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Deloitte outlines its 7 big tech trends for 2017 and beyond

What does 2017 and beyond hold for the technology sector? Well, according to Deloitte, you can expect “dark analytics” and “everything-as-a-service” to join the likes of Blockchain.

The multinational firm listed the aforementioned trends as part of its Tech Trends 2017 report. So what should you know, then?

Dark Analytics

Starting with this term, Deloitte expects previously unstructured and unanalysed archives of data to be a hefty resource in the next 12 to 24 months.

The company cites examples such as image, audio and video files, machine and sensor information from the Internet of Things and data from the deep web as some of the neglected information.

“However, recent advances in computer vision, pattern recognition, and cognitive analytics are making it possible for companies to shine a light on these untapped sources and derive insights that lead to better experiences and decision making across the business,” the report explains.

Deloitte adds that it expects the “data universe” to expand to 44 zettabytes (one zettabyte being equal to a billion terabytes) by 2020. Interestingly enough, it says that up to 90% of this data will be unstructured.

The company warns that dark analytics isn’t about cataloguing all of this data in a wide net, but cautions firms to have a specific goal/problem in mind.

Machine intelligence

Yep, it’s not just machine learning and AI, but Deloitte has grouped these two fields (as well as deep learning, bots, cognitive analytics and robotics) into the catch-all machine intelligence trend.

The firm defines machine intelligence as “algorithmic capabilities that can augment employee performance, automate increasingly complex workloads, and develop ‘cognitive agents’ that simulate both human thinking and engagement”.

The report says that machine intelligence is already in use, citing a medical research group using it to “analyse the 10 billion phenotypic and genetic images stored in the organisation’s database”. It also cited the example of “cognitive” sales agents in the financial sector being used to identify, follow up on and sustain leads.

Deloitte expects spending on the tech to hit over US$31-billion by 2019.

Mixed reality

A trend that many will be familiar with, mixed reality (augmented and virtual reality fields) is expected to play an even bigger role than just Pokemon Go and VR-enabled games. In fact, it’s expected that the technology will merge with IoT to become a massive part of our lives.

“Design patterns are evolving dramatically, with 2D screens giving way to tools that use sensors, gestures, voice, context, and digital content to help humans interact more naturally with the increasingly intelligent world around us,” the report elaborates.

These new interfaces will combine in a way that’s reminiscent of Microsoft’s HoloLens, it would seem.

“For example, as a worker wearing smart glasses examines a system in a remote location, diagnostic information appearing in his field of vision indicates the system is malfunctioning. If the worker can’t fix the problem himself, skilled technicians in another location would be able to transmit detailed digital instructions for repairing the malfunction and, then, walk him through the repair process quickly and efficiently.”

It’s expected that mixed reality will quickly find a home in the educational/learning, marketing/customer service, production, communication and shopping fields.

Inevitable architecture

It’s a bit of a weird name, but the report finds that the future of IT landscapes will inevitably be simple, flexible and often cloud-based.

Deloitte says that open source, open standards, “containerisation” and virtualisation will merge to create this new trend.

“These steps, taken individually or as part of larger transformation initiatives, are part of an emerging trend that some see as inevitable: the standardisation of a flexible architecture model that drives efficiency, reduces hardware and labor costs, and foundationally supports speed, flexibility, and rapid outcomes.”

Everything as a service

Yes, we’ve seen predictions that cars will be a service, killing the notion of ownership. But this is expected to extend to the enterprise IT sector as well.

The trend “envisions business capabilities, products, and processes not as discreet vertical offerings operating individually in silos but, rather, as a collection of horizontal services that can be accessed and leveraged across organisational boundaries”.

Deloitte compares this trend to Uber and Lyft, which sees none of the headaches associated with owning a car, but still gets you from point to point.

“Like the individual who wants to get to a destination easily, affordably, and without having to buy a car, employees, business partners, vendors, and even customers all want easy, frictionless access to critical services that someone else supports and maintains.”

Blockchain

Ah, Blockchain, the darling of analysts everywhere — and for good reason too. Having started out as the underlying tech behind modern cryptocurrencies, Blockchain is becoming a standalone, irrefutable ledger for various industries.

The technology is envisioned as a trusted gatekeeper and/or keeper of records.

“For individuals, these elements may include financial or professional histories, tax information, medical information, or consumer preferences, among many others. Likewise, companies could maintain reputational identities that establish their trustworthiness as a business partner or vendor.”

Blockchain is also seen as a solution for “frictionless” exchange of digital assets — without banks, stock exchanges or payment authentication services.

Exponentials watch list

Deloitte says that this section looks at technologies that, while taking three to five years to hit the market, could drastically change the game once released.

Nano-engineered materials, energy storage, synthetic biology and quantum optimisation were the four technologies cited by the multinational firm in its report.

“While the full potential of the four exponentials examined in this report may be several years in the future, there are relevant capabilities and applications emerging now. If you wait three years before thinking seriously about them, your first non-accidental yield may likely be three to five years beyond that.”

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More

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