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2016 was a huge year for bots, with major platforms like Facebook launching bots for Messenger, and Amazon and Google heavily pushing their digital assistants. Looking forward to 2017, we asked 21 bot experts, entrepreneurs, and executives to share their predictions for how bots will continue to evolve in the coming year.

1. Andy Mauro, CEO, Automat

“In 2017, brands will realize that conversational marketing is a better way to learn about and build relationships with their customer than today’s digital marketing, which monitors their customers with cookies, pixels, search, and social data. We’ll also see powerful case study data showing that opt-in and conversion rates and the quality of profile information that can be obtained conversationally far outweighs the benefits of email marketing, marketing automation, and apps.”

2. Tania McCormack, director of product management, Flowdock

“Bots will be even more helpful, more intuitive, and most of all, more human. In Flowdock, we aim to have our users interact with bots like we do the people around us to get the information and updates we need. Best of all, bots will continue to keep work fun and to make us laugh.”

3. David Mendlewicz, cofounder, Butterfly

“We’re going to see more and more instances of bots helping us develop and grow as humans. To date, bots are primarily seen as a novel utility — a way to get things done more quickly or grasp information more immediately. Moving forward, the machine genius of bots will help understand our learning gaps and fill them in with relevant, personalized information that’s rooted in real data. In other words, bots will be a boon for education.”

4. Ben Parr, CMO and cofounder, Octane AI

“There will be an explosion of unique content and experiences from bots as the barrier to creating and managing them drops. This will lead to some breakout bots. Some people will be famous primarily for their bots.”

5. Justin Vandehey, founder, Growbot

“In 2017, I think we’re going to see bots grow up a bit, both in terms of standards for how they should be built and how they should be used. There’s a finite set of core workflows and jobs that can be improved. Bot builders who identify those workflows and fit in without requiring a ton of behavior change…those are the money bots.”

6. Jordi Torras, founder and CEO, Inbenta

“Chatbots will get increasingly smarter, thanks to the adoption of sophisticated AI algorithms and machine learning. But also they will specialize more in specific tasks, like online purchases, customer support, or online advice. First attempts of chatbot interoperability will start to appear, with generalist chatbots, like Siri or Alexa, connecting to specialized enterprise chatbots to accomplish specific tasks. Functions traditionally performed by search engines will be increasingly performed by chatbots.”

7. Dan Reich, CEO and cofounder, Troops

“The word ‘bots’ will slowly go away as people realize that the value is less about talking to a computer or bot, and more about having intelligent workflow within a conversational platform.”

8. Dmitriy Kachin, head of partnerships, Chatfuel

“AI technology — once the machine learning aspect of the current AI engines moves on to the next level and the NLP functionality becomes more sophisticated, we should see some really interesting breakthroughs in terms of chatbot experiences that will appear as a result of that. Ecommerce — when the ability to monetize your bot becomes more robust with solutions integrating CRM systems, warehouse management systems, order tracking, etc. — there will be a lot more motivation to realize your offering in a chatbot form. The resulting increase in various ecommerce use cases and the corresponding user traffic should be interesting to watch. As a result, we’ll see overall wider adoption of bots.”

9. Rob May, CEO and cofounder, Talla

“This year, we’ll finally see large enterprises adopting chat. In our own lead flow at Talla we’ve seen that Fortune 1000s are exploring platforms and what they can do with them. This is how people want to work — and they’re seeing the vision too. We’re at the tipping point where they’re starting to cross over. As a result, we’ll see the integration ecosystem continue to mature into more robust solutions.”

10. Lauren Kunze, CEO, Pandorabots, Inc.

“Right now the industry needs data driven success stories as an antidote to hype, and this year certain bot applications will increasingly yield real business results. This will help brands filter the noise and differentiate upstarts from industry leaders. Beyond 2017, I predict bots will be the primary interface for casual interactions between people and brands, and people and connected things.”

11. Amir Shevat, head of developer relations, Slack

“We will see conversational interfaces facilitating productive business workflows. We will see bots augment our life experiences in text and voice in consumer use cases.”

12. Mikhail Naumov, cofounder and CSO, DigitalGenius

“In 2017, brands will understand when to use scripted chatbots and when to use machine learning algorithms. Customer service functions in particular will be significantly transformed with the latest advances in deep learning and artificial intelligence. Human and machine intelligence will be combined in a seamless way to make great experiences for customers.”

13. Zor Gorelov, CEO and cofounder, Kasisto, Inc.

“We expect the bot landscape to expand in three key areas: monetization, security, and overall growth in capabilities. A marketplace on popular platforms will enable discovery and in-app transactions. This will drive a higher standard for security, especially in privacy-centric industries like banking, insurance, or healthcare. The more companies and players in the space, the faster the bots will improve and the more useful they will become.”

14. Marlene Jia, CRO, TOPBOTS

“Bots will be built with specific use cases and objectives in mind, driving actual adoption of the consumer.. 2016 was a year of experimentation for both the brands and users, and there were a lot of learnings that emerged. In 2017, you’ll see brands and bot creators doing a better job identifying the use case for the bot and the narrow goals of what the bot should be able to do. We can’t guarantee AI will be at the stage it needs to be to make bots intelligent enough, but what we can do is have a clear idea of what the bot should do and design it based on that objective.”

15. Matthew Hartman, partner, Betaworks

“We will start to see a set of bots that are growing, solving the discovery problem in unique ways. We’ll also start to see messaging services experiment with monetization that feels native and unique.”

16. Oren Jacob, CEO, PullString

“We will see Alexa voice experiences grow substantially in usage, reach, and complexity. A lot of amazing things are being built for the Alexa platform.”

17. Jeff Pulver, founder, MoNage

“The way we experience the internet is changing, and that the result of the shift in how communication evolves will be highly disruptive. We are now at a major inflection point for which there will be no turning back and from which we are likely to see the way we use the internet change. Apps may start to disappear over time. Websites will be less needed; the information shared on websites will be stored in the Cloud and accessed by services that need it. Communications will happen on our behalf and information will be presented in a way more in tune with how we process and share information once we search for it ourselves. Communications will be better, easier, and more relevant for us internet users as a result of AI. Furthermore, this change will make life better for our personal and business connections, implying new business opportunities and models to explore. Summing up the change, the interface between humans and computers is rapidly changing from an ‘operational’ interface (websites, apps) to a ‘conversational’ interface (chatbots, voice interfaces). This is revolutionary, given that the ‘operational’ interface has been the standard way to interact with computers since the earliest computers came on the market. In order for this fundamental shift to happen, there is a lot of work to be done.”

18. Dennis Yang, cofounder and CPO, Dashbot

“We are already seeing continued strong growth in the bot space across all platforms for the first part of 2017. I predict we will see a number of bots hit one million DAU by the end of 2017. Furthermore, we will begin to see more bots that fully embrace the capabilities of conversational UIs, differentiating themselves from the web and mobile experiences to which we are currently accustomed.”

19. Tom Hadfield, CEO, Message.io

“2017 will be the year of the conversational workplace. With the launch of Slack Enterprise Grid, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts Chat, and Workplace by Facebook all in the first four months of the year, the enterprise messaging space is proving to be where bots are finding mainstream adoption. 2017 will be the year that conversational interfaces begin to transform the $620 billion enterprise software industry, just as the graphical user interface did in the ’80’s, the web did in the ’90’s, and mobile apps did more recently.”

20. Sandeep Chivukula, cofounder, Botmetrics

“More push, less pull. Today bots react to customers. The best bots of 2017 will predict what’s important to customers and help them take action.”

21. Rachel Law, CEO and founder, Kip

“The line between software bots and robots and drones will blur as physical bots integrate into platforms. Soon you’ll be able to control Roombas and drones through Messenger!”

Author : ADELYN ZHOU, TOPBOTS

Source : venturebeat.com

Categorized in Others

Master cyber criminals, super-trojans, workforce shifts, advanced analytics and more – CBR talks to the experts about how 2017 could prove an even bigger, smarter year for artificial intelligence.

AI certainly arrived with aplomb in 2016 with chatbots, digital assistants, PokemonWatson, and DeepMind just some of the AI companies and tech bringing artificial intelligence to the masses. The opportunities, benefits and promise of the technology, so experts say, is vast – limitless even – so what can we expect in the coming year?CBR talked to the top AI experts about their artificial intelligence predictions for the new year, with 2017 already shaping up to be even smarter than 2016.

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of the digital Moriarty

Ian Hughes Analyst, Internet of Things, 451 Research

“With so much data flowing from the interconnected world of IoT, higher end AI is being used to find security holes and anomalies in systems that are too complex for humans to control. Security breaches we have seen so far have been brute force ones, the equivalent of a digital crow bar.

“AI being used to protect is clearly a benefit, but this technology is increasingly available to anyone, replacing the digital crow bar with a virtual master criminal, 2017 might just see Holmes versus Moriarty digital intellects start to battle it out behind the scenes.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year Machines Steal more human jobs than ever before

Dik Vos, CEO at SQS

“We will continue to see a rise in digital technology over the coming years, and 2017 will be the year we see the likes of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automated vehicles take the place of low-skilled workers.

With machines pushing humans out of a number of jobs including, logistics drivers and factory workers, I predict we will see an increased emphasis placed on the retraining of up to 30 per cent of our working population. People want and need to work and 2017 will see those workers who have lost their jobs through digitalisation, start to filter across a variety of other sectors including manufacturing and labour.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of the Buzzword Mart

Hal Lonas, CTO at Webroot

“In 2017 we will see an explosion of companies shopping at Buzzword Mart. The growing attention paid to terminology like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will lead to more firms incorporating “me too” marketing claims into their messaging.  Artificial Intelligence predictions -buzzwordProspective buyers should take these claims with a grain of salt and carefully check the pedigree and experience of firms claiming to use these advanced approaches. Buyers are rightfully confused, and it is difficult to compare, prove, or disprove efficacy in an ecosystem where market messaging is dominated by legacy or unicorn-funded voices. All too often we see legacy technology bolting barely-functional technology onto bloated and ill-architected heavy-weight solutions, leading to a poor end product whose flaws can range from bad user experience to security vulnerabilities.

“This rings especially true for security, where the distinction between legitimate machine learning trained threat intelligence and a second-rate snap-on solution can be the difference between leaking critical customer or IP data files, or blocking the threat before it reaches the network.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of AI-as-a-service

Abdul Razack, SVP & Head of Platforms, Big Data and Analytics, Infosys

“AI-as-a-Service will take off: In 2016 AI was applied to solve known problems. As we move forward we will start leveraging AI to gain greater insights into ongoing problems that we didn’t even know existed. Using AI to uncover these “unknown unknowns” will free us to collaborate more and tackle new, interesting and life-changing challenges.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year CIOs Take the AI Helm

Graeme Thompson, SVP and CIO, Informatica

“With the accelerating pace of business, organisations need to deliver change and make decisions at a rate unheard of just a few years ago. This has made human-paced processing insufficient in the face of the petabytes and exabytes of data that are pouring into the enterprise, driving a rise in machine learning and AI.

“Whereas before, machines would be used to complete a few tasks within a workflow, now they are executing almost the entire process, with humans only required to fill in the gaps.

“Rewind 20 years and we used tools like MapQuest to figure out the shortest distance between two points, but we never would have trusted it to tell us where to go. Now, with new developments like Waze, many of us delegate the navigation of a journey entirely to a machine.

Artificial Intelligence Predictions - leader

“Before long, humans will no longer be needed to fill the gaps. We’ll find that machines are fully autonomous in the case of driverless cars, for example, because they can store and make sense of much more information than humans can process. However, organisations capitalising on the benefits of AI and machine learning will have to ensure data quality to guarantee the accuracy of these fast responses. Un-validated or inaccurate data in a machine learning algorithm causes misleading insights or inaccurate actions when automated.

“In 2017, CIOs will be tasked with taking the helm of data driven initiatives and ensuring that data is clean enough to be processed by machines to drive fast and accurate insight and action.”

Author : ELLIE BURNS

Source : http://www.cbronline.com/news/internet-of-things/smart-technology/artificial-intelligence-predictions-2017-expect-ai-service-smart-malware-digital-moriarty/#

Categorized in Internet Technology

Who invented the refrigerator? When was the Pleistocene era? How long do dolphins live?

Chances are, you don’t know the answers to these questions, but at least one of them made you think about Googling the answer. Type any of those questions into Google and you’ll see a small box above the conventional list-based search results, which concisely answers your question and links back to the source that provided it—all without you having to click any search results.

Some search queries even come with a full box of information on your chosen subject, off to the right side, such as the cast and crew of popular movies or a brief synopsis of a politician’s career.

Enter the Knowledge Graph

Already, we’re starting to take these revolutionary information sources for granted, but they only exist thanks to Google’s provision of “rich answers” and the Knowledge Graph, Google’s intelligent internal encyclopedia of information. These major search developments are bringing more information to users than ever before, and faster than ever before, but they’re also complicating the world of search engine optimization (SEO) and digital advertising. For example, these advancements may lead to lower click-through rates for some organic search results, or a lower return on “general information” content.

But how will rich answers and the Knowledge Graph change from here? Based on Google’s past and a reasonable expectation of technological progress to come, I have seven predictions:

1. Spoken answers will rise in popularity.

As of last year, about 20 percent of all mobile queries were voice searches. That number has consistently grown in line with the prevalence of mobile devices, and continues to grow to this day. I expect even steeper growth as voice recognition software grows more sophisticated and users become more trusting. When that happens, spoken answers—serving as a dialogue-like response—will need to become more popular, in turn. That means Google’s visual layout will become less relevant, and fewer and fewer users will rely on traditional SERPs for their needs.

2. Rich answers may soon completely take over.

Since their original inception, the prevalence of rich answers in search queries has grown tremendously, with occasional bursts of growth corresponding to increases in Google’s capacity. You’ve likely noticed this yourself, as your general-knowledge queries have become faster and easier to address with a simple search. This growth rate is unlikely to wane anytime soon, and in the next few years, I anticipate the majority of queries will return some kind of rich answer. Even hyper-specific questions won’t be exempt from the display. Why? Because Google wants to keep you on its own domain as much as possible – in order to expose you to more advertising, which makes them money. When you click a result in its search results, you wind up on someone elses’s domain – not Google’s.

3. Answers will extend beyond simple responses.

Google is also making strides in expanding the types of content that are offered in search engines. It has offered a simple calculator, conversion of units of measurement, and translations of different languages already, and I’d be willing to be the Knowledge Graph is ready to do even more for consumers. SERPs’ built-in functionalities are about to experience a leap forward in both diversity and sophistication, especially as app streaming and other app-centric display technologies begin to emerge.

4. Rich answers may branch into a separate category of search.

This is more speculative, but it’s possible that the demand for rich answers grows so great that it splinters into a separate category of search altogether. Google search algorithms may branch users into main categories based on intent, with rich answers provided to those in need of a quick answer and traditional SERP listings for those interested in a specific company website, or more information in general. In line with this, we may see the development of a competing search engine that specializes in the provision of this kind of information.

5. User preferences may soon become a variable.

Your social media apps know an uncomfortable amount of information about you. Your search apps potentially know even more. Google has remained the dominant search engine in the world in part because of its commitment to personalized search results. Soon, your search history and personal preferences may begin to factor more heavily into the type of rich answers you see (and how often you see them).

6. Smart homes will impact future development greatly.

With the rise of Google Home (and competitors like Amazon Echo), I suspect that user search habits will change significantly. Consumers will be making even more in-the-moment queries, and search engines will need to provide faster, conversational, and personalized responses. Once smart home technology hits a certain popularity threshold, its effects on search habits will propel rich answers and the Knowledge Graph into completely new territory.

7. The Knowledge Graph will start running itself.

Google is a big fan of machine learning, and RankBrain is an early indication that one day, Google’s search algorithm may be able to evaluate and update itself. It’s not only feasible, but likely, that similar machine learning technologies will start to dictate the future of the Knowledge Graph, sharply increasing its curve of development and making it a truly “intelligent” archive of online information. From that point on, its future is, by definition, unpredictable.

