My predictions for 2017. Trends in a globally connect world.
The globally connected world is moving fast. Technology is everywhere, shaping our lives online and offline. The following trends are just the natural continuation of what has been happening in the world of tech the past few years. We can definitely spot an acceleration, market penetration and customer acceptance of new technologies. Some political and economic trends will also be discussed further down below.
Smart homes using IoT (internet-of-things) have started being advertised on TV. Controlling your house through applications and interconnecting all devices will be the house of future, maybe closer than we think. What needs to be solved first is the protocol harmonization for the devices by various manufacturers. A standard protocol is needed so your house devices run smoothly when cooperating with each other thus securing the IoT system against external threats for example.
AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) have already started going viral. Think Pokemon Go (AR) which went global with millions of downloads. Similarly with IoT, AR+VR applications will need more market testing and acceptance by users not only for entertainment but also business purposes. VR can revolutionize the way companies do business as they will be able to showcase their products & services in a completely innovative way which will alter customer experience. Note that the VR market based on forecasts, will be a 30$ billion market around 2020. We will see many tech players and manufacturers launching their own VR hardware and gadgets. Fierce competition will rise to grasp the market pie & profits.
AI (artificial intelligence) through machine learning. The world of big data is feeding more and more data into machines and the latter developing complex algorithms are actually making the machines smarter. With the constant development of natural language processing, machines learn fast (imagine a small child developing its core knowledge center in the environment of the adults). Machine learning can generate AI systems that threat to replace thousands of jobs in various fields. See here.
Smartphones and mobile tech spreading to more isolated parts of the developing world. Applications will be developed for these uncharted markets for local populations counting the factor of Internet penetration, 3G & 4G telco networks. The distribution of global information to local places will help people develop skills, educate themselves, sell their products & services in other markets and develop their domestic economy.
The rise of Uber - everything: Giving power to the individual to offer services and generate profit. Shared car rides, bed and breakfast companies like Airbnb. Who knows what company will come next? Think Schumpeterian technological distruption with thousands of self driving cars taking over existing jobs causing upheaval and national court cases as labor markets will be earthshaked. Taxi & professional drivers currently use the cars by giant manufacturers but the latter strategically plan to keep producing these cars but also focus on producing driverless too. The Uber and Airbnb economy will enforce political decisions and civilian engagement. Autonomous cars will be a test & market field not only for traditional auto-makers but also tech companies. Tesla is leading the experiments with Google following, Uber, etc.
Drones: amazon is pushing US law makers to license drone fleets which will fly and deliver orders to customers. Until this will happen, we see drones massively advertised which carry HQ cameras transcending film production into new levels of experience. Retail players like UPS and Wallmart have their own plans to launch drones as well. To increase speed in delivery, this will immensely alter the current job market as more drones might mean less delivery services. How many orders a drone will execute in a single day compared to a delivery vehicle? Do the math to grasp the frightening truth.
All the aforementioned trends and possible developments will walk in line with economic factors like increased or decreased labor productivity and productivity of ideas. In a globally connected world, some economies will benefit from these technological breakthroughs while others -not prepared- will suffer.
With EU's future at risk because of the rise of populist parties, indebted banks & public sectors, Brexit, there is no question that the dollar will rise against the euro. These factors create also a fragile environment for the Greek crisis. Business development in EU will stay behind USA and fast developing economies in Asia. IMF's forecast predicts that the world economic growth will increase compared to 2016 although the ongoing geopolitical tensions in Syria, Middle-East, threaten the global stability of the financial markets. Due to lack of official information from China, economic analysts are not sure what to predict for its economy and how it will affect their global export & import trading partners. Governments around the world put too much focus on public spending while people as rational consumers care for wage growth (without increasing inflation). The global economy will remain fragile not only because of geopolitical tensions (the recent military coup in Turkey) but also because governments usually impose wrong economic policies that create wealth disparities and overall inequality.
Welcome to add your thoughts and comments! Happy New 2017!