3 Emerging Tech Trends to Look Out For in 2017

January 18, 2017

With 2017 upon us, we took some time to think about the emerging tech trends you can expect to see and hear a lot more about this year. When working in innovation, it is crucial to be aware and take advantage of these emerging markets to stay ahead of the crowd.

So, without further ado, here are 3 key emerging tech trends we think you should look out for in 2017:

1. Drone Delivery

2016 saw drones of all types, models, and sizes populate skies, shelf space and news items across the world. From aerial photography and filmography to pocket drones and the drone racing phenomenon, the past year marked a growing consumer interest in the uses and applications of drone technology. With the FAA predicting that 7 million drones will have been sold in the US alone by 2020, the drone market is set to take off beyond hobbyist interests in the near future.

Indeed, if 2016 was the year of the off-the-shelf UAV, 2017 can be expectantly dubbed the year of commercial drone delivery.

Delivery by drone has been a concept brewing on the sidelines for some time. Whilst Amazon’s announcement that it wants to drop parcels into everyone’s front gardens was met with raised eyebrows from the general public, drones are already starting to be used across the world to solve real, pertinent, logistical problems. Small, lightweight, fast, and capable of full autonomy, the UAV is an ideal technology to use for delivering a variety of goods to remote locations quickly and efficiently.

It is hardly surprising then, that Amazon, Google, DHL, Matternet, Zipline, and a number of other companies and humanitarian organisations are currently developing UAVs for use in delivery. And, with many of these organisations having been granted some freedom to use specific airspace for development and test purposes, it is only a matter of time before you will be able to select ‘drone’ as a courier option at the online checkout. Delivery by drone is poised to become one of the major tech trends of the year.

Our prediction:

Drone technology is sure to make headlines in 2017 for delivering everything and anything from pizza to antibiotics. Also, expect to see companies and start-ups tapping into this market over the course of the year, offering everything from fleet management to systems development, all with UAVs in mind.

2. ‘Smarter’ cars

Like delivery drones, the concept of the connected and autonomous vehicle is not new. However, the ways in which they are being imagined and developed is ever changing and progressing.

So, will 2017 finally be the year that we see driverless cars taking to our roads? Not quite: after all, the necessary infrastructure and regulations are not widespread enough to allow for complete autonomy. Instead, 2017 will see our vehicles becoming more intelligent and independent.

Features such as automatic lane-changing, lane correction, autonomous steering, braking, and parking will continue to be released across the global automotive market. Whilst many of these features are already available in certain models, 2017 is likely to see a trickle-down effect of these ‘smart’ features from the luxury market into (slightly) lower price brackets. These technologies will become more standardised across the automotive market, especially as manufacturers refine and optimise their engineering processes for cost reduction.

However, not only will 2017 mark an increase in the number of drivers experiencing these technologies, but also the development and release of new systems and products such as in-car entertainment systems, dashboards, and even inbuilt voice control.

Our prediction:

There is little doubt that the cars of 2017 will not only be characterised by the further developments to in-car entertainment and connectivity, but also the release of new advanced technologies that will pave the way for a fully autonomous future.

3. The Virtual Assistant and AI

With both the Amazon Echo and Google Home being released in the UK and US respectively towards the end of  2016, 2017 is likely to see the rise of the virtual assistant and AI, depicting a future where we don’t just press buttons or swipe screens to interact with our technology: we talk to it.

A combination of live-in search engine, smart speaker, online shop and virtual assistant, these devices mark a new era of listening and speaking technology. In particular, the Amazon Echo has proved extremely popular among customers, Amazon selling 5.2 million units during 2016 alone (Business Insider, 2016). Throughout 2017, expect tech companies to release a fresh wave of appliances, platforms, devices, programmes, and applications that combine voice control and AI in order to delight and assist their users.

Virtual assistant such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home also have the potential to rejuvenate the IoT market by offering an intuitive platform through which users can like and operate their smart home or connected devices. 2017 will also signify a move towards the integration of voice-driven, artificially-intelligent technologies into existing devices and apps. We anticipate that one of the major tech trends of the year will be the gradual enmeshing of voice control and AI with other trends such as The Internet of Things and connected and autonomous vehicles.

Our prediction:

By 2018, it will not just be Siri or Cortana that we interact with using our voices, but a whole variety of devices and platforms.

There you have it! These are 3 emerging tech trends for 2017 that we believe are worth keeping an eye on. Have we missed anything? Let us know!

Inspired? Huduma Limited collaborates with organisations of all sizes on a range of future and emerging technology projects. If you have an innovation that you want to take to market, contact us to see how our skills, experience and commercial know-how could enable you to succeed.

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