Rich answers and the Knowledge Graph aren’t going to cripple your SEO strategy, and they aren’t going to permanently take over the internet—at least not in any way that limits your potential as a digital marketer. Instead of being feared or avoided, they should simply be considered, or even taken advantage of.

Adjusting your SEO strategy isn’t strictly about linear progress; it’s about adapting to new circumstances, and these are some of the latest that should be on your radar. Keep watch for the changes to come, and remain flexible enough to compensate for them.

Author : Jayson DeMers

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2017/01/27/7-predictions-on-the-future-of-rich-answers-and-the-google-knowledge-graph/#5c99bece41e1

Categorized in Search Engine

Definition of Prediction: An event or action predicted, a forecast of future events

Definition of Anti-Prediction: A predicted event which doesn’t happen the way it was predicted.

2016 would be a remembered as a special year, especially in India. Demonetization kicked in, which enforced a new paradigm of cashless economy in the country. As people were forced to spend via their smartphones and digital wallets, a new stream of first-timers entered the digital eco-system, which paved way for a solid, robust digital industry in the country.

From 35 crore Internet users in India at the end of 2015, the number has now reached approximate 45-50 crore, and is expected to touch 75 crore by 2020.

In terms of smartphone users, India has already beaten US as 22 crore users benchmark has been breached this year. Now, only China is above us, in terms of smartphone (and mobile internet) users in the world.

As you are reading this, around 1 crore mobile phones are being sold every month in India, a pace which has slightly reduced due to demonetization (as there is less cash in the market), but will soon rise again, within next few weeks.

If we believe Google, then India will have approximately 17 crore ecommerce shoppers by 2020, and e-commerce market will be worth Rs 1.34 lakh crore by that time. In January last year, digital payments surpassed paper-based payments for the first time in India, and after the demonetization move, the cashless movement has only strengthened.

When e-wallet apps like Paytm starts estimating their total annual transactions to the tune of Rs 24,000 crore with 50 million downloads, and when you find out that Paytm alone accounts of 11% of overall toll collections in the country, then the belief and hope in digital industry becomes stronger.

With so many Internet and Smartphone users, and a solid foundation of digital economy, how can digital marketers and entrepreneurs leverage this momentum, and create more awareness about their products and services?

Just like last two years, we are back with top digital marketing predictions for 2017. However, along with predictions, we are also sharing two anti-predictions.

Search Engine Optimization Will Become Stronger, Bolder & More Relevant

As more information is created on the Internet, the relevance and significance of Search Engine Optimization or SEO will only increase this year. The interesting thing to observe is that, search engine algorithms from Google and Bing will continue to evolve from mere words search to more specific ‘intent search’; and this will introduce a plethora of new technologies, new concepts and new ideas into the game.

For instance, rich snippets and rich answers in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) will become more dominant in 2017. Websites which haven’t yet done their structured data markup or schema markup will have to do it now, because Google SERPs are now inclining more towards it.

Multi-channel marketing will now evolve into cross-channel marketing, as the timing, relevance and the usage of marketing channel will now combine with SEO, and the marketer has to think beyond simple blue links in SERPs.

Maroon BG

Mobile searches will continue to hold prominence, as Google’s newest algorithm update has made it mandatory to optimize pages as per mobile, and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) will hold the key to mobile SEO now. SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile) is now changing to SeLoMo (Search Local Mobile), as local listings on search engines is becoming a crucial strategy for small business owners.

Social Media Marketing Is Become More Creative

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Snapchat’s meteoric rise in 2016 will dominate the trends for social media marketing in 2017 – because it tells the flow of consumers and their intentions. If Instagram was the social media channel to watch in 2016, and Pinterest was in 2015, then Snapchat would be the most important social media strategy for marketers in 2017.

However, Snapchat isn’t for everyone, and this is the reason the relevance and importance of Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter will remain crucial. Brands will have to create their own in-house strategies to become content magnets, and to dominate the battle for supremacy on these social media channels.

Twitter, which has been lagging behind, and often accused of forming so-called Twitter-fatigue, will have to evolve into a stronger force because Google will now cache and index more tweets than ever (because of a recent partnership between these two giants). If you thought Twitter was history, then you need reconsider your goals this year.

The rising phenomenon of Facebook Live videos will be another thing to watch out for in 2017.

Email Marketing Will Transform Into Responsive Marketing

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Emails, the grand-daddy of marketing tactics, will still hold relevance in the age of Snapchat and Whatsapp; and the reason being that they are simply irreplaceable.

The best thing about emails is that, it constantly evolves. And in 2017, we will see more evolution coming from the email marketers. For instance, as most of the emails are now opened in mobile, responsive emailers would become the new fashion, and the age old art of copywriting will now involve the technique to lure mobile-centric users.

Social Media and Emails marketing would combine, interlink to provide a more comprehensive approach to digital marketing.

More stronger anti-spam laws and regulations would emerge, which will protect the consumer’s interests, and make email marketing more effective for the brands. In short, email marketing will continue to hold its forte this year, and will compel the brand marketers to be more innovative and experimental with its approach.

Paid Marketing Will Evolve Into Targeted Marketing

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Without any doubt, paid marketing is the biggest contributor towards the digital marketing industry, globally. And Google Adwords along with Facebook ads forms the biggest chunk of this industry.

In terms of Google ads, we may see evolution of better, bigger ad-units this year, as Google Shopping ads continue to be the driving force for ecommerce portals. Visibility and size of ads on mobile devices will be one of the most prominent aspects of user-experience, and this will force Google and Facebook to do more research and experiments.

As per some insider reports, Local Search from Google may soon become a paid product, which will introduce a new stream of marketing for local businesses. Paid chatbots may make a massive entry, as automation can become one of the biggest concepts of paid marketing.

Video Marketing Will Become A Necessity

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Facebook Live has ushered in a new dimension of video based marketing in 2016, and 2017 will continue to roll in the momentum. Real time, live videos will hold the dominance in this niche, as Youtube will strive hard to maintain its supremacy.

Concepts of Virtual Reality (VR) in video marketing will hold more importance, as customers are now looking for 360 degree entertainment, inspiration and knowledge via videos.

2017 will see more and more brands, their sales teams and content teams logging into the video mode to spread their messages, as the concept of ‘Immersive Experience’ will become stronger.

Anti-Predictions:

This is the section wherein we will share those predictions from last year, which went wrong. And it can signal a new approach in 2017.

Focus On Mobile Is Good, But Don’t Ditch Desktop Yet

Yes, mobile is the future, and everyone, from Google to Snapchat is focussing on the mobile aspect of everything related with digital and web.

However, the very concept of ‘mobile-only’ approach for brands, especially those who are into travel, e-commerce, electronics and science/technical niches can be dangerous. Desktop usage still rules these niches, and the marketer needs to focus both on mobile and desktop for their end-users.

A perfect example: Tripadvisor. In 2016, desktop traffic represented 71% of their overall traffic, and mobile based search was only 55%. Now, if a company like Tripadvisor goes for mobile-only approach, then it will die.

2016 saw massive portals like Myntra coming back to desktop mode simply because their app-only approach didn’t work out the way they wanted. LocalOye too had to relaunch their desktop website after a year.

As per a report, desktop and laptops continue to be teenagers’ favourite mode to access Internet.

This means that a brand needs to be present on both mobile and desktop for an all-around user experience. You cannot ditch mobile yet.

IoT & AI in Digital Marketing Will Have No Impact

Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and wearables will not have a major impact on digital marketing channels in 2017. Maybe in 2018 or 2019, but not now.

And this is a fact which has been endorsed by Moz founder Rand Fishkin in his blog.

Except Snapchat, which introduced their glasses which was directly linked with their app, no other brand was able to use wearables and AI in attracting more users and consumers last year, and the trend won’t change in 2017 either. (we can leave Fitbit and other wearables aside, because their main business model is wearable!)

VRs can be a good extension of video marketing, but other than that, it would have no major impact on the overall digital marketing industry this year.

Do let us know your opinions and feedback on our Digital Marketing predictions and anti-predictions of 2017!

Author : Mohul Ghosh

Source : http://trak.in/tags/business/2017/01/06/5-digital-marketing-predictions-2017/

Categorized in Social

Ye old crystal ball faired pretty well last year as many of my tech predictions came to pass. Pokémon Go was an augmented reality hit. Smart car hype reached a fevered pitch. And Yahoo agreed to sell its core business to Verizon, meaning Marissa Mayer and Silicon Valley’s longest running soap opera will finally be put out of their misery.

Also as predicted, tech IPOs were almost nonexistentOpens a New Window. in the first half, although the market did pick upOpens a New Window. in the latter part of the year. The private equity bubble continued to deflate, as venture funding and the number of deals continued to decline. And there were 63 down eventsOpens a New Window. during the year, most of which were down exits.

And while the Nasdaq did fall into correction territory in February, it bounced right back to all-time highs. Guess you can’t win them all.

Once again peering into my crystal ball, this is what I see for Silicon Valley and beyond in 2017:

News of a “Made in America” iPhone will leak. I doubt if Apple will announce a product so far in advance of what’s likely to be a 2018 or 2019 launch, but the tech giant will nevertheless decide to build an iPhone model in the U.S., probably outsourced to long-time contract manufacturer Foxconn. “Made in America” will become a thing. 

Tesla will not ship the Model 3 as planned. The low-cost electric sedan that Elon Musk so boldly announced in April with a target shipment date of late 2017 at a base price of $35,000 will not ship. And when it does ship, 18 months late in 2019, it will face major competition and be pricier than originally advertised, causing most to pull their refundable deposits.  

Theranos will shut its doors. The lawsuits are piling up and that will drain the coffers of the embattled lab test technology startup. CEO Elizabeth Holmes will finally be forced to seek bankruptcy protection and fade into obscurity, at least until the movie Bad Blood comes out, starring Jennifer Lawrence as the troubled entrepreneur. 

Twitter will fire Jack Dorsey. Twitter’s growth has stalled but the social media site does have a treasure trove of business user data that would help an enterprise software company like Salesforce make its products smarter, in an AI sort of way. Sadly, shares of Twitter are too pricey, so something’s got to give. The board will replace Dorsey and dress up the company to be acquired.

The AT&T-Time Warner merger will go through.  Despite Trump’s vow to block it, better informed minds will prevail once everyone realizes the deal is largely a vertical integration play that doesn’t give the combined company an unfair competitive advantage that would harm consumers. On the contrary, the merger may actually accelerate cable cord cutting.

Net neutrality regulations will go bye bye. Once the Trump Administration takes over and FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is replaced, the order reclassifying broadband internet as a public utility will be reversed and the Web will once again be free of undue regulation. Nobody’s service will be throttled or blocked, as once feared, but Netflix will have to cut backend direct-connect deals with ISPs, just like everyone else. 

  

Unicorns will stampede on Wall Street. Tech IPOs will make a strong comeback on the heels of the long-awaited public offering of Snapchat parent Snap, which is expected to raise more than $20 billion in the first quarter of the year. If that goes well, as I expect it will, other big unicorns, perhaps including Spotify and Palantir, will follow.

Magic Leap will finally launch an AR product. Not the first time I’ve made this call, but I do think the well-funded augmented reality startup will finally quit teasing us with videos and actually launch a product: AR glasses that will beam computer-enhanced video to your eyeballs. Mark my words: Snap’s Spectacles were just the beginning; AR-enhanced smart glasses will be a game changer.

Your next car will not drive itself. If you’re thinking about kicking back sipping Starbucks while a computer on wheels drives you to work, don’t hold your breath. That said, autonomous vehicles are coming, and sooner than you think. Just not that soon, unless you happen to hail a test Uber in Pittsburgh or somewhere in Arizona. Broad deployment of driverless cars will begin in 2021. 

Facebook’s fake fake news problem will get even hokier. Saying there’s fake news on Facebook is like saying there’s water in the ocean. Considering that most online content is actually commentary, sensational clickbait, the rants of a self-proclaimed expert or some form of user-generated gibberish, Facebook’s fake news problem is, ironically, fake news. And the fun is just getting started.  

Here’s a bonus prediction: Amazon’s Alexa will not become aware, take over the world and kill all the humans, Terminator style. So you can relax and have a wonderful 2017.

Author : Steve Tobak

Source : http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2016/12/27/10-tech-predictions-for-2017.html

Categorized in Internet Technology

We’re already looking into our crystal balls and checking Nostradamus’ books to see what he predicted would happen in 2017:

10. Russia & Ukraine Will Sign a Peace Agreement

According to Nostradamus, 2017 will be the year Russia & the Ukraine come to an agreement – the terms of the agreement are unclear at this time. The United States will oppose the new truce, but Germany and other EU members will embrace it. That’s different from what has already happened and what we’ve read in mainstream media reports.  US Vice President Joe Biden voiced his stance in December, 2015 – the United States is determined to see Russia adhere to a shaky Ukrainian peace agreement and hand back Crimea to Kiev.

9. China Will Make Bold Moves

China will make bold moves to cure the “economic imbalance“ in the world. According to Nostradamus, its actions will have far reaching effects. Will China become the new Superpower as Baba Vanga happened to predict in the 20th century? The past decade, the notion of China becoming the world’s next superpower has become almost an idee fixe for global politics theorists. Compared to the other so-called BRICS – Brazil, Russia and India – China shines like the moon. Between 1978 and the present, China has been able to surge from being a marginal player on the global stage to a powerhouse that has attracted $2 trillion of foreign direct investment.

8. A Year of Definition for Latin America

While 2017 will not be a breakout year for Latin American countries, Nostradamus also predicted that it will be a year of redefinition for them. Governments will move away from leftish policies and will help set the stage for potential civil unrest in the region.

7. Italy Will Face Financial Hardship

Unemployment and loans will make Italy the “epicenter” of the EU financial crisis, shifting attention away from the Greeks and Spain. The Italian banking system is in serious trouble and the failure of these banks is simply the tip of the iceberg. Non-performing loans, loans that debtors are not paying off as agreed, but which have not yet been written off by the banks, have been on the rise the past two year. At this point 18% of all outstanding loans in Italy are non-performing.  Reviving Italy’s economy will require sacrifices not just from Italians, but also from other EU members.

6. Cloud Computing Will Disappear

Nostradamus also predicted that the term ‘cloud’ will disappear from the phrase ‘cloud computing’ by 2017 because most of the computers will simply be assumed to be done in the cloud.

5. Superpower Sclerosis

The current superpower, referring to USA, will become increasingly ungovernable and incompetent to take care of the world. Ideological polarization, political corruption, growing inequality, globalization of corporate and financial elites, and large-scale social system failures will be the growing factors in the sclerosis.

4. Wars over Global Warming

Nostradamus believed the possibilities of ‘Hot Wars’ could be escalated in 2017 due to global warming and diminishing resources. As far as the warfare itself goes, the greatest threat in the future will be terrorists and bio-attacks.

3. Commercial Space Travel

Commercial space travel is the real deal, but beyond orbital flights things will become exponentially more difficult. The moon, asteroids and mining missions are unlikely targets within the next two years.

2. More Widespread Use of Solar Power

By 2017, solar technologies could account for a significant portion of global power generation, according to Nostradamus, helping economies and businesses guard against rising energy costs and the impact of climate change.

1.North Korea & South Korea Merger

North Korea and South Korea will merge. Kim Jong-un will be dethroned and will seek refuge in Russia. NORTH Korea dictator Kim Jong-un is “crueller” and more dangerous than his father. The youngest scion of the ruling family which has dominated North Korea for 65 years inherited the leadership of the “Democratic People’s Republic” on 17 December 2011 upon the death of his father. Since that dreadful day, Kim Jong-un has caused a perilous international crisis by testing a nuclear weapon and threatening to use it against America and South Korea. He also distributed a strange photograph of himself purportedly in the act of ordering “merciless” nuclear strikes against the US mainland.

Author : Alex Noudelman

Source : http://alexnoudelman.com/top-10-nostradamus-predictions-for-2017/

Categorized in Others

It’s that time of the year when we ask industry leaders for their thoughts on what happened in 2016 and what they forsee will happen in the new year. Here’s Part 1.

