Last year was a big one for digital technology. 2017 is going to have to be pretty special to match up.
That said, based on my conversations with colleagues and customers I’m confident we’ll see some very interesting developments in the coming months.
Here are my top four digital predictions for 2017…
1. The VR and AR markets will mature
Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) are nothing new (as any Red Dwarf fan will attest to!). But thanks to better software & hardware integration these technologies are now far more available and accessible.
This year we’ll see more industries adopting VR and AR, from manufacturing to logistics and utilities. Wearable technology will play a big part in this, and we can hopefully say goodbye to the clunky combination of fragmented hardware and separate software.
We could see improved safety as a result, with workers using AR technology to provide clear instructions immediately and without the need for human-to-human training.
Or in warehousing we could see the use of AR devices to optimise stock-picking, with workers wearing smart glasses that provide directions while enabling them to use both hands.
2. IoT will become ingrained into many more companies
We’re going to see the continued rise of the internet of things (IoT) this year as brands begin to understand its real business impact.
Where organisations have toyed with IoT prototypes in the past, these prototypes will progress to fully fledged, workable solutions. This will allow companies to go beyond the hype and find out where IoT can actually impact the bottom line.
But there will be challenges ahead – many businesses will only now realise the complexities involved in a full-scale operational IoT rollout, particularly those that have sweated their assets for many years.
3. Cybersecurity will dominate the news
Cybersecurity was all over the news last year, not least because of various high-profile hacks. There’s no reason to expect this will change in 2017.
With technologies like VR and AR showing massive growth and becoming increasingly embedded into business-critical applications, digital security is more important than ever.
Yet cybersecurity still seems to be an afterthought for many when it comes to adopting new technology.
In a year when we’ll likely see more material data breaches than ever before, it will pay to make sure your organisation’s data is properly secured – even if that means being slightly slower to adopt new technology.
4. Integration of cloud platforms will be a top business priority
My final prediction is all about integration, and in 2017 we’ll see more cloud platforms come together than ever before to create a seamless business service.
Public cloud platforms are maturing. We’re seeing increasing opportunities for companies to integrate multiple public and private cloud services into their legacy systems.
Businesses can no longer afford to rely on legacy systems alone. The time for a Hybrid IT approach being optional is fast coming to an end. Those that don’t adopt cloud platforms soon risk falling behind their competitors and facing higher costs.
The challenge, however, lies in how companies will integrate existing IT with a new ecosystem of third-party public cloud platforms in a seamless and sustainable way.