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  • Writer's pictureSwathi Young

My 12 tech predictions for 2016. #tech2016

As always technology waits for no one. It marches with incremental changes until one day we wake up and find ourselves surrounded by AI, robotics and a life like in Minority Report.  2016 is going to be no different.

You would witness a number of pre-existing technologies being pushed forward with mature and better models. Other evolving technologies like virtual reality, robotics and AI would see more use cases as well as commercial availability.

But, these advancements by themselves are no indication of successful business or productivity outcomes. Adapting these for enterprises by exploration as well as implementation takes strong leadership , who realize that this is the only way to ensure growth in future along with beating competition by innovation. 

1.Cloud : Next generation - Micro-services and containers Cloud continued to rule in 2015 with AWS announcing growth of $7.3 billion annual revenue rate. New players like Alibaba are entering this competitive space. But those who have already adopted cloud computing are taking it to the next level with focus on maturing the processes to gain maximum performance. Micro-services and containers became a trend in 2015 but the adoption rate is going to increase in 2016. On the surface, micro-services and container technology seems very technical but it has deep and far-reaching business consequences. Adopting this way of writing code would make your applications not only resilient but also reduce the amount of infrastructure required to run a given application by 50%. Hence 2016 would see more and more enterprises adopting containers and micro-services to innovate quickly against their competition.

2. AI: Maybe you get your own Jarvis? I must say I am addicted to the iRobot series of vacuuming and floor-scrubbing. Everyday they run as scheduled and I come back to a clean home. But, for some reason, many do not consider this AI. I disagree. ​ I think we would be seeing many avatars of AI before we see a human-like robotic version. Grillbot, smart huggable toys are some examples. The other versions of AI are something not even mechanical or tangible but highly intelligent programs as witnessed by Apple’s purchase of Emotient, which makes software that can read human expressions which is used to gain insights about human reactions. ​ 3. Autonomous Driving: Decision-making cars  You might be eagerly awaiting the self-driving car to bring you back home from your local bar. Unfortunately, you would have to wait a few more years to comply with government policies for public availability. Meanwhile you have other options like Ford’s automated braking system for avoiding collisions and self-parking cars. 2016 will see a raise of many more features where the car will help you make decisions or in some cases, make the decision for you. The auto-braking mechanism is also going to be adopted by trucking companies, which has a high-incidence of accidents due to human error.

4. IoT : Will the roomba talk to your washing machine? The IoT market is flooded with two types of sensors – one used for monitoring and controlling temperature in commercial buildings. Another is used for residential home energy consumption and control. Is there a device that would inform my grocery store that I am out of milk? Not yet. But, small increments in 2016 will surely lead to it. For example, companies likeTheatro, offer wi-fi based wearable devices for hourly employees in retail stores to help communicate if a light bulb needs to be changed or if the stock of a SKU has to be determined. And there are others that take facial recognition to the next level.

5. Drones : DaaS (Drones as a Service) Yes, that is a real thing. Drones as a service would connect those that operate the drones to the ones that need the data from it. Although the government regulations are not completely in place, the FAA does issue exemptions for commercial drone use, known commonly as Section 333. This allows drones to be operated commercially under a pre-defined set of rules. While companies likeMeasure and Fly4Me offer data from drones, others like Gofor offers drones on-demand. As drone technology matures, we would see more entrants in this space in 2016.

6. 3D printing : From air-bikes to musical instruments    Did you know that your Audi or Jaguar might contain parts manufactured by a 3D printer? Leading car as well as aircraft manufacturers are using them more and more to reduce maintenance costs. 3-D-printed aircraft components are 65 percent lighter but as strong as traditional machined parts, representing huge savings and reduced carbon emissions. NASA engineers are also using 3D printed parts for their space launch systems. This year would see an increase in utilizing 3D printers for various commercial uses like Airbikes, phone cases or in some cases in regenerative medicine to custom manufacture prosthetics.

7. Big data, the next generation: Will data replace focus groups? Most organizations have adopted some form of big data solution even if it means conducting a POC (proof of concept). But, 2016 will see a rise in maturing the existing big data solutions. Like with the next generation of Cloud computing and enterprise mobility, big data would also see a change in developer tools and techniques. Hadoop is quickly being replaced by Apache Spark, which offers dramatically increased data processing speed. The next generation of big data would also utilize machine learning enabling systems to analyze data themselves in 2016.

8. Digital transformation: Digitization is no longer an option!  Digital transformation is becoming more of a corporate mandate and would continue to do so in 2016. This would involve the use of technologies like analytics, social media, mobility and other smart devices to improve customer experience, revenue growth, innovation and end-to-end operational excellence. For older companies this would mean either replacing legacy applications or integrating them with newer ones or in some cases, even building new applications. Hence this journey is not yet over for many major enterprises and 2016 will see the push more in this direction. Transforming customer experience alone can achieve tremendous results – example, gaining understanding of specific geographies and market segment as well as monitoring social media to realize the customer satisfaction.

9. Enterprise mobile: Get on this bus already!  By now most enterprises have some sort of mobile devices enabled for their employees and contractors. But, are these apps sustainable? What are the maintenance costs? How do they adopt the changing landscape of mobile technology? The next generation of mobile apps in 2016 would see a rise of virtual mobile infrastructure like Hypori as well as adoption of powerful platforms like Capriza. Many would be considering a hybrid platform using Xamarin or Appcelerator, which would enable simplicity of seamless code across mobile devices. 

10. Wearables: Are they functional or a style statement?  According to Consumer Technology Association, 38 million wearables will be sold this year, with smart-watches and fitness trackers making up the bulk of the sales. We would also see dozens of new products debuting in the market. These would include jewelry, shoes and athletic wear in some cases. Traditional watch makers like Timex and Guess would start including smart watch capabilities this year. Other wearables that would be released this year would include sleep monitoring as well as heartbeat measuring tee shirts. 2016 will prove that wearables are not a transitional technology but here to stay.

11. Virtual Reality: Would the brain detect this augmented reality?  Gamers are especially excited with the release of Oculus rift this year. Others to hit the stores early this year would be Sony’s playstation VR and Samsung Gear VR goggles. There are many other potential use cases that arise this year – using virtual reality for education, for mental health or in simulated learning for doctors and space explorers. But these are still in their infancy and these experiments would continue this year. ​ Although the prices might be prohibitive in 2016, the early adopters are eagerly awaiting to test this first generation of VR devices.

12. Biotech: Can paraplegics walk again?  Biotechnology would continue to evolve and release products that include artificial intelligence that benefit food services and healthcare. Revolutionary robotics for hospitals like VITA, can literally make a difference between life and death situations by virtually directing the robot to reach the patient before a doctor can. Smart machines are also helping agricultural products that eliminate herbicides in food by utilizing a robotic sprayer that eliminates weeds by utilizing image recognition technologies. 2016 would see more of such products come into the market after being in trials the last couple of years.  ​ Conclusion: In 2016, you would see more of the maturing of the already adopted technologies, while there would be a few new technology innovations. Cloud, predictive analytics and enterprise mobile would be in their next generation of maturing their existing processes. While IoT, Virtual reality and Cars with AI would make segway into adoption. Artificial intelligence with robotics would remain with early evangelists. 


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