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Steve Hafner, CEO & Co-founder, KAYAK

Top 3 Things That Happened and That Mattered in 2016

1.  Rise of AI. It’s getting even tougher to be a travel startup or to afford innovation. You simply need too many developers, on too many platforms, with access to too much data, to make a difference.

2.  Ctrip buying Skyscanner. Now all of the big three OTAs have made their bets. It’s going to be fun to watch.

3.  My fiancee getting preggo again.

Top 3 predictions for 2017

1.  Expedia will buy more growth and OTA market share (probably Odigeo).

2.  TripAdvisor will start acting like it’s 1943 against Trivago. Now that Trivago is subject to the same public investor pressure as TripAdvisor, it’s a level playing field. I, for one, like Kaufer’s chances. They have great content on top of a great search engine, and an P&L that can sustain more marketing.

3.  Google will start intercepting branded search terms for their flight engine and hotel price ads. It’ll start slowly but will gain steam. Can you imagine how the travel industry will howl when HPA is above Marriott hotel results?

 


 

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Hugo Burge, CEO, Momondo Group

3 Top Things That Happened and That Mattered in 2016

1.  The Populist Politics of Polarisation took a grip, as a reaction against local disenfranchisement.

2.  The UK voted for Brexit.

3.  Momondo group completed re-invention of business with final site launch in Cheapflights.com

3 Top Predictions for 2017

1.  Ongoing political uncertainty, ruptures and simmering tension.

2.  Digital payments re-inventing the way we purchase.

3.  To keep an open world, everyone will have to do their bit to keep fighting for it.


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Timothy Hughes, Vice President Business Development, Agoda

3 Top Things That Happened and That Mattered in 2016

1.  Inventory is everywhere. Some of the big global players – Agoda, Booking, Airbnb – passed the 1mm properties live and bookable threshold (and climbing). You can truly book online for anywhere in the world.

2.  Google the OTA. Google has products that make them an OTA, even if they refuse to say it.

3.  A year to remember. 2016 will be remember like other big event years. Like 1989 for the fall of the Berlin Wall and 2001 for the 9/11 Attacks. We will remember and write for years about the events of 2016 – Brexit, Trump, Syria, Nice and more.

3 Top Predictions for 2017

1. “Losing Loads of Money” will stop being a business plan. With the IPO of Trivago and tightening in economic conditions we will see many of the Asian travel companies building a business off massive losses feel the pressure to move to the real world of sustainable, profitable, business models.

2. Direct and OTA will co-exist. Property owners will become more and more aware that direct and indirect (ie OTA) distribution are complementary not competitive channels.

3.  Chat rules, calls don’t. Chat will take a more prominent role in everything. We are not yet at “peak chat” – where chat completely kills voice. And 2017 wont be the year for “peak chat”. But it will be the year for some changes in customer behaviour (and that travel company products) driven by the accelerated use of chat.


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Ken Mishima, VP Ecommerce Strategy, i.JTB

3 Top Things That Happened and That Mattered in 2016

1.   Online really matters. Any players connected to internet now concerning on online marketing & distribution. TripAdvisor moved to transactions while earning their most of revenue as medias which clients are OTAs and suppliers. Hotels and Airlines’ key strategy is direct distribution via online which pressured OTAs and any online community. At a local level, hitting nearly 40% online penetration in Japan and still growing. Online was discussed as ‘as part of’, but now it must be everyone’s core strategy.

2.   New opportunity matters. SG enjoyed their strategic injection of casino business with Suns group for some years which justified the new angle really matters to the industry if it was done well. Inbound into Japan developed the new market segment with strong traffic of over 20M PPL. Likely 24M PPL by the end of the year. To accommodate this demand for their stays, vacation rental can be the only hope to the market. Travel is the old fashion, but these new waves even push policy makers to think differently.

3.   Re-starting:  Consolidation

Growing stars or big players in segment were becoming the part of big ones. Meta, Hotels, OTAs, etc… Yet seeing the outcome of these games if it can be good for customers/partners, or providing more financial pressures to them with some returns.

3 Top Predictions for 2017

1.  Data, data, data management and analytics – to be ready for new user experience. Voice, Text/chatbot, graphic search. Also the form of new traffic or customer acquisition which can be unique to voice/chatbot etc – which does not match with conventional web marketing strategy and operation model.

2.  Partnership model with suppliers (from OTA/online distributor standpoints). Now we are living at the age of suppliers if their products are strong and unique. What would be the role of distributors – if they are not Expedia nor Priceline. What would be the new agenda for them to survive and grow?

3.  Any more new sharing model for travel? Home, building, space, car-ride, suitcase, and what else? Would it also become main stream of user experience?

Author:  WIT

Source:  http://www.webintravel.com/reflections-2016-predictions-2017-part

Categorized in Business Research

2016 was the banner year for cyber security – and not in a good way. But what does 2017 have in store?

There is no denying that 2016 was a big year for cybercrime. From the Bank of Bangladesh/SWIFT heist in February to the Dyn DDoS attack a few weeks ago, there was plenty of proof that hackers are getting smarter and their innovation is on a growth trajectory.

If there is one good thing derived from these hacks, it is that they have made alarm bells ring loud and true for consumers and organisations alike. This is the starting point for five cyber security predictions for the year ahead.

1. Consumers will prioritise security when deciding which companies to do business with

Following high-profile data breaches in 2016, including Yahoo and Three Mobile, consumers are more anxious than ever about the downstream financial crime that follows a cyber attack.

As the realisation of what a criminal can achieve once they have taken our data sinks in, consumers are beginning to demand guarantees that their services providers are safe.

In 2017, a trend will emerge around customers wanting to understand more about the security of the organisations they do business with.

Just as companies promote ‘seals of approval’ for accomplishments like being ‘green’, promoting gender equality or having accident-free workplaces, customers will look for some sort of seal of assurance that the companies they do business with have a strong cybersecurity posture.

In fact, Ofcom has recently highlighted that broadband providers such as BT are worse at customer service than financial services providers and must do more to deliver a reliable internet connection.

2. Consumers will take ownership of their own cybersecurity

The great doorbell hack of 2016 kicked off the year with a loud ding-dong. Hackers have figured out that smart home devices, such as doorbells and refrigerators, are gateways to home Wi-Fi networks and email logins.

Similarly, to how they developed new and more inventive scams to get hold of consumers’ data in the ‘90s, this is just the beginning of consumer-targeted cybercrime.

As people add more Internet of Things (IoT) devices to their smart homes and take more of their daily affairs online, the security of their online environment will become even more important.

In 2017, new services will emerge that allow consumers to evaluate their own cyber security as they work to protect their data and savings from criminals, and strive to take ownership of our cybersecurity.

3. Consumers and businesses will acknowledge the threat potential of IoT devices

Beyond hacked doorbells and refrigerators, certain IoT devices, like self-driving cars, can present serious security threats. Expect more attacks to follow, especially as it is currently easier for a hacker to create an IoT botnet to compromise a device than it is to phish for data in traditional ways. There is a serious lack of security features in the code developed for IoT devices which needs to be addressed.

Due to the risk some of these devices pose to human life, it should be no surprise to hear that the security of IoT coding will come under stricter scrutiny than ever before.

As IoT devices become widely used by businesses and individuals alike, people and organisations will make security considerations a priority in their decisions to use smart devices, not an afterthought.

4. Businesses will assess the cyber security of their own and partners’ networks

Led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) directive requiring banks to manage risks – including cybersecurity risk – in their third-party relationships, companies in all industries will start paying a lot more attention to their business partners’ cybersecurity posture in 2017.

 

Most businesses have large and complex networks of partners, suppliers, vendors and other stakeholders with whom they exchange information on a regular basis. This means that the web of risk is incredibly wide, and a security breach in any link of the chain can expose the entire network.

Boardrooms across all industries have brought concerns about partner network security to the top of their agenda, so in 2017 we will see growth in the adoption of tools that assess risk across the entire network and bring a company’s security status to the forefront for partners, enterprises, and insurers.

5. Biometric security data may become the biggest security vulnerability of all

It started with the innovative Apple TouchID, developed to make it easier for consumers to unlock their phones. But, in 2016, we have seen biometric identification go mainstream – even three year old kids’ fingerprints are being captured when they visit Disney World.

Many believe that biometric security data is safer than digit-based passwords and, if used correctly, it may be so. However, in the wrong hands, biometric security data also has explosive potential.

In the aftermath of the compromise of 5.6 million US government military, civilian and contractor personnel fingerprints, Eva Velasquez, CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, explained that stolen fingerprints may be a big problem in the future.

This is especially the case if biometric technology is used to verify bank accounts, home security systems and even travel verifications.

Author:  Ben Rossi

Source:  http://www.information-age.com/5-cyber-security-predictions-2017-123463528

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Wow! What a year 2016 has been. The big data industry has significant inertia moving into 2017. In order to give our valued readers a pulse on important new trends leading into next year, we here at insideBIGDATA heard from all our friends across the vendor ecosystem to get their insights, reflections and predictions for what may be coming. We were very encouraged to hear such exciting perspectives. Even if only half actually come true, Big Data in the next year is destined to be quite an exciting ride. Enjoy!

IT becomes the data hero. It’s finally IT’s time to break the cycle and evolve from producer to enabler. IT is at the helm of the transformation to self-service analytics at scale. IT is providing the flexibility and agility the business needs to innovate all while balancing governance, data security, and compliance. And by empowering the organization to make data-driven decisions at the speed of business, IT will emerge as the data hero who helps shape the future of the business. – Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer at Tableau

In 2017, we’re going to see analytics do more than ever to drive customer satisfaction. As the world of big data exploded, business leaders had a false comfort in having these mammoth data lakes which brought no value on their own when they were sitting unanalyzed. Plain and simple, data tells us about our customers — it’s how we learn more about customers and how to better serve them. As today’s customers expect a personalized experience when interacting with a business, we’re going to see customer analytics become the spinal cord of the customer journey, creating touch points at every level of the funnel and at every moment of interaction. – Ketan Karkhanis, SVP and GM of the Salesforce Analytics Cloud

Knowing the Unknown Unknowns – Enterprises that apply Big Data analytics across their entire organizations, versus those that simply implement point solutions to solve one specific challenge, will benefit greatly by uncovering business or market anomalies or other risks that they never knew existed. For example, an airline using Big Data to improve customer satisfaction might uncover hiccups in its new aircraft maintenance scheduling that could impact equipment availability. Or, a mobile carrier looking to grow its customer base might discover ways to improve call center efficiency. Discovering these unknown unknowns can enable organizations to make changes or fix issues before they become a problem, and empower them to make more strategic business decisions and retain competitive agility. – Laks Srinivasan, Co-COO, Opera Solutions

Democratization of Data Analysis – In 2017 I believe that C-suite executives will begin to understand that there is a real gap between their data visions and the ability of their enterprise to move data horizontally throughout the organization. In the past, big data analysis has lagged in implementation compared to other parts of the business being transformed by advanced technology such as supply chains. I believe companies will begin to place different data storage systems into the hands of end users in a fast and efficient manner that has user self-direction and flexibility, democratizing data analysis. –  Chuck Pieper, CEO, Cambridge Semantics

The battleground for data-enriched CRM will only continue to heat up in 2017. Data is a great way to extend the value proposition of CRM to businesses of all sizes, especially those in the small-to mid-size range. By providing pre-populated data sets, the amount of “busy work” done by sales and other CRM users is reduced, and the better the data, the more effective individuals can be every moment of the day. A lot of M&A as well as in-house development and partnerships will fuel more data-powered CRM announcements in 2017. The key, of course, is seeing which providers provide the most seamless and most sensible use cases out of the box for their customers.” – Martin Schneider, Vice President of Corporate Communications, SugarCRM

In 2017 (and 2018), streaming analytics will become a default enterprise capability, and we’re going to see widespread enterprise adoption and implementation of this technology as the next big step to help companies gain a competitive advantage from their data. The rate of adoption will be a hockey stick model and ultimately take half the time it has taken Hadoop to rise as the default big data platform over the past six years. Streaming analytics will enable the real-time enterprise, serving as a transformational workload over their data platforms that will effectively move enterprises from analyzing data in batch-mode once or twice a day to the order of seconds to gain real-time insights and taking opportunistic actions. Overall, enterprises leveraging the power of real-time streaming analytics will become more sensitive, agile and gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs and habits to provide an overall better experience. In terms of the technology stack to achieve this, there will be an acceleration in the rise and spread of the usage of open source streaming engines, such as Spark Streaming and Flink, in tight integration with the enterprise Hadoop data lake, and that will increase the demand for tools and easier approaches to leverage open source in the enterprise. – Anand Venugopal, Head of Product, StreamAnalytix, Impetus Technologies

The unique value creation for businesses comes not just from processing and understanding transactions as they happen and then applying models, but by actually doing it before the consumer, or the sensor, logs in to do something. I predict we will quickly move from post-event and even real-time to preemptive analytics that can drive transactions instead of just modifying or optimizing them. This will have a transformative impact on the ability of a data-centric business to identify new revenue streams, save costs and improve their customer intimacy. – Scott Gnau, Chief Technology Officer, Hortonworks

Text analytics will be subsumed by ML/AI in 2017. The terms Text Mining and Text Analytics never really gained the kind of cachet and power in the marketplace that most of us hoped they would. This year will see the terms be subsumed by ML/AI and they’ll become component pieces of AI. – Jeff Catlin, CEO, Lexalytics

IT will start automating the choices for data management and analysis, leading to standardized data prep, quality, and governance. BI tools have been making more decisions for people and automating more processes. The knowledge for doing this — e.g., choosing one chart type over another — was embedded into the tools themselves. Data prep and management tends to be different, because the required rules are specific to the business requirements rather than being inherent in the data. Rule-based data management will enable IT to define rules that the business uses in its analytics processes, making business analysts more productive while still ensuring reliability and reproducibility. For a use case, consider a data scientist who sources data externally, and lets the data tools automatically choose which enterprise data prep and cleansing processes need to be applied. – Jake Freivald, Vice President, Information Builders

Managing the sprawl: Self-service analytics technologies have put analysis into the hands of more users and as a byproduct, led to the creation of derivative artifacts: additional datasets and reports, think Tableau workbooks and Excel spreadsheets. These artifacts have taken on a life of their own. In 2017, we will see a set of technologies begin to emerge to help organize these self-service data sets and manage data sprawl. These technologies will combine automation and encourage organic understanding, guided by well thought-out, but broadly applicable policies. – Venky Ganti, CTO, Alation

We will move from “only visual analysis” to include the whole supply chain of data. We will eventually see visualizations in unified hubs that show us more data, including asset management, catalogs, and portals, as well as visual self-service data preparation. Further, visualizations will become a more common means of communicating insights. The result of this is that more users will have a deeper understanding of the data supply chain, and the use of visual analysis will increase. – Dan Sommer, Senior Director and Market Intelligence Lead, Qlik

Artificial Intelligence

AI, ML, and NLP innovations have really exploded this past year but despite a lot of hype, most of the tangible applications are still based on specialized AI and not general AI. We will continue to see new use-cases of such specialized AI across verticals and key business processes. These use-cases would primarily be focused on the evolutionary process improvement side of the digital transformation. Since the efficiency of ML is based on constant improvement through better and wider training data, this would only add to the already expanding size of the data enterprise needs to manage. Good data management policies would be key to achieving a scalable and sustainable AI vision. For the business users this would mean better access to actionable intelligence, and elimination of routine tasks that can be delegated to the bots. For users who want to stay relevant in the new economy, this would allow them transform their roles in to knowledge workers that focus on tasks that can still only be done based on the general intelligence. Business users that can train the AI models would also be very hot commodity in the economy of future. – Vishal Awasthi, Chief Technology Officer, Dolphin Enterprise Solutions Corporation

