software vendors must consider which sophisticated requirements will be most appealing to their users and prospects, and focus on bringing them to market to drive value. Advanced features include: white-labeling embedded analytics so they look and feel like your app, enabling direct data connection to allow for immediate database write-back, or providing in-app self-service tools that allow for data exploration by end users.”

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