Socially, politically, and economically, 2016 brought significant changes across the world. From a location-based augmented reality game and self-navigating vehicles to a distributed database providing unprecedented digital security and factories powered by connected machines, people, processes, and products, a variety of technology megatrends has forever changed how we run businesses and engage with each other and with the brands we love.
Here are a few of the tech trends that took us by storm:
1. Augmented reality (AR)
What happens when the real world is boosted by significant, relevant information? There is greater meaning in everything we do and experience.
Different hardware, software, and algorithms came together to make AR a complete experience. There are countless ways in which it can be utilized – such as education, gaming, medicine, navigation, and aerospace and defense.
2. Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Without a doubt, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are simmering entities in the modern context of Big Data, analytics, and the overall digital revolution. AI, in layman’s terms, infuses human intelligence as machines and computers run processes. As an offshoot of AI, machine learning allows devices and computers to gradually learn and make sense of data without being explicitly programmed to do something.
AI and machine learning are opening a host of opportunities to learn and experiment such as medicine, legal services, social advertising, news media, biotechnology, and unbiased recruitment.
3. Advanced collaborative analytics
For years, basic business intelligence and tools have enabled people of all roles to analyze data and derive trends, generate reports, or access useful information. However, with the advent of advanced and collaborative analytics, it is now possible to create predictive and prescriptive insights out of the zillions of buckets of data that is now generated every day from various sources.
The induction of collaboration into the field of analytics helps ensure that processes no longer contain data silos by incorporating information sharing, iteration, and cooperation to achieve common goals.
Bitcoin, as crypto-currency, has been quite popular over the past few years for several reasons – both right and wrong. However, the real value of this innovation lies in the public distribution ledger called blockchain.
The distributed network keeps the ledger secure as transactions are marked permanent and no central authority is required. This technology has the potential to change how we manage everything from stocks, digital assets, and financial services to cloud storage, voting, and legislation.
5. Autonomous driving
2016 is the year self-driving cars shifted gears and took to the wheel. Although many are still conceptual, autonomous vehicles have caught the attention of the commuting public in all the right ways and for all the right reasons.
From Tesla and Google to Audi and Volvo, technology giants and automakers are taking the plunge in this driverless realm. These autonomous vehicles do not require human input since they thrive on built-in intelligence to sense the surroundings and navigate through several technologies such as GPS, Sonar, Lidar, and powerful cameras.
The sooner the concept turns into reality, the entire business model and supply chain could be revolutionized. With the rising number of car accidents suggesting that humans are not necessarily the best drivers, the day might not be far when non-texting, non-drinking, robotic self-driving substitutes will take over the wheel.
6. Smart factories
The inception of Industry 4.0 pivoting around cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, and the cloud is transforming the manufacturing industry. No longer will plant floors operate in isolation. Instead, every part and process – from the turn of the tiniest cog to the analysis of profit in the boardroom – will be connected.
With ample research and setups in progress, the factory of the future is closer than what we think. By leveraging various systems and technologies, with state-of-the-art integration and hyperconnectivity, companies can find reliable solutions for delivering higher productivity, lower costs, increased profit, greater security, and improved product quality.
What effect will these trends have on our lives in future? What are the pros and cons? What novel fads will 2017 bring? We’ll need to keep our eyes, minds, and imaginations open to let the technology breeze waft in and reveal the possibilities.
For more insight on future tech, see Gartner’s Top 10 Tech Trends You Can’t Afford To Ignore In 2017.
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