Why machine-led, human-augmented intelligence is the next tech revolution – In 2017, more C-suite executives are going to prioritize data-driven business outcomes. As C-level executives see the potential for analytics, they’ve begun to show greater participation in getting analytics off the ground in their organizations, and I expect they’ll be leading the charge this year to ensure insights permeate every level and department of the business. All of the true technological revolutions have happened when people at a mass scale are empowered. So, shifting data science from an ivory tower function to giving everyone in an organization access to advanced, interactive AI will help each employee become smarter and more productive. It’s becoming clearer that when data can inform each and every decision a business user is making, businesses are going to see a real a competitive advantage and business outcome. – Ketan Karkhanis, SVP and GM of the Salesforce Analytics Cloud

Graph-Based Databases for Emerging Tech – The key applications companies are exploring — IoT, machine learning and AI – will be constrained by relational database technology. These areas will move towards sitting on top of graph-based architecture, which by definition, expands much more quickly in response to the output of those learnings. If you think of AI, it cycles back on data many, many times, and once it has a conclusion, it asks for more information. If that information in a relational format is not already there, all those AI, IoT and machine learning programs stop. But if it’s on a graph-based arch it automatically allows itself those multiple levels of joins to bring in more information. That will help unleash the real potential of some of those new technologies. – –  Chuck Pieper, CEO, Cambridge Semantics

The symbiotic relationship between man and machine will enable better decisions. Machines will never replace man, but they will empower and complement the data-driven efforts of workers in the coming years, especially as data becomes more accessible across departments and organizations. The democratization of data, the self-service movement and data’s continued simplicity means more people will be leveraging it in more applications – paving the way for a better man vs. machine relationship. For example, IBM Watson can go through medical papers, research and journals and then present top choices, but only a trained doctor can make the right decision for a specific patient. Adding to that, the reskilling of the workforce through nanodegrees will simplify data even further. Technology is sharpening the workforce and putting the power of data into the hands of business users – AI and machine-learning will only help them achieve more.” – Laura Sellers, VP of Product Management, Alteryx

My prediction about Big Data is that it will be subsumed into the topic of AI, as big data is an enabler of AI not an end in itself. The lack of focus on big data will actually let the field mature with only the serious players and result in much better business results. – Anil Kaul, Co-Founder and CEO of Absolutdata

Companies will stop reinventing the AI wheel. More and more companies are applying artificial intelligence and deep learning into their applications, but a unified, standardized engine to facilitate this process has lagged behind. Today, to insert AI into robots, drones, self-driving cars, and other devices, each company needs to reinvent the wheel. In 2017, we will see the emergence of unified AI engines that will eliminate or greatly mitigate these inefficiencies and propel the formation of a mature AI tech supplier industry.” – Massimiliano Versace, cofounder and CEO, Neurala

AI will (still) be the new black. One topic that was covered ad nauseam in 2016 was AI. While it’s important to be cautious about all of the AI hype (especially when it comes to use cases that sound like science fiction), the reality is that this technology is going to evolve even faster from here on out. It’s just in the past few years that innovative business-to-business companies have started using AI to achieve specific business outcomes. Keynoters at this year’s IBM World of Watson conference highlighted ways in which it is already delivering impressive business value, as well as examples of how it might help a CEO decide whether to buy a competitor, or help a doctor diagnose a patient’s symptoms in just the next three to five years. – Sean Zinsmeister, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Infer

Artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives will continue, but in the vein of commoditisation – AI is garnering interest in the legal sector, but a closer inspection of the tools and apps being made available reveal that they are presently more similar to commoditised legal services in the form of packaged, low cost modules for areas such as wills, contracts, pre-nuptials and non-disclosure agreements for the benefit of consumers. Undoubtedly, AI offers tremendous potential and some large law firms have launched initiatives to leverage the technology. However, there’s a significant amount of work to be done in defining the ethical and legal boundaries for AI, before the technology can truly be utilised for delivering legal services to clients with minimal human involvement. Until then, in 2017 and perhaps for a few more years yet, we will continue to see incremental innovative efforts to leverage the technology, but in the vein of commoditisation – similar to what we have seen in the last 12 months. – Roy Russell, CEO of Ascertus Limited

AI and analytics vendor M&A activity will accelerate — There’s no doubt that there’s a massive land grab for anything AI, machine learning or deep learning. Major players as diverse as Google, Apple, Salesforce and Microsoft to AOL, Twitter and Amazon drove the acquisition trend this year. Due to the short operating history of most of the startups being acquired, these moves are as much about acquiring the limited number of AI experts on the planet as the value of what each company has produced to date. The battle for AI enterprise mindshare has clearly been drawn between IBM Watson, Salesforce Einstein, and Oracle’s Adaptive Intelligent Applications. What’s well understood is that AI needs a consistent foundation of reliable data upon which to operate. With a limited number of startups offering these integrated capabilities, the quest for relevant insights and ultimately recommended actions that can help with predictive and more efficient forecasting and decision-making will lead to even more aggressive M&A activity in 2017. – Ramon Chen, CMO, Reltio

AI and machine learning are already infiltrating the workforce across a multitude of industries. In fact, when it comes to HR and people management, more and more companies are starting to deploy technologies that bring transparency to data around the work employees do. This is creating huge opportunities for businesses to leverage frequent touch points, check-ins and opportunities to provide feedback to employees and get a holistic picture of what’s driving work. In 2017 we can expect to see data and analytics used more in HR and management to help visualize behaviors of employees, from the time they were hired to their success down the road, and understand why they have been so successful. By using machine learning companies can focus on building teams to support long-term goal achievement, instead of frantically hiring to fill immediate needs. – Kris Duggan, CEO of BetterWorks

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming more accessible. Previously, you needed a lot of training to implement AI, but this is becoming less and less true as technology becomes more intelligent. Over the next several years, we can expect AI to become more of a commodity and companies like Google and Microsoft will make it extremely easy for developers to analyze large amounts of data on their platform. Once that data analysis is done, developers will be able to implement processes based on those results, which is essentially AI. In the next year we can expect that AI will become much easier to implement for developers via API calls into their applications. – Kurt Collins, Director of Technology Evangelism & Partnerships, Built.io

This year we saw customer interactions evolve from traditional question and answer dialogues, to intelligent machines now enhancing the process and experience. Machines are learning patterns and providing answers to customers to help eliminate some of the mundane tasks that customer service agents used to handle; and intelligent machine personas like the Alexa in the Amazon Echo and Siri in various Apple devices, are paving the way. In 2017, we’ll see more capabilities when it comes to artificial intelligence and customer service like Alexa triggering a call from contact center based on a question about online order status, thermostats submitting a trouble ticket after noticing a problem with the heater, or Siri searching through a cable company’s FAQ to answer to a commonly asked question about internet service troubleshooting. However, one thing will always remain true – human interactions will still be critical when dealing with complex situations or to provide the empathy that is needed in customer service. – Mayur Anadkat, VP of Product Marketing, Five9

For some, the mere mention of artificial intelligence (AI) corresponds to a fashion return from decades ago. So yes, those wide ties are back, and in 2017 we’ll see the rapid adoption of AI in the form of relatively straightforward algorithms deployed on large data sets to address repetitive automated tasks. First a brief history of AI. In the 1960s, Ray Solomonoff laid the foundations of a mathematical theory of AI, introducing universal Bayesian methods for inductive inference and prediction. In 1980 the First National Conference of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) was held at Stanford and marked the application of theories in software. AI is now back in mainstream discussions and the umbrella buzzword for machine intelligence, machine learning, neural networks, and cognitive computing. Why is AI a rejuvenated trend? The three V’s come to mind: Velocity, Variety and Volume. Platforms that can process the three V’s with modern and traditional processing models that scale horizontally providing 10-20X cost efficiency over traditional platforms. Google has documented how simple algorithms executed frequently against large datasets yield better results than other approaches using smaller sets. We’ll see the highest value from applying AI to high volume repetitive tasks where consistency is more effective than gaining human intuitive oversight at the expense of human error and cost. – John Schroeder, Chairman and Founder, MapR

The Cognitive Era of computing will make it possible to converge artificial intelligence, business intelligence, machine learning and real-time analytics in various ways that will make real-time intelligence a reality. Such “speed of thought” analyses would not be possible were it not for the unprecedented performance afforded by hardware acceleration of in-memory data stores. By delivering extraordinary performance without the need to define a schema or index in advance, GPU acceleration provides the ability to perform exploratory analytics that will be required for cognitive computing. – Eric Mizell, Vice President, Global Solutions Engineering, Kinetica

We expect three of the well-funded ML/AI companies to go out of business, while a number of the lesser funded companies will not get off the ground. In addition, we’ll lose more than a few pure-play text analytics companies as ML/AI subsumes more and more of the functionality. The influx of cash isn’t infinite, and companies will need to learn the importance of ROI/TCO analysis. Do you really need a slide or firepole between floors? No. Do you need to have budget for things like, say, salary and advertising, yes. Another common failure will be over-investing in the engineering aspect of the business. While it’s critical to have a great product, people also need to hear about it. If you can’t clearly articulate your business necessity, then it doesn’t matter how cool the product is. – Jeff Catlin, CEO, Lexalytics

Deep Learning will move out of the hype zone and into reality. Deep learning is getting massive buzz recently. Unfortunately, many people are once again making the mistake of thinking that deep learning is a magic, cure-all bullet for all things analytics. The fact is that deep learning is amazingly powerful for some areas such as image recognition. However, that doesn’t mean it can apply everywhere. While deep learning will be in place at a large number of companies in the coming year, the market will start to recognize where it really makes sense and where it does not. By better defining where deep learning plays, it will increase focus on the right areas and speed the delivery of value. – Bill Franks, Chief Analytics Officer, Teradata

By the end of 2017, the idea of deep learning will have matured and true use cases will emerge. For example, Google uses it to look at faces and then determine if the face is happy, sad, etc. There are also existing use cases in which the police is using it to compare the “baseline” facial structure to “real time” facial expressions to determine intoxication, duress or other potentially adverse activities. – Joanna Schloss, Director of Product Marketing, Datameer

The future of all enterprise processes will be driven by Artificial Intelligence, which requires the highest quality of data to be successful. AI is where all business processes are headed; however, with the recent push of AI technology advancements for businesses – many companies have not addressed how they will ensure that the data their AI models are built on is high quality. Data quality is key to pulling accurate insights and actions and in 2017, we will see more companies focus on solving the challenge of maintaining accurate, valuable data, so that AI technology lives up to its promise of driving change and improvement for businesses. – Darian Shirazi, CEO and Co-Founder, Radius

Prediction: Artificial Intelligence will Create New Marketing Categories, Like the B2B Business Concierge. In 2017, AI will allow marketers to create highly personalized ads tailored to buyer’s specific interests in real-time through superior and infinite knowledge. AI will also make mass email marketing tools obsolete (and the resulting spam email), automatically scanning out the “bad” leads and creating custom, personalized communication instead. As AI continues to advance, we can expect to see the recommendation engines that power companies like Netflix and Amazon develop specifically for the B2B market. This will start to pave the way for a B2B business concierge – a completely automated and customized buyer’s journey throughout the funnel that is driven by AI. – Chris Golec, Founder & CEO, Demandbase

AI-as-a-Service will take off: In 2016 AI was applied to solve known problems. And as we move forward, we will start leveraging AI to gain greater insights into ongoing problems that we didn’t even know existed. Using AI to uncover these “unknown unknowns” will free us to collaborate more and tackle new, interesting and life-changing challenges … AI will amplify humans: We have made enormous leaps forward to build machines capable of understanding and simulating human tasks, even mimicking our thought process. 2017 will be the year of knowledge-based AI, as we develop systems based on knowledge, which learn and retain knowledge of prior tasks, rather than pure automation of tasks we want performed. This will completely disrupt the way we work as human capabilities are amplified by machines that learn, remember and inform … AI will be seen as solving the workforce crisis, not creating it: As the baby boomer generation retires, enterprises are on the brink of losing significant institutional mindshare and knowledge. With the astronomical price tag of losing these workers, enterprises are turning to knowledge management and machine learning to train AI to capture institutional knowledge and act on our behalf. In the coming year and beyond, we will see AI adoption not only come from technological need, but also from the need to capture current employee insights and know-how. – Abdul Razack, SVP & Head of Platforms, Big Data and Analytics, Infosys

How Does AI Fit in an Enterprise? Whatever the industry, we can take better advantage of AI by making our current work tools — apps, medical devices, supply chain systems — much better through machine learning. The key is in the delivery — in other words, the “operationalization” of the analytics. I like to use the analogy of the self-driving car. The best autonomous vehicle systems will surely be able to handle the driving task in typical conditions; there are lots of little decisions to be made, but they are straightforward and easy to make. It’s when conditions become more challenging that the magic happens; the car will not only know when a human should intervene but also will smoothly transfer control to the driver and then back again to the machine. We’re on the cusp of where our everyday work apps and devices shift from repositories to assistants — and we need to start planning for it. Today, employees — or their boss — determine the next set of tasks to focus on. They log into an app, go through a checklist, generate a BI report, etc. In contrast, AI could automatically serve up 50% (or more) of what a specific employee needs to focus on that day, and deliver those tasks via a Slack app or Salesforce Chatter. Success will be found in making AI pervasive across apps and operations and in its ability to affect people’s work behavior to achieve larger business objectives. – Dan Udoutch, CEO, Alpine Data

Many Fortune 500 brands are already using chatbots, and many more are developing them as we speak. What’s ahead for the industry? Though it may not seem sexy, the next year will be a foundational one when it comes to applying AI. Chatbots are only as valuable as the relationships they build and the scenarios they can support, so their level of sophistication will make or break them. Investing in AI is only one piece of the puzzle, and 2017 will be the year that companies need to expand their AI initiatives while also doubling down on investing to improve them with new data streams and integration across channels. – Dave O’Flanagan, CEO, Boxever

The AI Hypecycle and Trough of Disillusionment, 2017: IDC predicts that by 2018, 75 percent of enterprise and ISV development will include cognitive/AI or machine learning functionality in at least one application. While dazzling POCs will continue to capture our imaginations, companies will quickly realize that AI is a lot harder than it appears at first blush and a more measured, long-term approach to AI is needed. AI is only as intelligent as the data behind it, and we are not yet at a point where enough organizations can harvest their data well enough to fulfill their AI dreams. – Ashley Stirrup, CMO, Talend

Hybrid Deep Learning systems. In 2017 we’ll see the rise of embedded analytics, optimized by cloud-based learning. The hybrid architectures used by autonomous vehicles – systems embedded within the vehicle to make numerous decisions per second, augmented by cloud-based learning platforms capable of optimizing decisions across the fleet – will serve as the foundation for the next generation of IoT machines. – Snehal Antani, CTO, Splunk

The focus will shift from “advanced analytics” to “advancing analytics.” Advanced analytics will continue to grow, and eventually be brought into self-service tools. With more users advancing their analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) might play a bigger role in organizations. But that means AI will also need to have high levels of usability as well, since users will need it to augment their analyses and business decisions. – Dan Sommer, Senior Director and Market Intelligence Lead, Qlik

Big Data

Many companies have ideas and initiatives around big data, but not a solid understanding of how it, along with the subsequent insights, will help them better the business or develop new solutions. Technology suddenly gave organizations the ability to process large amounts of data at a high frequency. That together with the move to mobile (as every consumer has one or more devices that they are constantly online with) drives a lot of data – whether through social networks, search engines or more. You have the information but it needs to be taken one step further – you need to analyze it. The question for big data is “what can I learn from it? Where can I make meaningful insights? – Dr. Werner Hopf, CEO and Archiving Principal, Dolphin Enterprise Solutions Corporation

Big data becomes fast and approachable. Sure, you can perform machine learning and conduct sentiment analysis on Hadoop, but the first question people often ask is: “How fast is the interactive SQL?” SQL, after all, is the conduit to business users who want to use Hadoop data for faster, more repeatable KPI dashboards as well as exploratory analysis. In 2017, options will expand to speed up Hadoop. This shift has already started, as evidenced by the adoption of faster databases like Exasol and MemSQL, Hadoop-based stores like Kudu, and technologies that enable faster queries. – Dan Kogan, director of product marketing at Tableau

Big Data, More Data, Fragmented Data – As we amass more enterprise data and blend third-party data, we create greater opportunity for insight and impact. However, let’s be honest. All companies are not created equal when it comes to their Big Data learning curves and sophistication. We will continue to see companies investing in, yet struggling with building their data layers.  Opera Solutions expects to see more attention and focused on data flow, data layers, and the emergence of the insights layer. – Georges Smine, VP Project Marketing, Opera Solutions

Moving into SMB – I see the advent of the big data analytics and discovery for SMB to start taking root in 2017. Big, rich, data environments such as pharma, healthcare, life sciences, financial services, insurance are the current industries leading big data analytics but graph-based databases can also be used by small companies, where you don’t want to spend your time coding and recoding every time you change your mind about what it is you want to look for. –  Chuck Pieper, CEO, Cambridge Semantics

Despite the hype and promise of big data and AI, few clear examples exist today where these technologies impact our lives on a daily basis. Serving relevant ads to website visitors and detecting fraud in credit card transactions come to mind. These companies have invested in big data and machine learning for years, which has allowed them to develop solid data architectures. Companies that have lived with NoSQL databases for more than a year know that ignoring data model design and instead leaning too heavily on the flexible, schema-free capabilities of these databases leads to poorly performing applications, difficult maintainability, and ultimately rework. In 2017, I predict the discipline of data modeling will gain strength as a sought-after skill set and project activity, particularly for companies dedicated to building impactful data strategies. Tools, such as well-designed industry clouds provide the professional data model design necessary for long-term success.” – J.J. Jakubik, Chief Architect, Vlocity

The sheer volume of data generated by applications and infrastructure will only increase, resulting in data overload. For the first time, IT Operations teams will embrace an algorithmic approach – also known as Algorithmic IT Operations, or AIOps – to detect signal from noise to ensure successful service delivery. AIOps platforms will provide IT Operations teams with situational awareness and diagnostic capabilities that were not previously possible using manual, non-algorithmic techniques.” – Michael Butt, Senior Product Marketing Manager at BigPanda

We’re living in a big data glut. But in 2017, we’ll see data become more intelligent, more useable, and more relevant than ever. The cloud has opened the doors to more affordable, smart data solutions that make it possible for non-technical users to explore, through visualization tools, the power of predictive analytics. We’re also seeing the increasing democratization of artificial intelligence which is driving more sophisticated consumer insights and decision-making. Forward-thinking organizations need to approach predictive analytics with the future and extensibility in mind. Today’s tools may not be the best for tomorrow’s needs. Cloud solutions are still evolving and haven’t reached functionality maturity yet, but by merging cloud, open source, and agile development methodologies into their predictive analytics stack, organizations will be able to easily adopt as technology advances.  – Slava Koltovich, CEO, EastBanc Technologies

One Team, One Platform – Data is the common thread within the enterprise, regardless of where the source might be. In the past data handlers have relied on disparate systems for data needs. Next year, the goal will be to move data into the future by providing a one-stop shop to access, develop and explore data. Companies will now look to one data platform for integrated cloud services with easy access and consistent behavior that is equipped to satisfy the needs of diverse data-hungry professionals across the organization. Just as you can easily access a variety of apps on your smartphone, business users and data professionals will look to deploy one platform that allows their organization to tap into the rich capabilities of data. – Derek Schoettle, General Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM Watson and Cloud Platform

Next year will bring about another deluge of data brought on by advancements in the way we capture it. As more hardware and software is instrumented especially for this purpose, such as IoT devices, it will become easier and cheaper to capture data. Organizations will continue to feed on the increased data volume while the big data industry struggles through a shortage of data scientists and the boundaries imposed by non-scalable legacy software that can’t perform analytics at a granular level on big data data. Healthcare will especially be hard hit in this regard. Sources of huge healthcare data sets are becoming more abundant, ranging from macro-level sources like surveys by the World Health Organization, to micro-level sources like next-generation Genomics technologies. Healthcare professionals are leveraging these data to improve the quality and speed of their services. Even traditional technology companies are venturing into this field. For example, Google is ploughing money into its healthcare initiatives like Calico, its “life-expansion” project, and Verily, which is aimed at disease prevention. We expect the demand for innovative technical solutions in all industries, particularly healthcare to explode in popularity next year. – Michael Upchurch, COO, Fuzzy Logix

Data lakes will finally become useful — Many companies who took the data lake plunge in the early days have spent a significant amount of money not only buying into the promise of low cost storage and process, but a plethora of services in order to aggregate and make available significant pools of big data to be correlated and uncovered for better insights. The challenge has been finding skilled data scientists that are able to make sense of the information, while also guaranteeing the reliability of data upon which data is being aligned and correlated to (although noted expert Tom Davenport recently claimed it’s a myth that data scientists are hard to find). Data lakes have also fallen short in providing input into and receiving real-time updates from operational applications. Fortunately, the gap is narrowing between what has traditionally been the discipline and set of technologies known as master data management (MDM), and the world of operational applications, analytical data warehouses and data lakes. With existing big data projects recognizing the need for a reliable data foundation, and new projects being combined into a holistic data management strategy, data lakes may finally fulfill their promise in 2017. – Ramon Chen, CMO, Reltio

I believe customers will choose solutions in Big Data that deliver faster time to value, simple deployment with ease of management, interoperability with open source tools and solutions that help bridge the skills gap. I predict that Big Data technologies like Hadoop will be adopted at an accelerated rate because customers must get smarter about data. Based on customer conversations, they understand they could be disrupted by a new competitor with a data driven business model. Hadoop will be at the core of a data driven business allowing organizations to be more agile, know more about their customers, and offer new services ahead of the competition. I believe the strength of the community, the work of Cloudera and Hortonworks along with maturing ecosystem tools, as well as interoperability with analytical tools, will provide a secure, enterprise ready data platform. – Armando Acosta, Hadoop Product Manager and Data Analytics SME, Dell EMC

Open source and faux-pen source data technology choices will continue to proliferate, but the new model will redistribute rather than purely reduce costs for enterprises. Vendors are walking away from traditional database and data warehouse business models. Prime examples of this are Pivotal open sourcing Greenplum, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) spinning off Vertica and other assets, and Actian stopping support for Matrix (formerly ParAccel). Open source projects – or in many cases, vendor sponsored faux-pen sources – are becoming the new model for data processing technology. But while open source reduces the costs of vendor licensing, it also shifts responsibility to the enterprise to sort through the options, assemble stacks and productionize open source projects. This increase in complexity and consumption challenges requires new hiring and/or partnering with as-a-Service cloud vendors. – Prat Moghe, Founder and CEO, Cazena

In 2017 organizations will shift from the “build it and they will come” data lake approach to a business-driven data approach. Use case orientation drives the combination of analytics and operations. Approaching a data lake as “Imagine what your business could do if all your data were collected in one centralized, secure, fully-governed place that any department can access anytime, anywhere.” could sound attractive at a high level, but too frequently results in a data swamp that looks like a data warehouse rebuild and can’t address real-time and operational use case requirements. Once in place the concept is to “ask questions”. In reality, the world moves faster today. Today’s world requires analytics and operational capabilities to address customers, process claims and interface to devices in real time at an individual level. For example any ecommerce site must provide individualized recommendations and price checks in real time. Healthcare organizations must process valid claims and block fraudulent claims by combining analytics with operational systems. Media companies are now personalizing content served though set top boxes. Auto manufacturers and ride sharing companies are interoperating at scale with cars and the drivers. Delivering these use cases requires an agile platform that can provide both analytical and operational processing to increase value from additional use cases that span from back office analytics to front office operations. In 2017, organizations will push aggressively beyond an “asking questions” approach and architect to drive initial and long term business value. – John Schroeder, Chairman and Founder, MapR

Big data goes self-service. Organizations that have realized the value of big data now face a new problem: IT and data teams are being flooded with requests from users to pull data. To address this, we’ll see more organizations opt for a self-service data model so that anyone in the company can easily pull data to uncover new insights to make business decisions. A self-service infrastructure allows any employee to easily access and analyze data, saving IT and data teams precious time and resources. To make this a reality, all types of data in every department will need to be published so that users can self-serve. – Ashish Thusoo, CEO, Qubole

2017 will be the year organizations begin to rekindle trust in their data lakes. The “dump it in the data lake” mentality compromises analysis and sows distrust in the data. With so many new and evolving data sources like sensors and connected devices, organizations must be vigilant about the integrity of their data and expect and plan for regular, unanticipated changes to the format of their incoming data. Next year, organizations will begin to change their mindset and look for ways to constantly monitor and sanitize data as it arrives, before it reaches its destination. – Girish Pancha, CEO and Founder, StreamSets

Companies have been collecting data for awhile, so the data lake is well-stocked with fish. But the people who needed data most couldn’t generally find the right fish. I support the notion of a data lake, dumping all your raw data into one data warehouse. But it doesn’t work if you don’t have a way to make it cohesive when you query it. There have been great innovations by companies like Segment, Fivetran and Stitch, which make moving data into the lake easier. Modeling data is the final step that brings it all together and helps some of the best companies in the world see through data.
Companies like Docker, Amazon Prime Now and BuzzFeed are using all their data to create comprehensive views of their customers and of their businesses. When these final two steps are added, the data lake can finally be a powerful way to get all your data into the hands of every decision-maker to make companies more successful. – Lloyd Tabb, Founder, Chairman & CTO, Looker

In 2017, organizations will stop letting data lakes be their proverbial ball and chain. Centralized data stores still have a place in initiatives of the future: How else can you compare current data with historical data to identify trends and patterns? Yet, relying solely on a centralized data strategy will ensure data weighs you down. Rather than a data lake-focused approach, organizations will begin to shift the bulk of their investments to implementing solutions that enable data to be utilized where it’s generated and where business process occur – at the edge. In years to come, this shift will be understood as especially prescient, now that edge analytics and distributed strategies are becoming increasingly important parts of deriving value from data. – Adam Wray, CEO, Basho Technologies

In 2017, the reports of Big Data’s death will be greatly exaggerated, as will the hype around IoT and AI. In reality, all of these disciplines focus on data capture, curation, analysis and modeling. The importance of that suite of activities won’t go away unless all businesses cease operation. – Andrew Brust, Senior Director, Market Strategy and Intelligence, Datameer

Big data or bust in 2017? Big data is an example of something that didn’t get as far along as people predicted. Of course, it wasn’t stagnant. But nearly everyone involved in the enterprise sector would like it to move faster. The problem is that companies struggle, in general, to make sense of big data because of its sheer volume, the speed in which it is collected and the great variety of content it encompasses. Looking ahead, we can expect to see newer tools and procedures that will help companies house and examine these massive amounts of data and help them move toward truly making data-driven decisions. – Bob DeSantis, COO, Conga

In the new world of data, DBMS is really the management of a collection of data systems. This deserves a new thinking or approach to how we manage these systems and the applications that leverage them. The enterprise has long relied on raw logs and systems monitoring solutions to optimize their Big Data applications—and as companies continue to adopt numerous disparate Big Data technologies to help meet their business needs, complexity is only increasing while the time required to diagnose and resolve issues grows exponentially, all of which is underlined by an acute shortage of talent capable of effectively running and maintaining these intricate Big Data systems. The primary challenge faced by the enterprise is finding a single full-stack platform capable of analyzing, optimizing and resolving any issues that exists with Big Data applications and the infrastructure supporting them. In the year ahead, the enterprise will search for a solution that addresses the unmet challenges of data teams that find themselves spending much of their day digging through machine logs in order to identify the root cause of problems on a Big Data stack. These problems, if not eradicated, will continue to reduce application performance and divert teams from their real mission of deriving the full value from their Big Data. Ideal solutions will be ones that resolve problems automatically, detecting and pinpointing performance and reliability issues with Big Data applications running on clusters; solutions that open up the doors to data equality across the enterprise, that with just the click of a button, drastically accelerate the time-to-value of Big Data investments. – Unravel Data

Big data wanes – Big data will continue to wane as a term. The focus now turns from infrastructure to applications with specific purposes. Companies will look to applications and new business models for concrete value, rather than the more general idea that data can be useful at scale. – Satyen Sangani, CEO, Alation

Business Intelligence

Self-service extends to data prep. While self-service data discovery has become the standard, data prep has remained in the realm of IT and data experts. This will change in 2017. Common data-prep tasks like data parsing, JSON and HTML imports, and data wrangling will no longer be delegated to specialists. With new innovations in this transforming space, everyone will be able to tackle these tasks as part of their analytics flow. – Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer at Tableau

Many Big Data systems are lacking simple UI’s for data input and classification. This usually requires highly technical staff and costs for the configuration, ongoing use, and for the interpretation of Big Data. This produces a high cost of entry and ongoing expenses. To add insult to injury, even once deployed, if the tool cannot be completely adopted by all necessary end users due to complexity, all BI efforts may be for naught. Successful User Interfaces (UI’s) are simple and flexible and modify to the needs of a variety of users and any changes to fluid data sets. This is the future of Big Data. Making Big Data even more accessible accurate, and therefore indispensable. Just as other technologies have evolved, BI is evolving to be more accessible than ever to today’s business. This will only continue in the future. – Dave Bethers, Chief Operations Officer, TCN

Digital transformation will be a CIO imperative for greater than 50% of all institutions. As such, IT will no longer be pushing Big Data technologies to the business owners. Instead, IT will need to respond to the demands for faster and more predicative analytics. Data scientists will be embedded into the business units in larger companies and in the smaller firms, everyone will be considered a citizen data scientist. Regardless, business intelligence will no longer be considered a department but an attitude. A way of life. At least for those who plan to be in business by 2019. – Anthony Dina, Director Data Analytics, Dell EMC

In 2017, business people will become ‘data mixologists’, capable of blending data from any combination of systems – centralized and decentralized – to produce new insights on their own, share them with others, and make better, more trusted business decisions. Historically, mixing together data from spreadsheets, databases, or applications like Marketo, Salesforce and Google Analytics has been an inaccessible capability for business people, as well as a data governance nightmare. Until now, self-service data prep tools have been designed for data scientists who work in silos of disconnected data – a phenomenon known as “data discovery sprawl”. These silos produce inaccurate and unreliable insights, and they don’t put those insights in the hands of business decision-makers. In the coming year, we will see business users choose modern tools that help them become data mixologists, making empowered decisions from trustworthy data sets. – Pedro Arellano, VP of Product Strategy, Birst

Cloud

The move to serverless architectures will become more widespread in the coming years, and will impact how applications are deployed and managed. Serverless architectures allow users to deploy code and run applications without managing the supporting infrastructure. Instead, the supporting infrastructure is managed by a third party. AWS’ cloud service Amazon Lambda is an example, and we anticipate growth in the number of providers and the breadth of enterprise-ready applications. As use of serverless architectures begin to rise, the overall application development and deployment strategy will begin to shift away from operations and more towards business logic. More cloud providers will also begin migrating to this form of architecture, allowing for a more competitive market with more expansive application support. As such, it will be important for database solution providers to be ‘cloud-ready.’ – Patrick McFadin, Chief Evangelist for Apache Cassandra, DataStax

The conversation around vendor lock-in is becoming much more prominent in senior level meetings, spurred on by many enterprises’ decision to move to the public cloud. To this point, the issue of vendor lock-in was initially discussed as a black or white situation. However, in 2017 we are going to see this conversation shift to acknowledge the many shades of gray, as executives realize and consider the varying degrees of lock-in and how it impacts various departments and levels of management. Examining the potential consequences of using proprietary technology on the different levels of the hardware and software stack will be an important issue within companies this year as more enterprises implement digital transformation initiatives. – Bob Wiederhold, CEO, Couchbase

Big data and the cloud will go hand-in-hand. Five years ago concerns over security and compliance kept enterprises from embracing big data in the cloud. Now, best practices and advancements in technology have allayed those concerns while the cloud’s agility and ease of use are becoming must-have’s for processing big data. As big data moves from an experiment to an organization-wide endeavor, the cost, time and resources needed to manage a massive data center don’t make sense. As a result, more and more companies will look to the cloud to help with the costs of data management. In 2017, expect enterprises to move their big data projects to the cloud in droves. – Ashish Thusoo, CEO, Qubole

