7 Business Technology Trends to Look Out for in 2017

February 16th, 2017 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Aaron O'Keeffe

2016 went by in a flash. The cloud continued to be integrated with businesses across the globe, Samsung added the expensive Note 7 failure to their ledger, and Google surprised everyone by getting into the phone game at the latest – but maybe best – possible time.

2017 is set to be the year of VR, AI, Big Data and IoT. Don’t know what that all means? Check out these business technology trend predictions for 2017:

1) Augmented and Virtual Reality for Business

It seems like it has been decades in the making, but Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is finally at a point where technology can support our expectations for augmented experiences.

How this will manifest in the workplace and for companies is likely to be an ongoing experiment for a while. History has shown that whenever new technology trickles into enterprise, there’s a lot of business cases touted and only a few that land a knockout punch.  But those looking for examples are recommended to keep your eyes on Amazon Go as a precursor to what other businesses will be able to do with AR and VR tech.

2) Machine learning and big data

The big tech companies have been nursing their artificial intelligence (AI) babies through infancy and are now ready to unleash them on the world. Google’s foray into the smartphone market with its rebranded Pixel phones touted the intelligent Google Assistant as a key selling point (though it’s available to anyone who can download Allo). While this was a consumer-focused move, it does signal that Cortana (MS), Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon) and Watson (IBM) are finally ready to duke it out for our business.

When it comes to what machine learning and artificial intelligence can do at enterprise level, we’ve only just scratched the surface. Segmenting and verifying big data so that it’s comprehensible for the general population remains a huge task. At Small and Medium Business (SMB) level, AI assistants can provide basic customer service to both internal staff and customers.

Tech giants have been trying to make AI more relevant for years. It’s been a race to maturity but 2017 will be the year when we finally start to see the benefits hit businesses in a more compelling way.

3) Cloud first strategies will become a thing

Remember when smartphones came along? At first it seemed unlikely they’d replace our browsing habits on laptops and desktops, largely because the technology simply wasn’t mature enough. Now we have mobile-first web strategies and app ecosystems dominating the market.

Cloud architecture has followed a similar trajectory. As businesses become increasingly comfortable in the cloud and small startups challenge legacy operations by being more lean and scalable, enterprise will shift focus from simply ‘How do we save money in the cloud?’ to ‘What’s our forward moving cloud strategy?’

Cloud first will become a bit of a buzzword, so you might as well start using it now. If you’re really into tech buzzwords, Forbes is talking about fog computing as well, though we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

4) IoT anxieties and cybersecurity

We only have to turn our eyes to the Trump election and hacking events in US politics to realise cybersecurity (or a lack thereof) is a large part of our everyday experience.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) showing Moore’s Law levels of duplication, there’s going to be a lot of anxiety about the ethics, control and policing on the millions of interconnected sensors and devices populating our world.

Expect 2017 to bring this argument into the mainstream as the effects filter through enterprise level platforms, and make sure your business is ready for potential IoT problems.

5) Virtual Private Assistants, Chatbots, Intelligent Apps and Intelligent Things

OK, so chances are these won’t all make the grade, becoming something more of a blended idea over time – but with the power of machine learning we’re going to see Artificial Intelligence integrated with just about everything.

Virtual Private Assistants (VPA), Chatbots and Intelligent apps are essentially software that incorporate machine learning to take over part of the role of an actual assistant, while Intelligent Things are physical objects powered by machine learning and AI. Drones are an example of Intelligent Things.

While we won’t know the full extent of impact of machine learning on business in 2017, we will see the conversation shift to a mainstream concern.

6) Blockchain distributed ledgers

Blockchain is a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions that have ever been executed, making it a key component of the digital currency effectiveness.

As a distributed ledger, Blockchain sequentially groups value exchange transactions, making monetary systems more transparent, easier to manage, decentralised, and more resistant to manipulation and ultimately corruption.

From financial services to media distribution and identity verification, there are a whole raft of unexplored uses for this revolutionary technology. IT Business Edge thinks Blockchain will be a transformative force in many industries, but in 2017 we’ll only scratch the surface.

7) Everything as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (Saas) have expanded considerably in the past few years. These are more than just industry buzzwords – they’re dominating paradigms in computing, technology and business. 2017 will see this process mimicked across a number of industries.

Everything as a Service (EaaS) will see us buying less and subscribing more. Stuff will get cheaper, but there will be more repeat bills. Think Netflix, but for everything.

Where to first?

The first consideration for businesses is to ensure that you have a stable internet connection that is capable of scaling with the technological advances of 2017. To speak with the experts on your internet needs, contact Aussie Broadband today.

About the author

Aaron O'Keeffe

Aaron works from an office in the tropical Northern Territory, inciting intense jealousy from his Victorian workmates during winter. He’s an expert in IT solutions from the ground up. Aaron is National Sales Manager of Aussie Broadband, which specialises in bespoke telco solutions for corporate and government customers.