The technology trends for 2017 will be dominated by artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber-crime, say several industry sources.
With the adoption of machine learning gathering pace, and the internet of things creating a fully connected world, technologists predict that we will see rapid development of intelligent devices and apps this year.
The current flagship product for adoption of machine learning devices is Amazon’s Echo, powered by the Alexa conversational user interface. The Echo, with more than five million sold in two years, is a smart device that connects users to information and services via the voice interface of Alexa.
Volkswagen has signed a deal with Amazon for Alexa to be built into its cars, with other manufacturers likely to follow suit. Retailers, restaurants, internet services and other companies are also developing smart links for Alexa.
Talking up conversational UIs
Conversational UIs (user interfaces) are on the up with an increasing number of people are using voice to access connected services. In the first part of 2016, Google said that 20 per cent of searches were voice searches, with Bing saying its figure was 25 per cent.
Both companies are using machine learning to improve the automated understanding of meaning and intent.
In January 2017, Gartner said that the growth of AI and machine learning will lead to the emergence of intelligent apps and devices. It also predicts further development in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications. This prediction is shared by the likes of Digital Trends and Forbes.
July and August 2016 were dominated by the Pokémon Go craze, which inspired many developers and marketers to consider the potential applications for AR.
Amazon is now benefiting from the convergence of these technologies with its Amazon Go brand – a shop where you walk in, pick up what you want to buy and then walk out. No need to go through a checkout.
Every connected device is at risk from hackers and thieves, so cyber security will continue to be a recurring theme in headlines throughout 2017. Furthermore, some experts are turning the spotlight on banks who they say face dire consequences if cyber criminals continue to prevail.
Matthew Wall, BBC’s Technology of Business Editor, wrote: “In November last year, hackers stole £2.5m from 9,000 Tesco Bank customers in a raid, which the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority described as ‘unprecedented’.”
Further articles from our Winter 2017 E-zine include: