The top news in IT for 2017 includes developments in artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), and mesh systems. These technologies aren’t new in themselves, but advances in the past year give them the potential to substantially change multiple industries. For example, common household items such as appliances are increasingly likely to have AI capabilities. The growing uses of VR and AR along with the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) into a digital mesh also characterize technology 2017 trends.
AI includes a variety of specific technologies such as deep learning, natural-language processing and neural networks. Advancements in AI reached a critical point in 2017 that allows them to significantly augment virtually every technology-enabled device or service. AI gives these devices the potential to act autonomously, rather than simply executing a set of pre-defined instructions. IT advisory firm Gartner predicts this capability will provide the primary basis of competition for many technology vendors through at least 2020.
Applications that use AI include virtual personal assistants (VPAs), which make users more productive by performing everyday tasks such as prioritizing emails and highlighting important content. Intelligent apps are also found in areas such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), marketing and security. Gartner expects most of the world’s largest companies to refine their promotional offers with intelligent apps by 2018.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
The tech year in review 2017 includes many uses of VR and AR for digital businesses. The increasing detail of the digital world and its ability to resemble part of the real world will result in the creation of new business models and digital ecosystems. VR and AR create an immersive environment that changes the ways in which users interact with software and each other. For example, VR is currently being used extensively for training and providing remote experiences. AR blends the real and digital worlds with software that overlays computer-generated images onto real-world objects. Enterprises will be looking for specific applications of VR and AR at least through 2020.
Mesh systems dynamically connect people, processes and things for the purpose of supporting a digital ecosystem. The user’s experience fundamentally changes as the mesh involves, which requires changes to the supporting technologies.
Conversational systems provide one of the most well-known examples of mesh systems. They have been able perform basic text and voice conversations by answering simple questions for some time, but they can now perform more complex tasks such collecting oral testimony for legal proceedings. Conversational systems have also been used to generate sketches of suspects. One of the most significant advances in conversational systems during 2017 was a shift from the user adapting to the system to the system adapting to the user.
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