5 Technology Trends in 2017

2017 IT Trends

2016 saw Cybersecurity, Disaster Recovery, and IT Managed Services emerge as topics that dominated the tech landscape. While we fully expect these areas to remain at the forefront of technology conversations in 2017, we also know that new trends will emerge to demand our attention and have the potential to disrupt our business and IT strategies.

A recent Gartner report focuses on ten technology trends that they predict will have increasing importance in the future of the intelligent digital mesh (the interaction between people, devices, content and services). In today’s blog, we highlight 5 of those trends that we find of particular interest:

Intelligent Things

What it is: Intelligent things are physical objects that are capable of exceeding traditional programming limitations through applied artificial intelligence (AI). This technology allows for advanced behaviors and interactions with the object’s surroundings. Intelligent things fall in to three broad categories: robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles.

What Gartner says: “We expect a shift from stand-alone intelligent things to a collaborative intelligent things model. In this model, multiple devices will work together, either independently of people or with human input.”

What to watch for: Projects in 2017 such as the U.S. National Robotics Initiative are pushing intelligent things even further. Businesses can expect to see programs that create outcome journey maps to identify future opportunities.

Blockchain & Distributed Ledgers

What it is: Both blockchain and distributed ledgers are the future of transactional records. A distributed ledger allows anyone with access to trace transactional events to both specific points in time and participants. Blockchain ledgers combine value-exchange transactions into blocks. Each block is recorded across a “peer-to-peer” network.

What Gartner says: “Blockchain and distributed-ledger concepts are gaining attention, because they hold the promise to transform industry operating models. Multiple business use cases are yet to be proven, but 52% of those we surveyed believe that blockchains will affect their business.”

What to watch for: Blockchain will begin moving out of the development phase and into the market as companies from all industries begin to see the potential use to power transactions. The latest versions of distributed ledgers involve assets, data, and executable programs which allow customizable applications. Today, bitcoin is the only proven blockchain ledger.

Adaptive Security Architecture

What it is: 2016 shed light on the overwhelming need for businesses to take a serious look into how they are guarded against cyber threats. The “hacker industry” uses increasingly sophisticated tools that constantly challenge security providers to think of new and stronger defenses.

What Gartner says: “Traditional infrastructure and perimeter protection technologies can't ensure accurate detection of application vulnerabilities and protection against application-level attacks. […] Therefore, technologies are emerging that enable application security self-testing, self-diagnostics and self-protection.”

What to watch for: Adaptive security architecture ensures that a device’s hardware and software are resistant to attacks and are secure. The system will also closely monitor API access to systems as well as establish security technologies as a baseline to secure all platforms.

Digital Technology Platforms

What it is: Digital technology platforms are the basic building blocks for digital businesses. They provide a set of services that can be brought together to create applications with the function of making business operations easier and less complex.

What Gartner says: “We have identified five major digital technology platform types to enable the new capabilities and business models of digital business: Information system platform, customer experience platform, analytics & intelligence platform, IoT platform, and business ecosystem platform.”

What to watch for: Many technology providers are already beginning to experiment with different digital technology platforms. This trend will continue once businesses see the benefit of operating their corporation’s activity with highly sophisticated technology designed specifically to the functions they require.

Conversational Systems

What it is: A conversational system is a design model which allows a person to interact and communicate with a machine in an informal manner. Simple phrases like “stop” or “what time is it?” are examples, however, machines with advanced conversational systems will be able to understand and respond to more complex directives.

What Gartner says: “The conversational technology from major technology providers such as Apple (Siri), Google (Google Now), Amazon (Alexa) and Microsoft (Cortana) will deliver an increasingly intelligent contextual experience. This will act as an intermediary service between users and the rapidly growing set of apps and content on their mobile devices and in the cloud.”

What to watch for: While technology like this has been around for some time, 2017 will see it rapidly evolve.  It will expand upon the idea that one command has one response and instead create a continuous conversation style user experience.

Preparing for 2017

As 2017 unfolds it will be interesting to see how these trends evolve and how that evolution impacts the way businesses operate. One thing that remains clear is that the creation and proliferation of business data will continue and that will put greater demands on businesses’ IT infrastructure creating an even greater need for organizations to work towards Business Efficient IT.