Digital Trends of 2017
2016 was a dynamic year for a number reasons, ranging from an unconventional U.S. presidential election to high profile celebrity deaths. However, in the world of technology, we are always looking forward and hope to findinspiration in the latest trends, innovation and technological breakthroughs.
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Ongoing developments in AI, smart phone technology, virtual and augmented reality and consumer electronics are continuing to blossom which makes 2017 as exciting a year as ever for us tech lovers.
So what sort of trends can we expect to see continue in 2017?
1.AR and VR.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augment Reality (AR) have made a comeback to mainstream thought in 2016 and are expected to get stronger in the coming year. We've already seen some major steps forward in the VR/AR space with the Oculus Rift released in Q1 2016. The growing interest particularly in VR/AR gaming (think Pokémon Go) suggests the market is ready for larger scale implementation of this exciting technology.
Firstly, you may be asking - what is machine learning? Well, machine learning is a type of AI technology that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed to do so and focuses on the development of computer programs that can change when exposed to new data.
Machine learning has taken some significant steps in the past few years, to the point where it is now built into Google core search engine algorithms. Throughout 2017, tech experts predict machine learning to emerge across the board, entering a broad range of consumer applications. It is capable ofproviding better recommended products tailored to customer shopping patterns, to improving user application experience. It won’t be long until machine learning becomes a new norm for the way we use consumer tech.
Technology continually strives to increase automation and 2017 no different. With advanced technology enabling the automation of previously human-exclusive tasks, it is likely that across the board implementation of automated technology will see productivity rapidly increase, increasing the desire for decision makers to make the switch as soon as possible. Automation combined with machine learning creates a powerful disruptive force for many industries.
Big Data on its own is not a "new" trend, as it's been a hot topic for the last 5 years. The fact that it makes the list proves the importance of Big Data and how advances in measuring, gathering, interpreting and implementation can help disrupt and improve almost any business. A big change in Big Data however is identifying that its biggest strength - its quantitative and numerical focus - is also a weakness. Hence 2017 expects to develop the idea of "Humanized Big Data" - that is using the quantitative data as the backbone and applying qualitative and empathetic approaches to visualise the significance of the data to the average person.
When Steve Jobs advanced the development of the personal computer, he reinforced the notion that computer technology will one day be an extension of the human person.
Mobile devices and smartphone technology have become so ingrained into our daily lives that we can access practically an infinite amount of information in the real-world. Whilst we already have access to things like site-to-store purchasing, 2017 expects to take this to the next level by more closely integrating physical and digital realities. Online brands like Amazon are expected to roll out physical products like dash buttons, where as other major retailers are expanding their digital interface with (in-store maps and digital product trials where applicable).
Let's face it, despite what we may think, the majority of us are impatient and want things done as soon as possible. With this sort of thinking, it's no surprise a big focus of tech is to facilitate this for the consumer. Thanks to powerhouse start-ups like Uber, we are getting used to having everything on demand. (Even Google have implemented suggestions on demand, to reduce the time wasted on thinking about what you want to search!)As we already have on-demand apps for transport, food delivery and accommodation, be prepared for 2017 to take everything-on-demand into new and exciting territories.
Whilst predicting trends in any industry, particularly the tech industry, can be a hazardous exercise, it still pays to keep an eye on and forecast what's coming up next so you can prepare yourself for the next big thing. And besides, for those who just love tech, it's always exciting and inspiring to look forward to the possible trends and breakthroughs that are just around the corner.