Technology: The Top Trends

By Particia Cullen

Advances in technology can reshape every aspect of a business and companies must stay informed to stay relevant. In the evolving world of technology, things materialise quickly, and looking back at the last decade highlights just how often, and how quickly, things change.

We’ve seen the internet developing and computers getting smaller, we’ve witnessed the beginning of social networking and the phones we use today look very different to those we used a decade ago. And although they seem to have been here forever, smartphone technology was only introduced in 2007 and iPads landed on our desks in 2010. Our pockets may be lighter than before but the possessions in them can do much more. We have come a long way in just 10 years, and approaching 2017, anything you could ever want is only a few clicks away….

The top five emerging technology trends for 2017 could soon see unprecedented transformations in business, government and society. When change is the only constant, identifying trends early and preparing your business, is key to success.

1) Cyber security

Numerous high profile cyberattacks occurred this year, and with more anticipated for 2017, cyber security needs to be a priority for your business. UK research found 66% of large businesses experienced a cyber breach or attack in the past year. And small companies aren’t immune to cyber-attacks either as hackers target smaller, more vulnerable companies because they have fewer resources in place. Increase security by safeguarding employee passwords, instructing staff about handling suspicious emails and, most importantly, ensuring your technology is up-to-date. Global spending on cybersecurity is projected to reach $1 trillion for the five-year period from 2017 – 2021, highlighting the need to protect your business.

2) Artificial Intelligence

In 2016, we have seen voice-recognition systems, driverless cars and robotic office assistants, and AI is still powering the future. This ongoing trend will transform sectors from medicine to the stock market in the coming years. Armed with technologies like secure cloud storage, mobility solutions and low-cost devices, it will be the main technology focus for businesses in 2017. With a reliable, secure and evolving infrastructure to unleash and nurture its huge potential, it will give way to new jobs, and most definitely, new industries.

3) Big data and analytics

The significance of big data cannot be overlooked and in 2017 it can be used in a number of ways to solve problems, allowing for revolutionary agility in IT. Geographical information systems will improve in speed and efficiency and innovation will continue with developments in big data storage. Big data isn’t solely for big businesses with big budgets as small companies can also benefit from the huge amounts of data to make insightful choices to grow and mature.

4) Augmented and virtual reality

This last year has really seen augmented and virtual reality make headlines with Oculus Rift and Pokémon Go, and this trend will continue throughout 2017. While these are emerging technologies, investment in this sector is big and getting bigger. That which may have seemed unbelievable a few years ago will become more commonplace this year, and AR and AV can offer retailers the opportunity to transform how people shop.

5) Consumer Mobility

Consumers are increasingly mobile with 80% using phones to shop, and with advancements in beacon technology relevant offers can now be placed directly in the hands (or phones) of customers. Employees are also becoming progressively more mobile and tech and communications software reiterate this, redefining the working environment as we know it. You don’t need to go anywhere to work or shop, it is increasingly something you can do from anywhere, and Millennials have fully embraced this concept. Technology will always come up with advanced solutions to adapt to this growing reality.

We say goodbye to 2016 with a relatively weak economic outlook, partly due to the increased political and economic uncertainty following the ‘Brexit’ vote, and businesses are once again looking to the digital revolution to try and promote healthy growth. The potential influence of IT developments varies across industries, but when prepared, companies can enjoy increased productivity, greater efficiency and bigger profits.

Today’s business climate is determined by influential digital forces, disruption and speedy innovation, and corporate IT budgets are increasing as leaders recognise the importance of technology to keep their business safe, contemporary and successful.