Comunet’s Top Tech Trends for 2016

Dec 23 2016
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The last year has been disruptive on many fronts, but even more so in the world of technology. In this post, we wanted to look back over the last 12 months and pick our top industry trends that look set to shape the years ahead of us.

Chatbots

We have seen a steady increase in the adoption of chatbots across companies and industries in 2016. From delivering the news, to delivering pizza, chatbots are fast becoming a key element of organisations’ interactions with users. Perhaps Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella summed it up best at the company’s Build developers conference this year when he said that “bots are the new apps.” Chatbots are a great example about how humans are able to have a more interactive relationship with artificial intelligence (AI). Indeed, our last blog post highlighted how Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched their Lex platform that enables developers to build chatbots more easily for Facebook Messenger and Slack. We are expecting to see more chatter in 2017!

Machine Learning

Significant developments were made in the field of machine learning during 2016, and we are pleased to note that these developments were made in some very important contexts. At the time of writing this post, news emerged that Microsoft’s office in India is launching a new research group to help machines learn to identify eye conditions that can lead to blindness. This process of computers processing large quantities of data in order to identify patterns was also adopted by Google’s DeepMind technology in 2016, enabling the company to assist with radiotherapy planning and also provide assistance with diagnosing eye conditions. We can only imagine how such technology could transform business processes, as machines learn to identify patterns from a wide range of data sources. We have mentioned before about the importance of business intelligence (BI) in organisations, and we look forward to seeing how further developments in machine learning can serve our clients in the years ahead.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

We cannot talk about technology in 2016 without mentioning virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Of course, most of the news in this area focused on the hit Pokemon Go app and the sales of the Occulus Rift headsets. But these technologies are opening up exciting possibilities for organisations. For example, this year saw London-based company Medical Realities launch The Virtual Surgeon, allowing medical students across the world to oversee an operation through a VR-equipped surgeon.

Beyond these advances in education, the last year has also seen VR being incorporated into the manufacturing process. For example, reports emerged that the Ford Motor Company has been using virtual reality technology to help in their design stage. Normally, Ford would have to build physical prototypes of their cars to see how changes in design would affect the vehicle’s functionality. Today, Ford is creating virtual representations of these cars, allowing their designers to experience the vehicle just as a customer would. This has saved the company significant time and resources in prototyping stage of manufacturing. The question then becomes, how can virtual and augmented reality technologies help your organisation? The possibilities may be closer than you imagine.

Overall, our business is very excited about the changes and developments that we have witnessed in 2016. Given that we celebrated our 21st birthday this year, some of the trends we have discussed above would have been unfathomable in the year of our founding, but such is the ever-evolving nature of our industry! If you would like to talk about how the latest technology can help you in the years ahead, be sure to contact us today.