2016 was quite a year for the tech landscape.
We’ve seen multiple billion dollar sales and acquisitions such as:
Microsoft buying LinkedIn for $26 Billion
SoftBank purchasing the chip manufacture ARM, who’s chips by the way, power 99% of the world’s smart phones and tablets.
Let’s also not forget about Pebble.
We’ve seen the world’s tech giants shift their attention to rapidly evolving Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques with Microsoft, Google and Facebook all releasing their own open source machine learning frameworks in quick succession.
2016 also had its fair share of security breaches and InfoSec troubles from the US General Election Campaigns, Banks, MySpace, Yahoo and Tumblr.
Smart Tech from Consumer Goods to Industry
The Smart Tech take up has been snowballing, from Smart Homes to Smart Cities, Industrial IoT to Homebrew IoT the world of connected things continues grow, 2016 saw 6.4 billion connected devices by the end of the year.
In 2017 we’re going to see more smart-home devices, maybe this time with a little more emphasis on security.
Cheaper variants of Nest, Hive, Canary and other smart devices will all surface from 3rd party manufacturers making the market entry-level cheaper for the consumer – but this might not be a good thing.
Industrial IoT is where the money is in 2017. Solutions that make industrial processes cheaper, or at the very least save money.
Artificial Intelligence and the dawn of Chat Bots
2016 saw the melt down of Microsoft’s Tay, who would have wiped out the planet Skynet-style given the chance.
Companies are banking on 2017 being the year of AI and Chat Bots, with bookable services turning to chat bots to give their customers an AI-like experience. Want to order a take-away curry from Skype? 2017 is the year you’ll be able to do this.
Companies have used automated telephone machines for decades (granted they are some of the most frustrating systems in the world), chat bots and AI are an evolution of this.
What I’m looking for in 2017 is context aware AI, chat bots who understand the context of the conversation but moreover, remember for next time.
Hopefully we’ll see further advancements in Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) in these recurrent neural networks that power these bots.
The all-magical, all-seeing cloud.
The cloud provider market is fierce. Microsoft, Amazon and Google leaders of the pack. Not long before 2016 ended Cisco abruptly canned its cloud platform adding to a growing list of cloud provider causalities.
While cloud take-up has been consistently growing and is the de facto standard for most start-ups. Some larger more established companies are still finding it difficult to adjust to the tech ground moving under their non-tech feet.
Security can be a bit of a misnomer in reference to the cloud, many companies fear the cloud is not as secure as on-premises. The fact is, that the cloud can be (and in most cases is) more secure than your data centre and on-premises. It’s the cloud providers job to think about security, a job that most companies do not do well.
The cloud in 2017 is going to be about cloud-education. Teaching companies about what the cloud can offer, its uses and how to maximise the cloud for profit.
ARM and the Chip Industry
I love ARM chips, my phone runs an ARM chip, the Hark Platform is built on ARM chips.
Intel used to be the leader when it came to processors, they focused so heavily on the cloud with their enterprise class chips that they forgot that the IoT age was coming. The end of 2016 saw them cut jobs and refocus their efforts to provide chip solutions for IoT-class devices. Better late than never?
2017 for Intel: A leader no more.
2017 for ARM: The chip winner.
Integrated Circuits (ICs) and System on a Chip (SoCs) are the building blocks of the next wave of connected devices.
We’re going to see more companies using FPGAs and ASICs to build faster more powerful application specific machines, which we’ll see bleed out into the main stream developer world.
Self Driving Cars and the bigger picture
I’m watching Tesla, who isn’t? Their self-driving car technology is ground breaking their industry sector is booming. Look at Uber, their primary goal is to get rid of drivers, replacing them with self-driving cars. They are currently testing this in America.
Tesla though, while known for their self-driving cars, are sat on their two hidden gems
Batteries and Solar
It’s no secret that Tesla’s battery technology is world-class and industry leading but with their advancements in solar technology in 2016 this is one to watch.
By the close of 2016 Solar was the cheapest source of electricity and the solar energy future is right around the corner. Cue 2017 to see what the future holds.
This year, I want to see more about Vanadium batteries, one day, every sub-station will have one of these, maybe with some solar panels attached perhaps?
Industrial IoT integration with the energy sectors will be key in:
- Monitoring Global energy usage
- Monitoring Climate Change
- Monitoring our planet’s continuing resource drain.
2016 saw the biggest DDoS attack ever seen on the internet. A botnet consisting of hundreds of thousands of hacked Internet connected CCTV cameras caused outages for many companies and millions of dollars in damage. Dyn, Twitter, Netflix, Reddit all suffered outages.
The speed at which we’re seeing technology change and introduction of new technology has for the most part been unprecedented in recent years. 2017 will be no different.
In the end, it will come down to security. Many companies move so quickly they forget that if their foundations are brittle and weak, their technology castle could have many weaknesses at a fundamental level.
People will exploit that if they can, for good and for bad.
I fear 2017 will not be the year of security, but maybe the year of the hackers, black-hat (the bad ones) and white-hat (the good ones).