Trash and Trends: A Look Back at 2017’s Tech Predictions

Around this time every year, every tech commentator, from Forbes to Gartner and everyone in between, produces a slew of predictions of what the next year’s top tech trends will be. Some of these are entirely on point, but the majority are based on the current hot fads, and like the majority of fads, they fade away into obscurity long before the year is out.

Other predictions are constant rehashes, making the list again and again in a ‘we know this will be disruptive someday!’ kind of way, or just ‘freebies’ that have been industry mainstays for so long that we wonder why they are included.

Here, then, is a look at some of the trends predicted for 2017, aggregated from a number of these lists from prominent commentators, and a brief look at how much of an impact they’ve had on the tech landscape.

AI Assistants and Automation

From Microsoft’s Cortana to Amazon’s Echo, AI assistants and, more broadly, AI automation has been pegged to make a big splash for years – and to be fair, one of these years it certainly will.

AI Assistants, though, may not have been the right place to invest – cool toys and voice recognition have certainly come a long way but are not really much use outside of a ‘proof of concept’ for machine learning.

Without a doubt, AI will make a big difference soon, so look forward to seeing it on everyone’s lists for 2018 and beyond.

Expanding the IoT

From sensors throughout the supply chain to ‘smart’ homes, the Internet of Things has been on the radar for years, and it is finally coming to fruition.

Across all industries, digitisation is absolutely central, and even some of the smart home markets are expanding.

It may have been obvious, or it may have been on lists for a few years, but credit where credit is due: the IoT is an industry-defining trend.

Building on Blockchain

From Bitcoin years ago to a technology with alleged uses for everything from financial services to curing the common cold, blockchain is certainly the emerging technology that may or may not change the world.

In all fairness, for financial services and supply chain management it may bring some serious disruption, but in other industries it is a newer, but not necessarily better, implementation of the same databases and authentication already in place.

Blockchain may bring some value, but be careful about betting the business on it.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

From Pokemon Go to 3d TVs to home VR systems, virtual and augmented reality looked like it might be big at the end of 2016.

As quickly as it appeared, though, it has faded – Pokemon Go had a strong few months, 3d TVs have been phased out, and home VR has gone nowhere fast.

They may be back, but don’t expect it to be anytime soon.

Yet More Security

The obvious choice for everyone’s list is security, which has been a major concern for digital businesses for decades.

They are right, of course: it continues to define the industry, but at this point does it even need to be said?

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