business Technology: Where is it Taking Us? October 02, 2017 Technology has become a huge part of our everyday lives—but where is it headed? Beyond the prevalence of smartphones, what can we expect from technology in 2017? Businesses have seen many changes over the past few decades due to the growing prevalence of technology in daily operations. Improving workflow and efficiency is always top of mind when implementing technology into business...is it working? Six initiatives that will change business in 2017 IoT and Smart Home Tech- This past September we reflected on the changes the Internet of Things (IoT) will bring to business, but this trend is only getting bigger. The IoT is a development of the Internet in which everyday objects (“things”) have network connectivity, meaning that any device can essentially send and receive data to the other, which points to better, more efficient communication for companies. Smart Home tech, or home automation products such as Nexia, allows individuals to automate and control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders to door locks—by pushing a button or simply voicing a command. Augmented and Virtual Reality- AR and VR technology really took off in 2016, especially with over 100 million downloads of the AR app Pokémon Go. AR and VR are poised to be used for activities beyond simply “gaming”; there is talk that we’ll (among other things) eventually use them to hold meetings (remote workers can attend), train and educate employees and create three dimensional product models. Clean energy- The move towards a cleaner, greener earth is more prevalent than ever before. Entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers have been working to make clean energy convenient and cost-effective. Solar is expected to be much more affordable than fossil fuels, which means that much more energy can be conserved. Organizations are taking advantage of this, with initiatives to convert airports to self-sustaining clean energy, use of electric cars, etc. Automation- Advanced technology will enable the automation of previously human-exclusive tasks. While there is concern that automation will affect job availability, many companies are viewing automation as a positive change—one that will free up time and manpower. Self-driving cars?- Just as automation will free up time, the move towards a self-driving car will, too. These vehicles are designed to communicate to each other to avoid accidents, traffic jams, etc. meaning commuters will have more time to work and learn on the way to work. “Big Data”- A lot of IT investment nowadays is going towards what’s called “big data”. The idea is that mass quantities of data, which we currently have access to, will help us reveal patterns and trends relating to a business’ operations. Analyzing this data can help a business gain insight on improving operations and making smarter, faster decisions. The availability of large data sets and computational resources has encouraged the development of Automated Machine Learning (“AML”) to assist in analysis, both historical and predictive. Concerns from businesses Loss of jobs- Some predict around 5 million jobs will be lost due to automation over the next five years. Too much dependency on the internet-There is worry that with technology playing such a big role in the workplace, businesses will become disconnected from each other and the products they are producing. Security- There is always concern about keeping devices secure and guarding against cybercrimes. With so much data stored virtually nowadays, there is a lot at stake if a company’s system is breached. Unless technology helps your business work better, faster and with more accuracy, it doesn’t have much practicality. Businesses in 2017 are hopeful that as we move beyond the cloud and into VR, AR and IoT, technology will position them for success. Questions? Contact any member of our Technology Services Team.