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December 29, 2016

Some of the Most Exciting Tech Trends for 2017

Tech Trends

Say goodbye to 2016 and say hello to 2017, and all the tech trends it will bring with it. Despite what people might say about 2016, it brought with it a considerable amount of technological advancements. Some of those advancements will become tech trends in the new year.

Here are just a few tech trends we're looking forward to.

AI Search continues to grow

Google recently reported that 20% of all searches were done via virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, and their own Google Assistant. For anyone that remembers the internet prior to mobile, it’s fairly easy to draw a pretty close comparison. The rise of AI Search is shaping up to the the next big development in how businesses are found on the web.

If you can believe it, there are still companies that ignore mobile experiences. The reality for these organizations is that they’re now going to fall even further behind. People tend to search differently, using different language, depending on whether they’re using a mobile device or a desktop browser. That difference grows when you consider the difference between how someone types and how someone talks. If you’re looking for a florist in Chicago, you’ll most likely type “florist, Chicago”, “florist in chicago”,  “florist near me” or some variation. When using a virtual assistant, you’re more likely to search using a more conversational voice. “Show me florists in Chicago” or “Can you find me a florist near me?” This will change a lot, but mostly it will change how companies look at SEO.

Big Data continues to expand thanks to increased adoption of IoT devices and AI usage.

The other big change that virtual assistants could bring is the type and amount of data collected. Companies are constantly trying to gain new insight into what their customers want out of them. Their advertising and customer experience strategies need to evolve with the way people go to market. It will only be a matter of time before these AI devices and assistants will be able to recognize inflection and mood. If an insurance company knows that the person that searched for them sounds like they’re agitated, it’ll help them uncover why they’re agitated more quickly, and they’ll have the opportunity to tailor the customers experience accordingly. Imagine the leg up you’d have if you were able to immediately recognize that this was a dissatisfied customer and could offer discounts codes or a notify a live chat operator that’s specialized in customer retention.

Voice recognition could also go a long way to verifying the identity of a customer. This could eliminate those pesky automated questions at the beginning of a customer service call for last four of your social, date of birth, etc.

The easier it is to do business with your company, the happier your customers will be. That’s no secret.

Of course, much of this is speculation, but voice recognition technologies are constantly being advanced. Natural language processing and machine learning will continue to improve, so it’s not difficult to see how dramatically these technologies will improve customer experience.

With any new technology, there will be those that try to take advantage of unsuspecting companies and customers. Securely storing the data your organization collects is of paramount importance, now more than ever.

Which leads me to my next tech trend for 2017.

The startup community continues to abandon the public cloud

While most large organizations that handle a high volume of sensitive data typically have their own data centers, often it’s smaller startups that come up with new technologies. Over the past 10 years there has been a boom of innovation from the startup community. We’ve seen many of them adopt the usage of the public cloud (like AWS, MS Azure, etc) early on, only to seek out more secure and cost effective data storage strategies.

Engineering and building a datacenter is a lot of work. This is why many companies choose to store data on a public cloud. But there’s another alternative. Storing sensitive or mission-critical data on a private cloud or dedicated server can be much more cost effective, not to mention much more secure.

Moz, a fast growing Seattle startup that develops marketing software, recently left AWS to build their own private cloud. CEO Sarah Bird explains in a blog post “We create a lot of our own data at Moz, and it takes a lot of computing power,” wrote Bird. “Over the years, we’ve spent many small fortunes at Amazon Web Services. It was killing our margins and adding to product instability. Adding insult to injury, we’ve found the service… lacking.”

Having the ability to customize a back end infrastructure is critical to many organizations. While Moz went out a built their own, partnering with smaller data centers to customize your own setup can be just as, if not more, effective.

AR and VR Will Continue to grow

Augmented reality games (see Pokemon Go) and Virtual Reality really took off in 2016, and there’s no sign that their popularity will slow down in 2017. In fact, it will be quite the opposite. Get ready for AR/VR versions of most games. As with any new technology, there will be businesses looking to capitalize, as we saw with cafes and shops advertising that you could find Pokemon at their stores. The marketing implications will continue to grow as more and more AR games come out, and VR appears to have countless opportunities. Car companies are able to offer virtual test drives and hotels and travel companies have come up with virtual getaway experiences to promote real life destinations. Ultimately, AR and VR are giving companies a new avenue into the minds and hearts of potential customers.

On-Demand Everything

From ride sharing to laundry to take out, we’ve seen a multitude of companies attempt to make their customer experience more streamlined and much more accessible. We now have the ability to hail a car or order food from our favorite restaurant from our smartphones. This trend will continue to grow in 2016. Hopefully, the term “Uber of ____” will die out with 2016, but not the concept - who doesn’t love being able to order dry cleaning from their phone? Just one less pesky task to take away from binge watching Stranger Things.

Cord Cutting, sort of.

The idea of cord cutting, or ditching your pay TV provider, isn’t a new one. But the trend will continue into 2017. It will also be augmented by a growing number of adults who never subscribe in the first place. Today, 1 in 5 households in the U.S. have either cut the cord, or never subscribed to pay TV in the first place. With HBO, Showtime, CBS, and others adopting stand alone streaming options, it seems that the big content providers are content, or at least willing to deal with, ditching the cable companies too.  

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