2017 will be the year big data platforms go operational with the rise of hybrid clouds. We will see more customer cloud apps, such as Salesforce CRM and Oracle CX, accessing big data insights directly from on-premises big data platforms, which are the foundations of enterprises’ digital transformation and omni-channel marketing strategies. Examples of big data insights that support additional functional areas, such as sales and marketing, include predictive models, lead scoring or personalization. This typically starts with the ingestion of customer and marketing data into a data lake, where the source data is commonly stored in hybrid cloud and on-premises systems. And to operationalize those insights, we’ll see greater demand for standard REST interfaces to big data sets primarily accessible from SQL (such as Hive, Impala or Hawq) for hybrid connectivity from SaaS applications or cloud and mobile application development. For on-premises consumers of hybrid data, we expect hosted big data platforms such as IBM BigInsights on Cloud, Amazon EMR, Azure HDInsights or SAP Altiscale to run more big data workloads, not suitable for local data centers, in the cloud and sending only the insights to on-premises systems for core business operations. – Sumit Sarkar’s, Chief Data Evangelist, Progress

Big-Data-as-a-Service. Big Data continued to see rising adoption throughout 2016, and we’ve observed an increasing number of organizations that are transitioning from experimental projects to large-scale deployments in production. However, the complexity and cost associated with traditional Big Data infrastructure has also prevented a number of enterprises from moving forward. Until recently, most enterprise Hadoop deployments were implemented the traditional way: on bare-metal physical servers with direct attached storage. Big-Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) has emerged as a simpler and more cost-effective option for deploying Hadoop as well as Spark, Kafka, Cassandra, and other Big Data frameworks. As the public cloud becomes a more common deployment model for Big Data, we anticipate many of these deployments shifting to BDaaS offerings in 2017. In addition to solutions offered by newer BDaaS vendors like BlueData and Qubole, we’ll see more initiatives from established public cloud players like AWS, Google, IBM, and Microsoft. We can also expect a range of other announcements that will further validate the trend toward BDaaS, including both major partnerships (such as VMware’s recent embrace of AWS) and acquisitions (SAP buying Altiscale). As the ecosystem expands, customers will have the flexibility to choose from a range of BDaaS solutions, including public cloud as well as on-premises and even hybrid options (e.g. compute in the cloud and data stored on-premises). – BlueData

Data Governance

The Chief Data Officer Moves to New Heights – In this past year, we’ve seen the Chief Data Officer emerge as an instrumental part of the organization’s plan to harness the full value of data for competitive advantage. In 2017 we will see this role evolve further with the acceleration of CDO hires across industries to help with competitive pressures, aggressive global regulations (things like GDPR and BCBS 239) and the general increasing speed of business. Gartner predicts that by 2019, 90% of large organizations will have a CDO. We see this happening much quicker with the CDO rising as data hero within the organization when faced with the new challenges of managing the big data overload dispersed in separate systems and data silos among specific groups and users enterprise-wide. Wearing a super cape, CDOs will figure out a way to break down the data unrest that likely exists today by implementing business-focused governance processes and platforms and enabling and empowering every user across the enterprise to use and capitalize on data for competitive advantage. – Stan Christiaens, co-founder and CTO of data governance leader Collibra

In 2017, the governance vs. data value tug of war will be front and center. Enterprises have a wealth of information about their customers and partners. Leaders are transforming their companies from industry sector leaders to data driven companies. Organizations are now facing an escalating tug of war between governance required for compliance, and the use of data to provide business value and implement security to avoid damaging data leaks and breeches. Financial services and heath care are the most obvious industries with customers counting in the millions with heavy governance requirements. Leading organizations will manage their data between regulated and non-regulated use cases. Regulated use cases data require governance; data quality and lineage so a regulatory body can report and track data through all transformations to originating source. This is mandatory and necessary but limiting for non-regulatory use cases like customer 360 or offer serving where higher cardinality, real-time and a mix of structured and unstructured yields more effective results. – John Schroeder, Chairman and Founder, MapR

Moore’s Law holds true for databases. Per Moore’s law, CPUs are always getting faster and cheaper. Of late, databases have been following the same pattern. In 2013, Amazon changed the game when they introduced Redshift, a massively parallel processing database that allowed companies to store and analyze all their data for a reasonable price. Since then however, companies who saw products like Redshift as datastores with effectively limitless capacity have hit a wall. They have hundreds of terabytes or even petabytes of data and are stuck between paying more for the speed they had become accustomed to, or waiting five minutes for a query to return. Enter (or reenter) Moore’s law. Redshift has become the industry standard for cloud MPP databases, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. With that said, our prediction for 2017 is that on-demand MPP databases like Google BigQuery and Snowflake will see a huge uptick in popularity. On-demand databases charge pennies for storage, allowing companies to store data without worrying about cost. When users want to run queries or pull data, it spins up the hardware it needs and gets the job done in seconds. They’re fast, scalable, and we expect to see a lot of companies using them in 2017. – Lloyd Tabb, Founder, Chairman & CTO, Looker

The rise of “applied governance” to unstructured data. Earlier this year, more than 20,000 pages of top-secret Indian Navy data, including schematics on the their Scorpene-class submarines, were leaked. It’s been a huge setback for the Indian government. It’s also an unfortunate case study for what happens when you lack controls over unstructured information, such as blueprints that might be sitting in some legacy engineering software system. Now, replace the Indian Navy scenario with a situation involving the schematics for a Nuclear power plant or consumer IoT device, and the value of secure content curation becomes even more immeasurable. If unstructured blueprints and files are being physically printed or copied, or digitally transferred, how will you even know that content now exists? Tracking this ‘dark data’ – particularly in industrial environments – will be a top security priority in 2017. – Ankur Laroia, Leader – Solutions Strategy, Alfresco

Organizations have viewed data governance as a tax. It’s something you had to do for compliance or regulatory reasons, but it wasn’t adding value to the business. In reality, governance is crucial to driving business value. Think about the enormous amount of time and money being spent these days to harness the value of data – the whole Big Data movement. Organizations know there is tremendous value to be had, but many of them aren’t actually getting the value despite their investment. Gartner says: Through 2018, 80% of data lakes will not include effective metadata management capabilities, making them inefficient. Why? Two reasons: First, they don’t have the lineage and provenance of the data they’re analyzing. When they put bad or misleading data into their analysis, they’re going to get unreliable results back out. That’s a lack of data governance. Second, and perhaps even worse, organizations are afraid to share the data they’ve gone to great expense to create. They can’t answer questions such as: Under what agreements was the data collected? Which pieces are personal information? Who’s allowed to see it? In which geographies? With what redistribution rights? If you can’t answer these questions, you can’t share the data. Your data lake is fenced off. This is another failure of governance. Businesses will realize that governance gives them the highest quality results, that can be shared with the right audiences, and drive the greatest business value. – Joe Pasqua – EVP Products, MarkLogic

The Chief Data Officer position will pick up steam significantly. This is a sure sign of the pendulum swinging back: A company officer centrally managing the value of data. And a CDO’s job isn’t to empower analysts per se, although that will often be part of what they do. If that were all it was, companies could save a lot of money by handing out tools and not creating the CDO position. The CDO’s job is to extract maximum value from data. That can be done in many ways, including customer-facing portals, large-scale analytical apps, data feeds that stem from unified views of business entities, embedded BI inside other enterprise applications, and so on.So as the CDO position picks up steam, we can expect to see larger data-focused projects where information is managed and shared across divisional and even company boundaries, leading to better data monetization, lower per-user cost of data, and higher business value per unit of data. – Jake Freivald, Vice President, Information Builders

Data Science

In 2017 we will see an increased valuation of the critical thinking in the workplace, as people realize that there is not a deficit of data in the enterprise, but a deficit of insight. Companies will realize that data without additional tenets of knowledge or value, is both polarizing and damaging. The role of data scientist will evolve to become “the knowledge engineer.” We will see fewer “alchemists” – promising magic from data patterns alone, and more “chemists” — combining the elements of knowledge, data, context, and insight to deliver productivity enhancements that we have yet to imagine. – Donal Daly, CEO, Altify

We spend a lot of time thinking about what developers want & need in a tool, both right now and in the future. In software development, complexity is inevitable – tech stack, libraries, formats, protocols – and that complexity won’t be decreasing any time soon. The most successful tool is one that is simple, but not dumbed down or less powerful. I believe that tools will need to become even more powerful in 2017, and the successful tools will be ones that work for the developer rather than the other way around. Tools will need to be smarter to learn from the user automatically, proactive to inform the user automatically, collaborative to connect users with others, and visual and tangible to show and manipulate. This meta-increase in toolsets is possible now for a number of reasons. Memory, processing power, and connectivity speed continue to explode, while at the same time visual tools (like 4K screens) get better and better. Plus, the continued rise of social coding increases the need to powerful collaborative tools to support the developer. – Abhinav Asthana, CEO of Postman

2017 will be the “Year of the Data Scientist.” According to the McKinsey Global Institute, demand for data scientists is growing by as much as 12 percent a year and the US economy could be short by as many as 250,000 data scientists by 2024. Thanks to advances driven by AI companies in 2017, however, 2018 is when AI will become buildable – not just usable – but buildable by non-data scientists. This is not to say that data science will become less useful or in-demand post-2017, rather that some of the simpler problems will be solvable through a hyper-personalized AI built by someone who is not a data scientist. This will open up capabilities for coders and data scientists that will be mind-blowing. – Jeff Catlin, CEO, Lexalytics

SQL will have another extraordinary year. SQL has been around for decades, but from the late-1990s to mid 2000s, it went out of style as people started exploring NoSQL and Hadoop alternatives. SQL however, has come back with a vengeance. The renaissance of SQL has been beautiful to behold and I don’t even think it’s near it’s peak yet. The innovations we’re seeing are blowing our minds. BigQuery has created a product that is essentially infinitely scalable, the original goal of Hadoop, AND practical for analytics, the original goal of relational databases. Additionally, Google recently announced that the new version, BigQuery Standard SQL is fully ANSI compliant. Prior to this release, BigQuery’s Legacy SQL was peculiar and so presented a steep learning curve. BigQuery’s implementation of Standard SQL is amazing, with really advanced features like Arrays, Structures, and user-defined functions that can be written in both SQL and Javascript. SQL engines for Hadoop have continued to gain traction. Products like SparkSQL and Presto are popping up in enterprises and as cloud services because they allow companies to leverage their existing Hadoop clusters and cloud storage for speedy analytics. What’s not to love? To top it all off, companies like Snowflake, and now Amazon Athena, are building giant SQL data engines that query directly on S3 buckets, a source that was previously only accessible via command line. 2016 was the best year SQL has ever had — 2017 will be even better. – Lloyd Tabb, Founder, Chairman & CTO, Looker

The data skills gap widens. Problem: The demand for data scientists and data engineers continues to challenge enterprises who need to make the most of their data. And even when there are the right skillsets at play, the New York Times recently reported that these critical personnel are often spending more time cleaning the data than actually mining it. Prediction: Businesses will seek any tool that help to put more data in the hands of business analysts with the minimum data scientist intervention. In addition, new machine learning tools will emerge to help automate some of these data-focused tasks to scale the models that data scientists create. – SnapLogic

There will continue to be a shortage of qualified data scientists. I don’t expect the market to be in equilibrium until 2019 at the earliest. Every major university will have a data science program in place by 2017. – Michael Stonebraker, Ph.D., co-founder and CTO, Tamr

Data Scientists failed to predict the election—will they fail to predict your business? The other day I was giving a talk on ‘What is Machine Learning?’ and, barely two minutes in, someone said, ‘You’re saying we can do all these amazing things with big data and algorithms, but you had all the data in the world for the election, and you got it wrong. Why should we trust you?’ There are plenty of important takeaways from the election: First, Nate Silver and enterprise data scientists both try to learn from historical events to predict future events, and the margins of error can behigh in both. But in predicting an election you only get one chance. In business, you make predictions constantly, and the cost of error tends to be low. Also, there are fewer curve-balls in business. Customers and businesses tend to be pretty predictable. Voters and politicians are not. Second, the media committed the same sin we see business people make every day: falling too hard for the analytic ‘black box’ that does seemingly magical number crunching. Without a basic understanding of what types of analyses have been done on different types of data and why, the end users will never know the true value of the information they have at their disposal or how they should use it. There’s no better illustration of this than the little needle on The New York Times’ election ‘dial’ which bounced violently from Clinton to Trump in the middle of the evening and had me screaming at my phone. – Steven Hillion, Chief Product Officer, Alpine Data

GPUs and HPC

2017 will be the year when “accelerated compute” becomes known just simply as “compute”. This is a direct response to the use cases driving up utilization the most, and the explosion of accelerator availability in both the data center and the public cloud. As these use cases continue to ramp up in the Enterprise (particularly machine learning), we’ll see even more demand for computational accelerators. CPUs have been king for decades, and serve the general purpose quite well. But what we’re seeing now is an emphasis on deriving insight from data, versus just indexing it, and this requires orders of magnitude faster (and more specialized) resource in order to deliver feasible economics. It’s not that computational accelerators are necessarily “faster” than CPUs, but rather, they can be deployed as coprocessors and therefore take on very specialized identities. Because of this specialization, they can be programmed to do certain very discrete computations much quicker and at lower aggregate power consumption. Application developers and ISVs are pouncing on these capabilities (and their increasing availability) to create amazing new products and services. A good example of a red-hot technology in this space are GPU-accelerated databases, such as GPUdb from Kinetica (available as a turnkey workflow on the Nimbix Cloud). Rather than focusing on indexing massive amounts of information like a traditional RDBMS, it’s used to ingest fragments into memory for tremendously fast queries. In fact the queries are so fast that it blurs the line between analytics and machine learning (after all, machine learning involves processing massive data sets very quickly in order to create “models” that operate somewhat like human brains). Despite the advanced computing underneath, these tools serve traditional enterprise markets, not just “research labs”. Not only does its product name imply it, but the use case simply would be impossible without GPUs. This is a very real example of mainstream technology that demands computational accelerators. In talking with customers and business partners, the one common thread they all seek is more accelerated computational power (at reasonable economics) to do even more advanced things. I don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon, which is why I’m predicting that we’ll drop the “accelerated” in front of “compute” as it will become a given. – Leo Reiter, CTO, Nimbix

Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) are capable of delivering up to 100-times better performance than even the most advanced in-memory databases that use CPUs alone. The reason is their massively parallel processing, with some GPUs containing over 4,000 cores, compared to the 16-32 cores typical in today’s most powerful CPUs. The small, efficient cores are also better suited to performing similar, repeated instructions in parallel, making GPUs ideal for accelerating the compute-intensive workloads required for analyzing large streaming data sets in real-time. – Eric Mizell, Vice President, Global Solutions Engineering, Kinetica

Amazon has already begun deploying GPUs, and Microsoft and Google have announced plans. These cloud service providers are all deploying GPUs for the same reason: to gain a competitive advantage. Given the dramatic improvements in performance offered by GPUs, other cloud service providers can also be expected to begin deploying GPUs in 2017. – Eric Mizell, Vice President, Global Solutions Engineering, Kinetica

Hadoop

As I predicted last year, 2016 was not a good year for Hadoop and specifically for Hadoop distribution vendors. Hortonworks is trading at one-third its IPO price and the open source projects are wandering off. IaaS cloud vendors are offering their own implementations of the open source compute engines – Hive, Presto, Impala and Spark. HDFS is legacy in the cloud and is rapidly being replaced by blob storage such as S3. Hadoop demonstrates the perils of being an open source vendor in a cloud-centric world. IaaS vendors incorporate the open source technology and leave the open source service vendor high and dry. Open source data analysis remains a complicated and confusing world. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were one database that could do it all? Wait, there is one, it’s called Snowflake. – Bob Muglia, CEO, Snowflake Computing Inc.

