At the beginning of every new year, pundits and prognosticators from various firms like to offer forecasts on trends that might impact the technology industry in the next 12 months. For 2017, a few key themes have emerged. Here are some of the major technologies and trends that are likely to have an impact on IT professionals in the coming year:
1. Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) really burst onto the scene in 2016, and the technology likely will pick up steam in 2017. Enterprises are looking to AI to help them make sense of their big data — especially their internet of things (IoT) data — and to help them provide better service to their customers. For 2017, Forrester predicts that investment in artificial intelligence (AI) will triple as firms look to tap into complex systems, advanced analytics, and machine learning technology. And according to IDC, by 2019, 40% of digital transformation initiatives – and 100% of IoT initiatives – will be supported by AI capabilities.
2. Internet of things
AI is very closely related to the second hot trend for 2017— IoT. Not only are consumers purchasing connected devices, businesses are looking to IoT devices and systems to help them become more efficient and productive. Gartner predicts that by 2022, IoT will save consumers and businesses $1 trillion a year in maintenance, services and consumables.
But this trend has a dark side, as Forrester notes: "IoT also represents a two-pronged threat in 2017 — potentially exposing businesses to security breaches, and IoT devices themselves being turned into DDoS weapons."
3. Augmented reality
Experts also believe that 2017 will be a banner year for augmented reality (AR). Most consumers got their first experience with AR in 2016 through the smash hit mobile app Pokémon GO. This year, look for enterprises to put AR to new uses that could help them increase profits. IDC forecasts that in 2017, 30% of consumer-facing G2000 companies will experiment with AR/VR as part of their marketing efforts. Meanwhile, Gartner expects that by 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality.
As enterprises embrace DevOps, automation technologies are transforming IT. Instead of relying on manual processes, IT teams using software that autonomously completes a lot of the work they used to do, freeing staff up for more strategic tasks. Some experts even predict that AIs will take over much of the coding work that developers currently do.
Unfortunately, among the major trends impacting IT this year is one that's been growing for years. Analysts agree that the wave of cybercrime incidents isn't likely to decrease in 2017; in fact, it will probably increase. According to Forrester, targeted espionage, ransomware, denial of service, privacy breaches, and more will escalate in 2017. Interestingly, the same report forecasts that cyberattacks will be an important political issue. Forrester, which correctly predicted that cybersecurity would be a major issue in the 2016 election, anticipates that within 100 days, the new US president will face a major cybercrisis.
Don't forget the cloud
For many years, cloud computing has had a prominent place on lists about tech trends. But with the vast majority of enterprises now using in the cloud, this technology has become the way IT is done rather than an emerging trend.
However, there's still plenty of innovation happening in the cloud. Look for serverless architecture, which is sometimes called function as a service (FaaS), to rise in prominence for 2017.