It can be difficult to keep up-to-date with the latest technology trends. Categorised by a rapid pace of progress, there are always new developments to get your head around. What’s more, the influence and effects of technological change are felt almost everywhere – so it’s more important than ever to stay informed. We’ve gathered five technological trends which can dominate the year 2017, and we think you should know about:
Many blockchain initiatives are only in the early stages but could have impacts for the major industries, such as music distribution, title registry, and identity verification. The technology works as a distributed database where information is held in encrypted blocks around the world, increasing trust and transparency, while preventing others from tampering the data.
With the ability to digitally record transactions, agreements, and contracts, there are many applications for blockchain technology. Used as a currency, a database for citizens’ information and to track diamonds are just three examples explored in more depth.
2. Robotic arms
Without a doubt, robotic arms are becoming a more familiar sight in production. They’ve got the ability to automate monotonous and repetitive tasks, freeing up employees for more productive roles. Robot arms can also help reduce costs by decreasing lead times.
Interested? Well, robotic arms are perfect for operations such as light production, easy handling, pick and place, machine loading and laboratory automation. With a payback period said to be as short as six months and priced at just a few thousand pounds, we predict they’re going to increase in popularity throughout 2017.
Most use off-the-shelf standard connectors and cabling, making it easy for businesses to adapt the robotic arms for many different applications.
3. AR and VR
Both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are expected to get more mainstream users in the upcoming year. Amazon Go kick-started the trend late last year. Imagine if you could head into a shop, pick up all the things that you need and walk out without having to wait or queue.
Well, with their use of sensors, augmented reality, big data, mobile and more, you can. It’s a whole new type of shopping experience. AR and VR can make consumer’s life easier, more straightforward and enjoyable.
4. Intelligent apps
Of course, smart apps already exist. Virtual personal assistants on your phone (Apple’s Siri, for instance) have been around for a while now. But 2017 will see intelligent apps develop and progress, grabbing the attention of forward-thinking people and businesses who want to streamline their daily processes.
With smart apps, you can prioritise emails, provide advanced analytics and make some processes autonomous, to name just a few uses. By making use of artificial intelligence, massive sets of data can be leveraged to make decisions that would have taken people days before. The more apps become available, the more prices will be driven down too, and we are sure this may be one of the technological trends of 2017.
5. Integration of physical and digital
As apps allow more and more processes to be digitised, there is still a need for physical interaction. But technology is allowing the two to merge in interesting ways. We’ve been able to order things online and pick up in store for a while now, but 2017 will see the lines between online and offline blur further.
The use of buttons you can press at home that will automatically order products to be delivered to you, for example. We’re excited to see how the digital and physical worlds will continue to interact, all with the aim of making life easy for us.
As always when predicting technological trends of 2017, it’s likely some surprises will come our way too. We’re looking forward to 2017. Are you? Let us know what you predict.