Tech innovation trends for 2016 and 2017

December 21, 2016

There is no denying that 2016 was a big year for technology. From the ubiquitous Fitbits and increasingly prevalent smartwatches to the rise of 360 video, there was something new to experience at every turn. The world watched with interest as driverless cars began their test runs and who can forget the phenomenon that was Pokémon Go, a cute and addictive gaming app that heralded the launch of Augmented Reality into the mainstream.

On a business level, in 2016 large and small companies harnessed the power of big data to discover even more detail about customer habits and trends. There was also been the rapid move towards paperless offices throughout corporate and government departments. The push has been for everything to move into the cloud, where it can be accessed almost instantly from any device with a web browser. Clunky backend systems are being streamlined and automation is the new admin assistant and the new money-saver.

Also taking great strides in 2016 was the so-called ‘Internet of Things’, which connects everything from your coffee maker to your car to the world wide web. The best home sound systems are now wireless and you can even talk to your air conditioner and your home security system using an app on your phone.

On technology company Gartner’s list of tech predictions for the new year are:

  1. AI and Advanced Machine Learning
  2. Intelligent apps
  3. Intelligent things
  4. Virtual and augmented reality
  5. Digital twin
  6. Blockchain and distributed ledgers
  7. Conversational systems
  8. Mesh app and service architecture
  9. Digital technology platforms
  10. Adaptive security architecture

On a consumer level, interacting with your smartphone virtual assistant will evolve as Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant begin asking “Can you tell me?” and learning from the information consumers share with them.

Around the home, even more devices will become connected (think fridges, washing machines and even robotic bartenders) and wearables will also evolve in their intelligence and capabilities, enabling people to track their health as well as their activity and fitness.

Cloud hosted services will only increase in popularity for both businesses and consumers, as the understanding of this easy and efficient technology increases. There will also be a continuing tide of new and improved offerings as entrepreneurs race to develop the next big thing for business and the public.

In 2017, IT specialists will be looking at integrating artificial intelligence, virtual reality and 3D printing into their existing systems.

The aforementioned concept of ‘digital twins’ means that digital copies will be created simultaneously with real machines from the get-go thanks to increasingly advanced software systems. The result is cost-effective simulation that can improve the product development process as well as the ongoing lifecycle of a machine.

In terms of blockchain and distributed ledgers, this emerging technology is an exchange network for transferring value between peers. This is still in its infancy but businesses will be investigating how they can use it to buy and sell while cutting out the middleman. According to Forbes, the promise for society and the average consumer is that it will provide a “new level of freedom, empowerment and reaching others without have intermediaries in the middle to censor, control otr tax by taking fees or cuts.”

While IT company Spiceworks predicts that in 2017 the IT industry will be spending more cautiously, this doesn’t mean that IT experts won’t be looking for ways to invest that produce better returns. In many cases, it is the new technology that can save money, which is why it is so important to be aware of these new trends.

Lakeba specialises in helping companies to innovate and monetise on their technology based offerings. To find out more, visit