Posted on: December 27, 2016
Technology Trends for the New Year
Posted by: Phil Stalnaker
Far superior to its 8-bit predecessor, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System boasted major gains in technology along with the upgrade to 16-bit processing. Aided by experience and competition, the SNES still holds ground as one of the top gaming systems ever, at least according to VentureBeat. While I was immensely excited to get my hands on our original Nintendo (thank you, Christmas 1987), the Christmas of 1991 gave me access to the world of Yoshi, F-Zero, some of the best Star Wars games ever, and even the original Sim City. In fact, it still holds the position of my personal favorite gaming system. Why bring up 1991 technology in a post that examines the technology trends of 2017? Because sometimes, looking back is the best way to look forward.
Nintendo recently released a replica of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, an emulator complete with 30 games. Updated with save points and connections to the Wii (PCWorld), this is a great holiday impulse buy that will please parents and children alike. At least that is what Nintendo is banking on. By looking back, Nintendo is planning for the future by increasing their focus on loyalty as they head into the next new gaming system. While exciting news for many Generation Xers, emulators are certainly not a new technology trend. So what is coming up in 2017 and what will matter to me and my business?
Technology Trends from the Experts
In my research for this post, I read a lot of articles, but focused in on two, which I will link here: Forbes and Gartner. There is no need to rehash the technology trends they discuss, so please use those links to see what they have to say. My goal in this is to highlight what may matter to you as you head into the new year.
Reading through those lists give us a few basic talking points: 1) humans are looking for machines to make things easier, 2) seamless integration is a priority, and 3) big data will only get more important. None of these are new; it just is new how they will work moving forward. Besides the discussion that focuses on the eventual development of Skynet with machines getting smarter and smarter, there are a lot of ways that these technology trends will both vastly improve and potentially endanger the human side of things in the coming years.
Positive and Dangerous Analysis
First, the positive. “[T]he real value that the Internet of Things creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it” (Wired). While the adoption of smart appliances and devices has been mostly slow going, experts are expecting that to pick up pace significantly, as the integration of those devices and their ability to leverage that data usefully is finally coming to fruition. This is good because it makes the business of doing life that much easier and effortless. From apps that can raise and lower your garage door while also allowing you control over your temperature, doors, etc.… to refrigerators that can sense when you are low on milk and automatically order you more, the Internet of Things is allowing us to be more and more hands-free and even thought-free. Using our simple Amazon Echo device, I can turn on and change the radio, order supplies and even play games with my kids all while cooking breakfast. Experts all agree that this integration will only get more seamless and interconnected among all devices making that cleaner and easier; and ultimately much more used over the next year.
This bleeds into business as well, with the automation of line of business applications, workflow rules and marketing efforts. “Every organization will have some mix of five digital technology platforms: Information systems, customer experience, analytics and intelligence, the Internet of Things and business ecosystems” (Gartner). This integration will help to automate many aspects of business, making certain processes easier and cheaper to operate. It is this that also leads to the biggest danger.
“In the second machine age, robots will perform tasks once thought to require uniquely human abilities, like driving our taxis and filleting our fish. But not all jobs will be equally affected by automation” (Quartz). What this means is that jobs that can be completed by this new wave of machine intelligence will ultimately provide cheaper options for businesses with the cost being human jobs. Just like the smart car is putting taxi drivers in danger, so is machine learning endangering jobs such as cashiers, equipment operators, and even accountants (among many others).
What does this mean for you? As a business owner, you want to keep an eye on these technology trends to learn how your business can be positively affected by their development and implementation. Consumers have a lot of new toys to play with and this list gives some people worries as they look out on the new year. Obviously no one knows that will take root, but all the things in these lists hold a good chance of catching on. As in any situation, you are best advised to learn how to adapt, grow and reinvent yourself, just as we are training these machines to do. Happy New Year!