2016 was a pretty turbulent year, not least in the technology sector. Now that we’re a few months into 2017, it’s time to look ahead to what technology developments are likely to be big in 2017.

The Internet of Things

We’ve been hearing a lot about the Internet of Things (IoT) over the last couple of years, but for many people, it’s still somewhat limited to the idea of fitness trackers and wi-fi based music systems. 2017 could be the year when the IoT really starts to proliferate in the workplace. The IoT’s ability to monitor and track all manner of information from energy input and output to buying trends stock  control and transport means it has huge potential in driving cost savings and improving customer service. One sign of the growing steam behind IoT devices is the huge race to create a single go-to platform for IoS devices with Cisco, AT&T, GE, Microsoft and Google all working on their own OS. 

Increased use of artificial intelligence

We already see artificial intelligence used in personal assistants like Cortana, but where it’s likely to come into its own in 2017 is in the handling of big data. This will allow AI systems to predict trends or customer behaviour, for example, but it could also make a big difference to cyber security, being able to spot attacks before they can cause damage.

Cloudy migrations

Although the cloud isn’t new, the increased availability of fast, fibre optic networks means that it has become a much more practical proposition for businesses of all sizes. This will lead to many organisations adopting a cloud first strategy, to give them greater flexibility, improve workforce mobility and reduce worries over backups and continuity of service.

Social media trends

The world of social media is notoriously fickle. The big thing one year can become the service no one wants to use the next, and these trends are hard to predict. We know that the new US president is a big fan of Twitter, but we’ve also seen the rise of ‘fake news’. As more and more people get their news from social media, with more and more people exploiting fake news and ‘clickbait’ stories, to make money from advertising views. 2017 is likely to see a rise in filters and AI systems to help users spot the fakes.

Updated security

Experts have been predicting the death of the password as a means of securing our devices and online identities for some time. Progress has been slow because of a lack of alternatives, but the technology is now becoming available to make it happen. Many mobile devices now have biometric technology like fingerprint readers, and there’s likely to be a shift to other methods like facial or voice pattern recognition. In addition, 2017 will also see the rise of behavioural security techniques, where a login from an unfamiliar location, for example, would trigger a challenge for further ID.

Better targeted cyber attacks

2016 had its fair share of high profile cyber attacks. While 2017 may not see individual attacks getting bigger, it will almost certainly see them get smarter. Attackers are increasingly motivated by financial gain, and that means they’re operating in a more business like way. This means, as the Chancellor warned at the opening of the National Cyber Security Centre, that attacks will become more numerous and more sophisticated. There’s also going to be a focus on state-sponsored attacks, aimed at disrupting infrastructure or interfering with democratic processes.

Virtual reality

Not all technologies take off. We’ve already seen the death throes of 3D TV in 2017, as many manufacturers announced that they have now stopped producing sets. Whether virtual reality will take its place remains to be seen, but the launch of Sony’s Playstation VR will certainly see it introduced into more homes. Technology like Google Cardboard combined with a smartphone will give more people a taster of what VR can do. 2017 may not quite be the year of VR, but it’s definitely a technology to watch.

Dave Blackhurst is a Director at Bristol based IT Support Company Evolvit. He has many years’ experience helping the region’s most well known businesses setup and develop their IT infrastructure. You can connect with Evolvit on Google +, LinkedIn.