Every year is an exciting year in tech but 2017 looks to have more potential than others. From smart homes, advances in AI, virtual reality to IT security and encryption, there is a lot to look forward to this coming year. Here are just a few things the guys at Dave’s Computers think are going to be big news for the coming twelve months.
The Trump effect
First let us handle the elephant in the room. The next four or eight years under Trump. We have all seen the image of Tim Cook looking less than pleased at a meeting at Trump Tower and all feel a little nervous as to what’s coming.
We aren’t political so have no axe to grind, but there is already animosity between Silicon Valley and the Trump administration. We think this will play out during 2017, hopefully resulting in a mutually beneficial agreement or agreement to disagree. Tech companies are a pragmatic bunch and now Trump is being managed rather than given free rein to say whatever he feels like, there should be a compromise reached nice and early. We hope.
With the rise and rise of Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit and others, we think the smart home will continue to grow. Not only including things like smart lighting, but incorporating the home hubs mentioned above, intelligent combinations of the Internet of Things, IFTTT integration and all that good stuff to create a truly smart home for not a lot of money.
We use our cellphones for everything now and that shows no signs of slowing. We think mobile shopping using a smartphone is going to continue to grow. This is especially true if the move towards augmented reality includes mobile engagement. The shopper is getting savvier and will go where and when they like to buy what they want. The smartphone enables that.
The drive towards AI is going to continue apace during 2017. Google have already made huge leaps with Google Translate and Amazon Alexa is becoming cleverer daily. Advances like these are just the tip of the iceberg. Now the principle has been proven, as has the appetite for buying the stuff, development and competing products are going to appear regularly.
On the back of AI comes the virtual assistant. Alexa is a virtual assistant, so is Siri, Cortana and Google Now. They have ‘helped’ us with our tech for a couple of years now but thanks to some serious advances, they are becoming more useful. The rumored Samsung Galaxy S8 and Viv is set to take the virtual assistant to a whole new level.
Now the groundwork has been laid and people have bought into VR, it is going to become more popular and more comfortable to use this year. The Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony’s PlayStation VR are all proving that we want the technology and each will likely advance quickly this year as well as gain more competition.
VR isn’t the only game in town. As Pokémon Go proved, there is a huge appetite for augmented reality. Not just for games but for shopping, learning and business. Apple is betting on AR over VR and is actively investing in it. Google Tango is enabling Android phones to play with AR too, so the future is looking bright for augmented reality.
Personally, I think the auto industry is trying to force us into a product not many of us want with autonomous driving. I don’t want to be driven, I want to drive. I enjoy the experience, I enjoy the time away from work and seeing the country. Sure I spend a lot of time in traffic, but I have no interest whatsoever in self-driving cars. Yet it seems some automakers want us all to own one. We expect that push to increase during the year.
The continued rise of blockchain
Blockchain is going to continue to grow, especially in business. It has potential for revolutionizing file management, copyright, digital currencies, big data and even version controlling the internet. It has huge potential for enterprise, government and anyone who wants to track data.
Just as we are learning to use AI to make our lives easier, criminals are utilizing it to drive their own efforts. I think this trend will grow as some groups already offer leased servers to control botnets, malware and other malicious code. This is the year when security companies mount a credible defense against such attacks. Our security software may change completely as a result. This piece in the New York Times is a good read on the subject.
Encryption as an essential
On the back of increased sophistication from criminals, encryption is going to shift from a ‘nice to have’ to an essential part of our IT security. Given the high profile of encryption last year in the news, more encrypted chat apps, the rise of Signal and the ease of integrating encryption into everyday computing and phones, there really is no excuse.
The war of the drones
Drones have been huge so far with individuals, companies, movie and TV studios and other enterprises all getting in on the act. Drones were some of the bestselling tech of 2016. With advances in stability, portability and ability, that is set to continue during this year. Drone racing is rapidly becoming a thing too and will likely be appearing on a screen near you soon.
The victory of the app
With the rumored IPO of Snapchat being worth billions, the popularity of the app outshone Facebook by a significant margin. I reckon that trend will continue throughout this year. The incumbents will suffer due to lack of innovation while upstart apps and tech will thrive. Snapchat Spectacles are just one way the market is being shaken up by the newcomer.
2 in 1 computers
Our final prediction is that the 2-in-1 computer is going to get bigger. With Microsoft Studio recently released and a swathe of competing machines in the works or in the market, the convenience and increase potential of this form factor is going to grow. In a market where the desire for convenience beats customizability eight times out of ten, this is the way home and small business computing is going.
Do you have any predictions for the coming year? Tell us about them below!