Don’t be a Ha-dope! For all those folks running around saying Hadoop is dead – they’re dead wrong. In 2017, we’re going to see an increased adoption of Hadoop. So far this year, I haven’t talked to a single organization with a digital data platform who doesn’t see Hadoop at the center of their infrastructure. Hadoop is an assumed part of every modern data architecture and nobody can question the value it brings with its flexibility of data ingestion and its scalable computational power. Hadoop is not going to replace other databases but it will be an essential part of data ingestion in the IoT/digital world. – George Corugedo, CTO, RedPoint Global

Hadoop distribution vendors will have crossed the chasm — unstructured data in Hadoop is a reality. But, since the open source problem has not been addressed, they aren’t making much money. As such, there will be an acquisition of many of these vendors by bigger players. As well as the idea that bigger ISV Hadoop vendors will band together and create larger entities in hopes of capitalizing on the economy of scale. – Joanna Schloss, Director of Product Marketing, Datameer

The Failure (and future) of Hadoop. Problem: Fifty percent of Hadoop deployments have failed. While it’s commanded the lion’s-share of attention, it’s suffered from product overload. Because new projects are added every month and the nature of the data in the Hadoop cluster is ever-growing, it’s created a complex, multidimensional environment that’s difficult to maintain in production. Prediction: To actually make Hadoop work beyond a test environment, enterprises will shift it to the cloud in 2017, and abstract storage from compute. This enables enterprises to select the tools they want to use (Spark, Flink or others) instead of being forced to carry excessive Hadoop baggage with them. – SnapLogic

In-Memory Computing

In 2017, in-memory computing will enter the mainstream as the enabling technology for adding operational intelligence to live systems, and it will supplant legacy streaming technologies. In 2017, the adoption of in-memory computing technologies, such as in-memory data grids (IMDGs), will provide the enabling technology to capture perishable opportunities and make mission-critical decisions on live data. Driven by the need for real-time analytics, the IMDG market alone – currently estimated at $600 million – will exceed $1 billion by 2018, according to Gartner. Unlike big data technologies, such as Spark, created for the data warehouse and legacy streaming technologies, in-memory computing enables the straightforward modeling and tracking of a live system by analyzing and correlating persistent data with live fast-changing data in real time, and it provides immediate feedback to that system for automated decision making. Gartner has recently elevated the term “digital twin” in its recent Top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017 to describe the shift in focus from data streams to the data sources which produce those streams. In-memory computing technology enables applications to easily create and manage digital representations of real-world devices, such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors and actuators, and this enables real-time introspection for operational intelligence. – Dr. William Bain, CEO and founder, ScaleOut Software

In-Memory and Temporary Storage become more important as new sources of data growth such as augmented and virtual reality, AI and machine learning become popular: While analyzing these new sources of data is becoming critical to long-term business goals, storing the data long term is both impractical and unnecessary when the results of analysis are more important than the data itself. Although 2017 will see plenty of data growth that will require permanent storage, most net new data generated next year will be ephemeral; it will quickly outlive its usefulness and be discarded. So despite exponential data growth, there won’t be as much storage growth as we might otherwise have expected. – Avinash Lakshman, CEO, Hedvig

IoT

The future of IoT will be focused on security. Recently, a major DDoS attack caused outages at major organizations. This is going to be a growing issue in the near future, and the concern at the forefront of IoT will be safeguarding networks and connected devices. – Dr. Werner Hopf, CEO and Archiving Principal, Dolphin Enterprise Solutions Corporation

IOT grows up – The enterprise has paid attention to IOT for some time, though this year will be the year we move past the “wow” phase and into the “how do we do we securely and effectively bring IOT to the enterprise, how do we handle the high speed data ingest, and how do we optimize analytics and decisions based on IOT data.” Those will be the questions enterprises will need to solve in 2017. – Leena Joshi, VP of Product Marketing, Redis Labs

IoT continues to pose a major threat. In late 2016, all eyes were on IoT-borne attacks. Threat actors were using Internet of Things devices to build botnets to launch massive distrubted denial of service (DDoS) attacks. In two instances, these botnets collected unsecured “smart” cameras. As IoT devices proliferate, and everything has a Web connection — refrigerators, medical devices, cameras, cars, tires, you name it — this problem will continue to grow unless proper precautions like two-factor authentication, strong password protection and others are taken. Device manufactures must also change behavior. They must scrap default passwords and either assign unique credentials to each device or apply modern password configuration techinques for the end user during setup. – A10 Networks

The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely acknowledged as a big growth area for 2017. More connected devices will create more data, which has to be securely shared, stored, managed and analyzed. As a result, databases will become more complex and the management burden will increase. Those organizations which can most effectively monitor their database layer to optimize peak performance and resolve bottlenecks will be more strongly placed in a better position to exploit the opportunities the IoT will bring. – Mike Kelly, CTO, Blue Medora

The future of retirement is gearing up for a major shift and Internet of Things (IoT) along with it. Baby boomers are retiring, and there are many economic and lifestyle reasons for them to live in their homes longer. This means changes for insurance companies, healthcare, medical devices, and appliance manufacturers. The proliferation of the IoT or “the connected life” allows for monitoring the elderly in their homes, from monitoring blood pressure to typical daily habits such as whether or not they turned on the TV or opened the refrigerator. Elderly parents want autonomy and their children want them to be safe – connected technology can bridge the gap between the two. Basic monitoring as well as more advanced medical monitoring is shifting the way we will live out our retirement. – Kevin Petrie, Attunity

The Internet of Things (IoT) is still a popular buzzword, but adoption will continue to be slow. Analyzing data from IoT and sensors clearly has the potential for massive impact, but most companies are far (FAR!) from ready. IoT will continue to get lots of lip service, but actual deployments will remain low. Complexity will continue to plague early adopters that find it a major challenge to integrate that many moving parts. Companies will instead focus resources on other low-hanging fruit data and analytics projects first. – Prat Moghe, Founder and CEO, Cazena

The Internet of Things is delivering on the promise of big data. IoT will deliver on the promise of big data. Increasingly, big data projects are going through multiple updates in a single year – and the Internet of Things (IoT) is largely the reason. That’s because IoT makes it possible to examine specific patterns that deliver specific business outcomes, and this has to increasingly be done in realtime. This will drive a healthier investment, and faster return in big data projects. – Ettienne Reinecke, Chief Technology Officer, Dimension Data

Next year, organizations will stop putting IoT data on a pedestal, or, if you like, in a silo. IoT data needs to be correlated with other data streams, tied to historical or master data or run through artificial intelligence algorithms in order to provide business-driving value. Despite the heralded arrival of shiny new tools that can handle IoT’s massive, moving workloads, organizations will realize they need to integrate these new data streams into their existing data management and governance disciplines to gain operational leverage and ensure application trust. – Girish Pancha, CEO and Founder, StreamSets

The Internet of Things Architect role will eclipse the data scientist as the most valuable unicorn for HR departments. The surge in IoT will produce a surge in edge computing and IoT operational design. 1000s of resumes will be updated overnight. Additionally, fewer than 10% of companies realize they need an IoT Analytics Architect, a distinct species from IoT System Architect. Software architects who can design both distributed and central analytics for IoT will soar in value. – Dan Graham, Internet of Things Technical Marketing Specialist, Teradata

At Least one Major Manufacturing Company will go belly up by not utilizing IoT/big data: The average lifespan of an S&P 500 company has dramatically decreased over the last century, from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today. The average lifespan will continue to decrease as companies ignore or lag behind changing business models ushered in by technological evolutions. It is imperative that organizations find effective ways to harness big data to remain competitive. Those that have not already begun their digital transformations, or have no clear vision for how to do so, have likely already missed the boat—meaning they will soon be a footnote in a long line of once-great S&P 500 players. – Ashley Stirrup, CMO, Talend

Machine Learning

In-memory computing techniques will leverage the power of machine learning to enhance the value of operational intelligence. The year 2017 will see an accelerated adoption of scenarios that integrate machine learning with the power of in-memory computing, especially in e-commerce systems and the Internet of Things (IoT). E-commerce applications benefit by offering highly personalized experiences created by tracking and analyzing dynamic shopping behavior. IoT applications, such as those associated with windmills and solar arrays, benefit by delivering predictive feedback based on rapidly emerging patterns. In both of these applications, machine learning techniques can dramatically deepen the introspection and enhance operational intelligence. Once only practical only on supercomputers, machine learning techniques have evolved to become increasingly available on standard, commodity hardware. This enables IMDGs to apply them to the analysis of fast changing data and specifically to dynamic digital models of live systems. The ability of IMDGs to perform iterative computation in real-time and at extreme scale enables machine learning techniques to be easily integrated into stream processing which provides operational intelligence. – Chris Villinger, Vice President, Business Development and Marketing, ScaleOut Software

Machine learning will change the fabric of the enterprise – Machine learning will enable the adaptive enterprise, one that aligns business outcomes and customer needs in new and different ways. – Leena Joshi, VP of Product Marketing, Redis Labs

In 2017, I expect to see an increased emphasis on democratization of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). We’ve seen machine learning evolve from IBM Watson a few years ago to most recently with Salesforce and Oracle. While many think machine learning has gone mainstream, there is the potential for much more, such as performance monitoring and intelligent alerting. While companies might face false starts and initial mishaps while trying to crack the code, the increased number of organizations turning to AI and machine learning will lead to more successes next year. This increased adoption will help bring innovations faster to market, especially from a wide range of industries. – Mike Kelly, CTO, Blue Medora

There has been a lot of hype around machine learning for some time now, but in most cases it hasn’t been used very effectively. As we move forward, organizations are learning how to bring together all the ingredients needed to leverage machine learning – and I think that’s the story for 2017. We’ll see machine learning move from a mystical, over-hyped holy grail, to seeing more real-world, successful applications. Those who dismiss it as hocus-pocus will finally understand it’s real; those who distrust it will come to see its potential; and companies that are poised to leverage this capability for appropriate, practical applications will be able to ride the swell. It will still be a few years before machine learning becomes a tidal wave, but in 2017 it will be clear that it has a credible place in the business toolkit. – Jeff Evernham, Director of Consulting, North America, Sinequa

In 2017, ‘centralized-only’ monolithic software and silos of data disappear from the enterprise. Smart devices will collaborate and analyze what one another is saying. Real time machine-learning algorithms within modern distributed data applications will come into play – algorithms that are able to adjudicate ‘peer-to-peer’ decisions in real time. Data has gravity; it’s still expensive to move versus store in relative terms. This will spur the notion of processing analytics out at the edge, where the data was born and exists, and in real-time (versus moving everything into the cloud or back to a central location). – Scott Gnau, Chief Technology Officer, Hortonworks

Machine Learning will become de rigeur in the enterprise without many even noticing: What’s unique to today’s machine learning technology is that much of it originated and continues to be open source. This means that many different products and services are going to build machine learning into their platforms as a matter of course. As a result, more enterprises will be adopting machine learning in 2017 without even knowing they’re doing it because vendors are actively using ML to make their products smarter. Even existing products will soon use some variety of machine learning that will be delivered via an update or as an extra perk. – Avinash Lakshman, CEO, Hedvig

The Future of Machine Learning. We will finally deliver on the promise of machine learning: building models that can directly suggest or take action for large audiences. When we effectively scale machine learning, we can greatly increase the action-taking bandwidth of an enterprise. Instead of presenting a small number of business users in the enterprise with historical statistics à la business intelligence, companies can bring specific recommendations to thousands of front-line individuals responsible for taking action on behalf of the business. – Josh Lewis, VP of Product, Alpine Data

Machine learning-washing – Expect the market to be flooded with solutions that promise machine learning capabilities and grab headlines, but deliver no substance. – Toufic Boubez, VP Engineering, Machine Learning, Splunk

NoSQL

In 2017, NoSQL’s coming of age will be marked by a shift to workload-focused data strategies, meaning executives will answer questions about their business processes by examining the data workloads, use cases and end results they’re looking for. This mindset is in contrast to prior years when many decisions were driven from the bottom up by a technology-first approach, where executives would initiate projects by asking what types of tools best serve their purposes. This shift has been instigated by data technology, such as NoSQL databases, becoming increasingly accessible. – Adam Wray, CEO, Basho Technologies

Security

Cloud and data security agility will gain further importance — This is a rather obvious prediction, given the phobia of data breaches and the reticence of industries such as the financial sector to use public cloud technologies. Meanwhile, life sciences and retail, to name two industries, continue to forge ahead, realizing efficiencies while adhering to some of the strictest privacy and governance requirements set forth by regulators. With requirements such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now in effect, companies not only have to ensure that their data is physically housed in the right geographic centers, but that the access complies with the most stringent regulations related to personal access and approvals for use of that data. Many vendors are now taking steps to provide the most secure, validated and agile infrastructure possible. Partnerships and use of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure go a long way to providing the confidence and flexibility that many companies are looking for. In 2017, vendors offering Platform as a Service (PaaS) and tools themselves must also do their part in complying to Service Organization Control (SOC) types, as well as in the case of healthcare data, HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance), that provides an established security framework that can be used by all organizations that create, access, store or exchange sensitive and regulated data. – Ramon Chen, CMO, Reltio

Under the covers, machine learning is already becoming ubiquitous as it is embedded in many services that consumers take for granted. Increasingly, machine learning is becoming embedded in enterprise software and tooling for integrating and preparing data. Machine learning is placing a stress on enterprises to make data science a team sport; a big area for growth in 2017 will be solutions that spur collaboration, so the models and hypotheses that data scientists develop do not get bottled up on their desktops. – Ovum

Expect IoT to be even more vulnerable. Previous hacks into connected devices can be deemed as minor or inconvenient. But the recent DDoS attack involving Dyn shows IoT hacks are taking place on a larger and more disruptive scale. Hacking lightbulbs or setting off fire alarms is on the more mischievous side of the spectrum, but having the ability to override a car’s brake system or a “smart” pacemaker, for example, can turn connected devices into deadly weapons. Even worse, the lack of one standard for IoT (unlike Wi-Fi) will just make our devices more susceptible to large-scale breaches. Vendors have to recognize the parallels between security issues when Wi-Fi hit the mass market, and what’s happening with IoT. If they don’t move quickly to address the vulnerabilities, government regulations will need to come into play. Still, it would take something disastrous to galvanize government into action. – Richard Walters, SVP of Security Products, Intermedia

Over the past year there has been increased focused on data privacy, especially with the passing of the GDPR which represented one of the most comprehensive and refined set of standards put forth to date. In 2017, the trend line will to continue to move in the same direction and there will be a higher premium on data protection. With increased sensitivity around personal data, software vendors and enterprises will need to focus on what is being done to protect and manage personal data within the enterprise. To be successful companies must embrace privacy by design for themselves and the service providers they work with.” – Anthony West, CTO, Actiance

Spark

Spark and machine learning light up big data. In a survey of data architects, IT managers, and BI analysts, nearly 70% of the respondents favored Apache Spark over incumbent MapReduce, which is batch-oriented and doesn’t lend itself to interactive applications or real-time stream processing. These big-compute-on-big-data capabilities have elevated platforms featuring computation-intensive machine learning, AI, and graph algorithms. Microsoft Azure ML in particular has taken off thanks to its beginner-friendliness and easy integration with existing Microsoft platforms. Opening up ML to the masses will lead to the creation of more models and applications generating petabytes of data. In turn, all eyes will be on self-service software providers to see how they make this data approachable to the end user. – Dan Kogan, director of product marketing at Tableau

Analytics will experience a revolution in 2017. In the past, conversations about big data always included Hadoop (HDFS). But the industry today has hit a wall with its limitations to back up and preserve big data. As a result big data has become a black hole in the HDSFS cluster with no one managing it. In 2017, the Spark operating model – through ‘in memory analytics’ – will become a popular Big Data analytics option due to its ability to significantly reduce data movement and allow analytics to occur much earlier and faster in the process. – Vincent Hsu, VP, IBM Fellow, CTO for Storage and Software Defined Environment, IBM

