Mark Skelton

Tech Trends for 2017. I’m fortunate that part of my role involves predicting where technology maybe going in the future. As we move into another year I thought it would be good to have a look at what 2017 is likely to offer.

Over the Christmas period one of the top selling products on the market has been digital personal assistants in the form of Amazon Echo and Google Home. I think both these show what an exciting, technology-integrated year we’re going to have. 

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I believe the four key focus technologies that will really start to impact businesses in 2017 will be: 

- Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning

- Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality

- Modern Cloud Driven Infrastructures

- Adaptive Digital Security


Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning

We’re seeing a big up-take in digital personal assistants in the consumer world and in 2017 we can expect that to push into enterprise organisations. For example, Microsoft is already planning to release a Cortana personal assistant in the first quarter that will support your business productivity. It’ll do things like automatically organising your meetings for you or automatically responding to certain emails with relevant responses. 

This will evolve over the course of the year onto bigger, better integrated things. With the power of machine learning and neural networks sitting behind all this data collection we’ll start to see systems dynamically change offering better results and predictions back to our businesses.  Will this start to replace human responses? Only time will tell but the technology is beginning to get there.

I believe this year we’ll see the rapid rise in these conversational AI platforms in businesses allowing us to get faster, more relevant data from our core business systems. We had some of these technologies in 2016 but the problem to date is that they were all proprietary systems and required a large amount of development to make them deliver results for businesses.

However in 2017 I think we’ll see a stronger development around integration platforms that will allow us to connect AI platforms to business systems to drive the results we want.

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality

So what about when you couple AI and machine learning with what we can now do in virtual reality (VR) and more critically augmented reality (AR)? Then the possibility for technology to drive innovation in enterprises is limitless. 

In 2017 we’ll see more and more businesses embracing VR as vendors such as Facebook, HPE and Microsoft drive down the cost of this technology.  We’ll see it being used in all types of industries, from modelling designs/concepts in manufacturing to assisting healthcare in hospitals, the ability to combine the physical world and the virtual world is incredibly powerful.

Modern Cloud Driven Infrastructures

To support AI/Machine Learning/VR delivery I predict we’ll see a rapid change in how we architect our applications in enterprises.  We’re starting to see the rise of intelligent apps, driven on concepts of serverless computing and API driven applications. 

This process started in 2016, but I think we’ll see it dramatically expand as we try to deliver these modern application architectures and business systems. Driving more and more organisations to a cloud model where they can consume things like containers and a predefined infrastructure platform. And start to move away from virtual machine driven infrastructures. 

Cloud platforms such as OCSL Cloud Control and Microsoft Azure Stack are going to be technologies that I see enterprises needing throughout 2017 to support the demand for these new systems. 

Adaptive Digital Security

In parallel with these modern infrastructure architectures we’ll urgently need to address how we think about security through 2017.  Traditional approaches to security simply won’t be able to keep up with these new technologies and processes.  IT systems will be more vulnerable than ever as more and more business data is controlled and delivered through the cloud. 

I predict in 2017 we’ll see the continued rise in modern adaptive security systems that listen to and learn from behaviours in our IT systems. Harnessing the power of AI to help predict and protect against threats.  We’ll see a rise in the big security players trying to catch up with the disrupters in the market, such as with Cylance Inc.


2017 is going to be a very exciting year for us technologists. And it will be challenging.  IT departments will need to be better integrated than ever in 2017 to support the business changes we are seeing.  I for one cannot wait to see where this year ends up taking us.

Thought piece