With 2017 upon us, what can we expect for information technology this year? Well, more of the same from 2016.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
If I was to choose just one technology that will dominate 2017 it would be Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (or Deep Learning if you must use that term).
Some are calling 2016 the year of AI, and it was indeed top-of-mind for many.
But don’t expect that the interest in AI/ML to not die down anytime soon. Instead expect that even more interest to develop around the uses of AI in 2017.
More companies are investing in AI/ML with a large amount of acquisitions of start-ups in 2016. And there are even more start-ups around AI/ML.
Businesses in the Caribbean should consider the ways that they can use AI/ML in their operations. The technology is available for anyone’s reach now and we should take advantage of it.
Internet of Things and Edge Computing
The IoT also featured greatly in the news, but unfortunately not all was good.
More needs to be done to secure these devices. We, unfortunately, cannot depend on the vendors to keep it secure, so we have to do our best to ensure that we address the risks of deploying such devices.
Even with the risks, the IoT still offers great advantages for businesses and individuals alike, and I fully expect that far more devices, services and tools will become available to make the IoT for accessible to everyone.
I also expect that even more standards will come out for IoT making a real standard for adoption even further out of reach.
Edge computing would likely become a thing too. Edge computing is to have some of the processing happen at the edge of the network before transmitting to the Internet. This is intended to save bandwidth and speed up some of the processing of sensor data. I believe that Cisco popularised the idea with their “fog computing”, but they have no ownership of it.
I see more interest in the Caribbean about the IoT and hopefully, we would continue to build on that.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger that provides a mechanism for establishing trust between untrusted parties without requiring a trusted, centralised 3rd party. Blockchain is the technology underlying Bitcoin.
There is a huge amount of hype around Blockchain, especially around Bitcoin. There are literally hundreds of startups experimenting with Blockchain, and even major banks are getting into it.
I’m still cautious about this one as I’m unclear about the implications and risks for financial applications. However, the use case for smart contracts and distribution of digital goods is a good one.
There is at least one startup in the Caribbean that’s doing work with Blockchain – Bitt – so there is hope that more people will take up the interest and do something with it.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Pokemon Go showed the viability of AR and the popularity of Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR has improved the availability of VR apps on Android. With Microsoft’s HoloLens, there might be some commercial applications, however, the US$3,000 starting point might be too hard for some to swallow.
In the Caribbean, a few entrepreneurs have developed apps around VR and AR for marketing and information services. There are probably others that I don’t know of.
Either way, expect 2017 to have some great applications to come out beyond games.
Software Defined Networking and Network Functions Virtualisation
I keep adding this to my list and each year the interest is strong, but growth, not so much. 2016 was no different, and at this point, I’m unsure if there’s really a trend or just wishful thinking on my part.
With more and more interest into SDN and NFV, especially by telecommunications providers, I fully expect that greater advancements this year. Whether those advancements would happen in the Caribbean is another question.
Do you think there are any trends that I missed in my list? Or do you think I’m wrong about anything here?
Let me know in the comments section below.
I take this opportunity to wish you a happy and prosperous 2017.