Storage

People may think backup and recovery is dead, but they are sorely misunderstood and the move to the cloud actually makes backup and recovery more important than ever to safeguard data. Relying on the cloud won’t take care of everything! The need for backup and recovery will become very real as organizations continue betting on enterprise applications. Moreover, backup and recovery will take center stage as IT Ops and others in organizations have never stopped worrying about recovery, particularly as companies aggressively move toward modernized application and data delivery and consumption architectures. The likelihood of not knowing how to address or who to turn to in the event of an outage is just too great a risk. – Tarun Thakur, Co-founder and CEO at Datos IO

The Rise of the JBOD. In 2017, more users will come to understand that the storage for their scale-out nodes — whether you call it software-defined, “server SAN,” DAS, hyperconverged, whatever — can be attached externally to servers instead of buying servers with lots of disks and SSDs, without losing any of the performance or ease-of-use of internal DAS. Using simple, dumb, industry standard SAS JBODs (Just a Bunch Of Disks) means not having to throw away your storage when you upgrade your servers and vice-versa. It also gives you better flexibility and density in your deployments. – Tom Lyon, Chief Scientist, DriveScale

Verticals

One of the ongoing challenges in using big data to improve outcomes in healthcare has been its siloed natured. Healthcare providers have detailed clinical (patient) data within their organizations, while health insurers (payers) have more general claims data that goes across many providers. That is beginning to change, though, as the move to value-based care is encouraging providers and health payers to share their data to create a more complete picture of the patient. The latest trend is to bring in additional behavioral data, such as socio-economic and attitudinal data, to create more of a 360 degree view of not only what patients do but also what drives them to do it. Much as Facebook and Amazon.com use behavioral data to match users to relevant content. By applying next-generation analytics to this larger dataset, providers and payers can work together to help patients become healthier and stay healthy, reducing costs while helping them lead happier, more productive lives. – Rose Higgins, President, SCIO Health Analytics

We’ll usher in the next iteration of personalized care. Increased self-tracking, preventative care efforts, and advances in data science will give us more information on patients than ever before. We’ll use this data to create highly individual portraits of patients, that in turn, enable us to match physicians to patients in a very specific way. We can assign physicians based on their past success in treating similar patients and enable patients to have more informed and personal care. – Mark Scott, Chief Marketing Officer, Apixio

Data Analytics will go vertical (financial, medical, etc), and companies that build vertical solutions will dominate the market. General-purpose data analytics companies will start disappearing. Vertical data analytics startups will develop their own full-stack solutions to data collection, preparation and analytics. – Ihab Ilyas, co-founder of Tamr and Professor of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo

Big Data Will Transform Every Element of the Healthcare Supply Chain: The entire healthcare supply chain has been being digitized for the last several years. We’ve already witnessed the use of big data to improve not only patient care, but also payer-provider systems, reducing wasted overhead, predict epidemics, cure diseases, improve the quality of life and avoid preventable deaths. Combine this with the mass adoption of edge technologies to improve patient care and wellbeing such as wearables, mobile imaging devices, mobile health apps, etc. However, the use of data across the entire healthcare supply chain is about to reach a critical inflection point where the payoff from these initial big data investments will be bigger and come more quickly than ever before. As we move into 2017, healthcare leaders will find new ways to harness the power of big data to identify and uncover new areas for business process improvement, diagnose patients faster as well as drive better more personalized, preventative programs by integrating personally generated data with broader healthcare provider systems. – Ashley Stirrup, CMO, Talend

Author:  Daniel Gutierrez

Source:  http://insidebigdata.com/2016/12/21/big-data-industry-predictions-2017

Categorized in Internet Technology

In his predictions for 2017, John Kennedy forecasts how blockchain will be about more than money, IT will move to the clouds and bots will become humanity’s new best friends.

Predicting the future in tech is never an easy business, mainly because tech companies are, by nature, secretive and like to have the last word. Any time I predict what Apple is up to, for example, I always end on the line: “But only Apple really knows.” Because that is simply the truth.

But no one could have foreseen the events of 2016. We witnessed the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency, the loss of so many stars who wrote the soundtracks to our lives, the tragic killings in Nice and the bloody endgame in Aleppo, which will always be a shame for the world to remember.

Predictions for 2017 build on a crazy 2016

In tech, it was business as usual with very few real surprises; except maybe for Apple killing off the headphone jack in its iPhones; fake news infecting Facebook and allegedly influencing the US elections; Putin’s government hacking America; exploding Samsung Galaxy Note7s; hacking getting out of control, especially with ransomware and leaks to Wikileaks; Apple taking on the FBI; no one wanting to buy Twitter; Vine dying on the leaf; and mega acquisitions, such as Facebook buying LinkedIn and Verizon buying Yahoo. It all sounds like a rousing verse from R.E.M.’s It’s the End of the World as We Know It…

On the home front in Ireland, the biggest news was the European Commission lobbying a €13bn tax levy against Apple to the chagrin of the latter and the Irish Government; Britain’s decision to Brexit the EU; the stalling and stalling of the National Broadband Plan; and of course, mega acquisitions such as Verizon’s decision to buy Fleetmatics for $2.4bn and Intel’s acquisition of Movidius for an alleged sum $300m.

So, dear reader, what will 2017 hold for us through the tech lens?

Blockchain will be about more than just payments

If there was one breakthrough technology of 2016, it had to be blockchain: the enabling smart ledger technology that was fundamental to the rise of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and a whole slew of new fintech start-ups and platforms.

But more and more experts are coming to the conclusion that blockchain technology could be very useful in ways that go beyond fintech or cryptocurrencies.

The ingenious automated technology could end up being an enabling force for a panoply of platforms and uses, such as network and systems management. The key is the digital trail of crumbs: blockchain technology – which underpins emerging digital, virtual or cryptocurrencies – consists of blocks that hold timestamped batches of recent valid transactions, which form a chain with each block reinforcing those preceding it.

Pay close attention to an interview I did with Seamus Cushley, PwC’s expert on blockchain who runs the company’s blockchain lab in Belfast. Cushley indicated that in the last nine months of 2016, some $1.4bn of investment went into blockchain start-ups.

According to Cushley, blockchain is being investigated not only as a way to enable the viable exchange of contracts for value in everything from FX trading to property acquisitions and more, it foretells the future structure of the internet as we know it.

The future of work

If, like me, you witnessed the onset of the internet being heralded as a revolution in how we work, leading to all kinds of newfangled ways of working, such as teleworking, e-working or nearshoring… you were had. Our lives were meant to get easier, there would be more quality time with loved ones, more time to be creative… wrong.

The digital world has created a noose that means people are working longer hours. Countries like France have even passed laws preventing employers from emailing workers after certain hours.

As skills shortages rise, stress levels soar and entrepreneurship becomes more appealing to talented young executives eager to break free of the rat race, employers will be forced to reassess how they conduct relationships with workers. How do they retain talent, get the best out of enthusiastic people and ensure health levels are optimal?

‘What is the future of work?’ is a question that employers and employees alike will obsess over in 2017 and beyond. Creative companies that value human capital will examine new ways of working, pilot intrapreneurship endeavours to help sate the entrepreneurial wanderings of top talent, vent creative frustrations and ultimately find the key to a quality work/life balance.

The old mantra that work should not just be a place to go, but somewhere you actually enjoy going to, might be dusted off and given a new shine.

Time will tell, however, if questions of the future of work will be a meaningful cause or just more management consulting navel-gazing.

Fintech goes mainstream

In parallel with the arrival in Ireland of mobile wallet services like Android Pay (recently) and Apple Pay (eventually), smartphone-toting consumers are going to embrace fintech apps as a cleverer way of managing their money.

Think of these apps as the Swiss Army knives of finance.

Companies like Dublin and London-based Circle – which enables users to instantaneously transfer funds to friends and family via the app or by text message on the iPhone, using blockchain as a core enabler and Barclays as a licensed service provider – are at the forefront of this trend.

Rather than displacing banks as some had feared, this signals a gradual move by banks to employ fintech apps on the front line as an easier and more cost-effective way to deal with consumers, while enabling them to focus on more productive, higher value work as branches become fewer.

Expect banks to employ programmes to franchise fintech apps or initiate outright acquisitions in 2017.

Machine learning becomes a discipline and no longer confused with AI

For too long, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been lumped into the same conversation. That is going to change in 2017, as a broader understanding of what AI is all about pervades the tech industry.

Machine learning is remembering and AI is thinking, remembering, deciding and acting.

Quite simply, machine learning in apps and internet services is all about improving as time goes on, learning and assimilating users’ tastes and preferences – for example, for airline travel or hotels.

AI, on the other hand, powers the bots that have conversations with the users and employs machine learning as one powerful subset of a myriad of capabilities.

Start-ups and established tech players that use machine learning, which I have met on the trail from Amsterdam to Lisbon in the past year, are quite clear that it is not to be confused with full AI.

Beautiful Bots

Humankind’s friendship with bots – or automated artificial agents – will be cemented in 2017.

Facebook is currently leading the charge, creating experiences where already it is hard to decipher whether you are talking to a human or a machine.

This portends major changes for the future of customer relationship management, which no doubt Microsoft, Salesforce and fast-growing companies like Intercom are watching very closely.

Could bots be mankind’s next best friend?

Tech leaders will be the new business leaders

The digital economy is the economy. Across the world in 2016, thousands of traditional businesses went to sleep one night and awoke the next day as data businesses.

The trend will continue in 2017, as the internet, smartphone apps or other digital filters become the aperture through which consumers increasingly transact.

You are seeing this on retail floors of stores like River Island, where consumers can shop online and collect in-store, on flights with Ryanair where the digital experience continues long after you check in or check out, and the disruption that players like Airbnb and Uber are causing traditional industries like hospitality and transport, respectively.

This is signalling a major transformation in how companies deal with their customers and view their data. According to IDC, 50pc of the Global 2000 companies will be depending on digital products, services and experiences to connect with customers.

By 2021, it is forecast that a third of CEOs and COOs of Global 2000 companies will have spent at least five years in a tech leadership role.

Cloud will reign eternal

From being a mere concept in 2008 to today, where most consumers and executives rely on the cloud consistently – from Facebook and WhatsApp to Dropbox and Office 365 – cloud computing is increasingly becoming the nerve centre of IT infrastructure.

Ireland saw major data centre investments and acquisitions in 2016, from Apple building an €850m data centre in Athenry, Co Galway, to Facebook building a massive data centre in Clonee, Co Meath. Combine this with Equinix buying Telecity and its raft of data centres in and around Dublin, and it’s clear that Ireland is in the eye of the data storm.

This isn’t just about social media or e-commerce; the reality is that more and more IT infrastructure, which used to exist on premises in companies, will have moved to the cloud.

IDC predicts that by 2020, 67pc of enterprise IT infrastructure and software will be in the cloud.

By 2018, 60pc of IT will be done off premises and not only that, but 43pc will be processed at the edge by 2019.

In a nutshell, cloud won’t be an Amazonian concept (sorry AWS) but rather, a fully fledged reality that is 100pc trusted by users.

The fourth platform

As cloud’s roots grow deeper, the idea of computing as a thing that sits on our desk or in our hands will dissipate. Even as more and more of the world’s population join the mobile revolution, the golden era of the smartphone is coming to a close. That doesn’t mean the smartphone is going away any time soon, but it will become the lynchpin of a slew of new computing experiences that will draw our eyes elsewhere.

Big data, internet of things, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), 3D printing, robotics, next-generation security, blockchain – all of these technologies will happen around us, with data being the fabric and the smartphone being the connecting device.

In other words, computing experiences will be occur without relying on a primary screen as the conduit. This is the fourth platform.

The mainstreaming of AR and VR

VR and AR have been slowly entering the fray. 2016 was a significant year that finally saw Microsoft take the wraps off HoloLens, as well as Oculus Rift arriving, along with a slew of competing devices from HTC, Samsung and Sony.

VR has been a kind of revolution and it hasn’t. The high-end experiences promised by Oculus and Microsoft are still hampered by computing power.

At the lower end, smartphone-based VR experiences from HTC and Samsung – and let’s not forget Google’s Cardboard and similar products which can be found in any supermarket or toy store – are still gimicky.

Keep your eyes and ears (no pun intended) open for what Google intends to do with its Daydream headset, which portends a merging of the VR and AR worlds, so the headset can also overlay virtual reality experiences onto the physical world before us. In a sense, this could be the future of the recently shelved Google Glass or the newly launched Snap Spectacles.

Expect the games and experiences to become more intelligent and textured. Keep an eye on what Irish firm Immersive VR Education – creators of Apollo and Titanic virtual experiences – has planned in the year ahead, as VR and AR move from novel to to natural.

Smart things and voice

Like I said, smartphones will occupy less of the stage and give way to smarter things. 2016 saw Amazon up its game with Echo, its voice-based e-commerce service, as well as its Dash buttons, which order consumables like washing powder or nappies in just one touch.

Google will be no slouch in 2017, having already revealed its Google Home speech-based product at I/O earlier this year.

This is Google’s fourth platform play and the company is closely shadowing, if not exceeding, rivals like Apple on the payments front.

2017 will see a kind of arms race, where players like Amazon and Google will endeavour to become the partner of choice for a whole range of internet of things (IoT) players who see e-commerce as a potent ingredient in their smart things.

Facebook acceleration, Oculus telepresence and Slack rivalry

Rather than being email killers (if only), most workers are up to their tonsils in additional tools and things to keep an eye on; like Slack, Trello, Wrike, and other digital platforms aimed at simplifying workflow.

Others giants like Microsoft (Teams) and Facebook (Workplace) added to the cacophony in 2016.

It is high time that someone decided to dominate this space for once and for all with tools that eradicate the need for all the others.

There is a golden opportunity for Microsoft to do more to bring Skype and Teams together, or for Facebook to finally reveal its telepresence vision for the future of work with Oculus and Workplace.

Keep an eye on other dark horses like Cork-based Teamwork or Salesforce (which almost bought Twitter). They may do something to finally get rid of the screen noise and clutter (sorry, Microsoft) that is the reality of the modern-day worker.

The iPhone hits 10, Apple revs up for its newest phase

It is hard to believe that it is nearly 10 years since Steve Jobs took to the stage at Apple World in 2006 and said “One more thing …”

That one more thing was the iPhone and, having gone through more than seven different phases of the device, Apple will no doubt do something to celebrate the iPhone at 10.

Considering the phone’s form factor has remained mostly the same for the last three generations, I expect Apple to reveal a wholly new design to the iPhone to signal its next phase. As I said, only Apple really knows what this form factor will look like, but expect the design to inform all future phone designs from rivals in the Android camp. I mean, why break with tradition?

Another next phase for Apple, however, may see the company finally break its silence on what it intends to do with cars.

Apple is revving up to be a big noise in the IoT and healthcare spaces, but the idea of an Apple car is still igniting people’s imaginations.

Will Apple build a car or just a car OS? Given that Apple has so far dashed expectations on television hardware, the car idea is one that just won’t disappear.

Codenamed Project Titan and spearheaded by some of Apple’s top talent and roughly 1,000 workers, Apple may choose the timing of the 10th anniversary of the iPhone to shed some light on the future of the company for the next decade.

Will that involve four wheels? Definitely. But will it be an Apple car or OS? We’ll have to wait and see.

The Solar revolution

Given that Elon Musk’s master plan goes beyond cars and includes trucks, buses and homes, the attractive economies of scale of solar panels are hard to ignore.

Musk recently revealed his solar roof concept that would use tiles made of glass, which look like ordinary roof tiles, to power up homes.

This might not sound as crazy or unfeasible as you would think, when you consider that Scientific American recently said the average cost of solar models per watt dropped from $22 in 1980 to under $3 today.

It suggests that soon, an average solar tile per watt will be $1.75.

That makes 2017 a lynchpin year for a whole new revolution in solar energy.

But time will tell.

Author:  John Kennedy

Source:  https://www.siliconrepublic.com/companies/tech-predictions-2017

Categorized in Internet Privacy
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