The advancement of technology shows no sign of slowing. Since the beginning of modern civilization, people have designed, developed, and implemented new methods for accomplishing daily tasks. Today, as technology continues to shape our daily lives, it's fascinating to imagine what the future may hold. From cloud computing to augmented reality, recent advancements in technology, coupled with the proliferation of affordable hardware and software, have dramatically changed the way we access information, communicate with one another, and solve the world's biggest challenges in health, finance, and more.
Even with this unprecedented amount of innovation, one can't help but ask, “What comes next?”
For the world's brightest tech startups, adopting the latest trends creates a competitive advantage within the digital marketplace. Fueled by innovation and discovery, tech startups have embraced these emerging technologies to fuel innovation, forge partnerships, develop new products, and attract top investors.
Breakthrough technologies continue to create new value and transform digital experiences for businesses. While there are many tech trends to watch, here are five that we think are shaking up the tech world.
The Top 5 Tech Trends to Watch in 2017
1. AI and Machine Learning
Recent advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning have spurred a heated debate. As science fiction becomes reality, artificial intelligence has infiltrated the home and workplace. From helping us answer emails to creating a personalized shopping experience, learning systems are revolutionizing the way we live and work.
Tech giants like Google and Apple have deployed AI systems to rapidly respond to queries and data inputs, while tech startups like Motion AI have created chatbots that respond to complex workflows. Meanwhile, recent legislation has paved the way for automakers to introduce driverless cars to the nation's roadways.
"Self-driving cars hold the promise for making America's roads safer, creating new economic opportunities, and helping seniors and those with disabilities live more independently," Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) said in a joint statement. "This bipartisan bill paves the way for advanced collision avoidance systems and self-driving cars nationwide, and ensures that America stays a global leader in innovation."
According to a Boston Consulting Group report, the driverless car market is expected to by be worth $77 billion by 2035. Autonomous vehicles have the potential to create tremendous value for consumers and investors, as well as manufacturing, insurance, ridesharing, and law enforcement sectors that will need to respond and adapt to this technology shift.
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2. Internet of Things
The Internet of Things brings together mobility, automation, and data to create a universal network of devices including coffee makers, washing machines, wearables, and cars. With broadband connections and WiFi-enabled devices becoming more accessible, an estimated 34 billion connected gadgets will exist by 2020. Nontraditional devices are anticipated to account for 24 billion, while standard computational devices, like smartphones, are expected to represent at least 10 billion devices.
"The reality is that IoT allows for virtually endless opportunities and connections to take places, many of which we can't even think of or understand the impact of today," argues Jacob Morgan in A Simple Explanation of 'The Internet of Things.' "It's not hard to see how and why the IoT is such a hot topic today; it certainly opens the door to a lot of opportunities but also many challenges."
With billions of interconnected devices communicating with one another, security and data management are critical components of this digital infrastructure. This trickle-down across multiple industries creates a valuable opportunity for tech startups to create new, innovative products that make our devices safer and easier to use.
3. Virtual Reality
In the wake of Facebook's purchase of Oculus VR, virtual reality has dominated the digital marketplace, raising expectations among consumers and investors. In fact, ABI Research estimates that over 100 million people will own virtual reality headsets by 2020.
Today, VR technologies have influenced markets beyond media, entertainment, and gaming. In fact, virtual reality has delivered some of the most promising innovations in healthcare and is changing the way police respond to violence in the community.
With virtual reality’s growth across industries, the developing technology’s impact continues to take shape. For the world’s brightest tech startups, leveraging the latest advancements in VR offers massive opportunity for cross-industry growth and disruption. With the VR market expected to generate $150 billion by 2020, the stakes continue to rise.
4. Biometric Security
Recently, Equifax announced that it was subject of a massive data breach. An estimated 143 million consumers were compromised, and identifiable information including Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses were hacked. The use of biometrics as a means for identification, and access control, dramatically reduces the risk of large-scale data breaches and helps safeguard critical information.
Given the increased level of security and protection, it should come as no surprise that commercial use of biometrics has rapidly expanded in recent years. Mastercard recently unveiled a biometric card, combining chip technology with fingerprints to verify the cardholder's identify. Meanwhile, tech giants like Apple and Samsung have long integrated biometric authentication technologies into their devices.
"Consumers are increasingly experiencing the convenience and security of biometrics," says Ajay Bhalla, President of Enterprise Risk and Security at Mastercard. "Whether unlocking a smartphone or shopping online, the fingerprint is helping to deliver additional convenience and security. It's not something that can be taken or replicated and will help our cardholders get on with their lives knowing their payments are protected."
In response to global data breaches, tech companies have adopted biometric security strategies to enhance preservation and surveillance of consumer data. As global innovators continue to adopt this new technology, the market potential for new digital authentication tools will rise; leading the way for fresh, new tech startups to compete.
5. Chat Bots and Conversation Tech
On November 6, 2014, Amazon unveiled the Echo, a smart speaker with a built-in voice-controlled assistant named Alexa. Using simple commands, Alexa plays your favorite music, checks the weather forecast, and consults your daily calendar. While simple tasks, they represent just the tip of the iceberg.
"Conversation AI has come a long way as demonstrated by Alexa and the Echo family," says VP and Head Scientist at Alexa, Rohit Prasad. "Alexa is excellent at understanding one thought at a time, but as humans, we do something much better." As such, Amazon has challenged university students to reimagine Alexa's capabilities by creating more authentic interactions between the user and tech.
Meanwhile, Facebook has introduced intuitive chat bots to streamline shopping experiences and accept payment information. The application and functionality of chatbots is boundless. New tech startups can unlock the full potential of conversation tech by creating autonomous assistants to improve daily life, solve new challenges, and even troubleshoot requests from customers.
Stay Ahead of the Latest Tech Trends
Adopting the latest trends in tech will give your startup the advantages needed to effectively innovate and stay ahead of the game. Failing to embrace these next-generation technologies puts your company at risk of falling behind, missing new product development opportunities, or worse, being overlooked by private equity firms and venture capitalists.
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