2017 was an interesting year in business innovation with emerging technologies being more widely implemented into many global company business models. Cutting edge technology like AI, IoT, Big Data and robotics are becoming more of a mainstream expectation than an elusive concept or exception. While development and progress in these fields is inevitable, on their own they will ultimately remain limited in their capabilities. In order to truly progress and make the most of each of these technologies — a more holistic view of them, as part of a bigger picture, will need to be embraced more widely.
Individually, each of these innovative technologies holds truly incredible opportunities for more than just business. Join me as I explore where, in fact, the real benefit to society and business will likely come from in the near future.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
An obvious prediction, but significant nonetheless, is the advancement and growth of AI and its application in a growing number of fields. While 2017 has seen notable advancements in the space, many of the deployments leveraging AI technology up to now have been on a small scale. With some of the world’s biggest entities focused on advancing the use and application of this tech we can expect its use to ramp up significantly, with further advances in logistics, self-driving vehicles, personal assistant applications, business intelligence and healthcare, to name a few.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Up until now, the greatest applications of augmented reality (AR) have been in gaming, but with so many potential applications for its use (from content experiences to data visualisation) it’s hard to imagine many industries that would not benefit from its development and application in the coming year. Definitely one to watch, as we see its use and application increase significantly across the board.
Big Data Visualisation
With the prolific event of big data and machine learning the need for improved ways to process and utilise the data is increasing desperately, hence 2018 will continue to see the evolution of big data analytics tools, as the range of technologies for analysing vast volumes of data into actionable intelligence expands.
Internet of things (IoT)
IoT as a term will become redundant as it moves swiftly into the norm. It has, arguably, already become common place for our ‘things’ to be connected to the internet to facilitate the exchange of data and drive improvement. While development in this field is inevitable, it poses real problems with security, as well as in the processing of the vast amounts of data it is producing. In the near future, in order for true advancement to be harnessed, it will need to evolve quickly from the silo of a single domain technology to converge with supporting technologies. Ones that can help combat these issues. The good news is that, at the same time as these issues are becoming apparent, the potential solutions are also raising their heads from the world of technological innovation.
Blockchain, while one of the newest technological innovations, arguably holds the potential to be one of the most disruptive. Its potential for revolution in the way data is held, managed and accessed will revolutionise much more than just the financial services industry. Although Blockchain’s potential is starting to get recognition in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing and supply chain — the greatest benefits will stem from the potential it has to provide the security needed for other emerging technologies like big data, IoT and AI as they grow. Blockchain technology essentially has the potential to rebuild the underpinnings of the internet for a safer and more secure transition into a truly smarter world.
The Great Tech Convergence
Up until now our ‘cutting edge’ technologies — AI, Augmented Reality, VR, IoT, Big Data Analytics and Blockchain — have existed as separate technologies with separate applications. This was largely necessary in order to develop and progress these technologies to the capabilities they have now reached. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that the convergence of these technologies is now the call of the day. The natural coming together of these technologies, as companies begin to explore how they might complement each other to drive greater value, will explode to create something far bigger than the sum of its parts.
So while 2018 will see technologies and concepts that have existed for some time continue to develop, reach maturity and fulfil their promise; it is the convergence of these technologies that will truly allow exponential progress and excel their use into more powerful applications. Applications that will fundamentally change the way work is done and accelerate progression in new industries in ways we can only imagine.