Everyone seems to have a tech trends list for 2017. We are different. Hyper focused on how the most interesting Startups are moving the needle, we’ll dive deep on these topics throughout the year. Our bi-monthly newsletter (shameless newsletter signup plug) will cover these topics and more. Startups that look to change your business and the world especially in the 2 to 5 year range is our sweet-spot. Our mission: deliver startup info in a context that is immediately usable to your business goals and priorities. These trends and the startups that help to define them, are bringing applications to life that need to be on your radar now.
We define “Trends” as the combination of emerging technologies, their market application and customer buying habits. Each of these tech trends has a number of emerging technologies associated. As example when we explore physical and digital worlds merging we recognize that this trend is related to many technologies such as: Conversational Interfaces, Augmented Reality as well as IoT.
Throughout the year join us as we explore the application of these emerging technologies and in particular, how Startups are leading the way to a new future. Did I mention you can get “startup trend matching” in your inbox by signing up for the Scout newsletter now (no more than 2X per month).
Top Technology Trends for 2017
1. Physical and Digital Worlds Continue to Merge
Intelligent ‘things’ become networked in an ‘mesh’ that will redefine our world. The intersection of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a major trend in 2017. Human Internet User growth has slowed however the growth of ‘things’ connected to the Internet is exploding. The networked ‘mesh’ of physical items with embedded computing is a simple way to think about what is rapidly becoming the next iteration of the connected Internet. The consequences for your business will be huge. When every product produces data it raises the bar for building business intelligence. Related topics: IoT, Augmented Reality, smart mesh-sensor systems, connected living.
2. Software Systems Learn and Adapt On Their Own
More advanced engineering techniques move us beyond traditional rule-based algorithms to create systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt and operate autonomously. This is Artificial Intelligence as it becomes applied to every aspect of the world around us. The combination of devices and software that solve a particular problem are now aware of their context, their environment and audience. It’s why self driving cars are entering the market now. We’ll explore what makes ‘smart machines’ seem intelligent. How every system built from here on will incorporate some aspect of Artificial Intelligence. We are at the dawn of the next computing revolution. Related topics: Cyber Security, Machine to Machine (M2M) Interfaces, Personal Assistants.
3. Robots: Air, Sea and Land
If this year’s CES is any indication, personal robots are on the rise and ready for prime time. From retail help to delivery 2017 will be a big year for robots, drones and sea. Companies are considering the use of robots for tasks beyond manufacturing. Customer Service in retail is already testing out these new models. Lowe’s has introduced multi-lingual robots into stores. From retail help to delivery, 2017 will be a big year for robots, drones and sea. Although launched by the Navy, Sea drones are now equipped for rescue, monitoring and even ship to shore delivery. Related topics: drones, robots, remote interfaces, commercial usage.
4. On Demand Manufacturing (3-D printing) Grows Up
It’s gained worldwide acceptance and depending on the materials, has become a feasible way to make things, not just toys or prototypes. Costs going down while quality going up is a great sign of things to come. In 2016 General Electric acquired two European 3D printing companies for $1.4 billion. GE Aviation says it will 3D-print more than 100,000 parts by 2020 to make lighter and more efficient engines. Techcrunch points to the expiring patents that will usher in important growth in this area to now. In 2017 we will see the next step change in 3D plastics printing from HP. The HP Jet Fusion technology will be five to ten times faster than anything on the market. For the first time product designers can consider a plastic-related 3D printing technology as a truly viable low-volume manufacturing technology. Related topics: manufacturing, healthcare, every day living.
5. Conversational Computer Interfaces Everywhere
Amazon has reportedly sold over 5M units of it’s Echo platform. The interest in making life easier by speaking common language to a virtual assistant has taken off. Last year we saw the rise of chatbots such as Slack. Chatbots are messaging platforms that respond to someone using text to interact with them. These conversational interfaces are an important tech trend because they are redefining the human-computer interface dramatically. Human level speech recognition has been a long time coming, however processing power and speech recognition have arrived. This past October Microsoft cracked speech recognition boundaries. Their machine-learning algorithms now outperform humans for the first time in recognizing ordinary conversational speech. In 2016 companies across many verticals (insurance, travel, tech, food, healthcare) began to use Chatbots on the front lines with customers. The future of human-computer interface is about to change even more in 2017. Related topics: customer service, speech recognition, voice interfaces.
6. Data as a Service Becomes Essential
The daily production of data from humans, sensors and machines is 2.5 Exabytes. An exabyte is 1 Billion Gigabytes. This will seem small in a few years. Afterall in 2013 research firm Nasumi discovered that there was just over one exabyte of data stored across all cloud environments. Today we produce over 2X that in just 1 day! Methods of collecting data then turning it into something useful for the enterprise will be a key focus area this year. As a result, Data as a Service (DaaS) is set to take off in 2017. This is important to you because of new sources and varieties of readily available data that can be used to create new offerings and get better, more timely insights. Related topics: big data, DaaS, predictive analytics, data virtualization.
We are excited about 2017 and the opportunity to “Scout” for startups with you. If you want to follow our bi-monthly newsletter please sign up here. If you are interested in learning about our platform and programs for Scouting Startups find out how here.