3. Narrowband technology networks will see IoT become commonplace
IoT has become an increased reality and as narrowband network technology is deployed, it will enable a wide range of new devices and services to be connected to the network and may improve power consumption of devices, system capacity and spectrum efficiency. As devices and their uses proliferate, the need to make quality and real time decisions will become acutely important. Collections of data sets will need to be maintained for accuracy and compliance with governance and policy enforcement regimes. Security technology will play a key role in verification of data trust across IoT ecosystems.
4. The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to drones and automated vehicles
As technology and regulation continues to evolve, industrial automated vehicles will go far beyond the agricultural and mining verticals where they are used commonly today. NuTonomy's self-driving taxi trials in Singapore this year are just the beginning. In 2017, we expect to see new use cases emerge in government defence, emergency services, transport, logistics, and the maintenance and inspection of infrastructure. Autonomous vehicles will extend the functions of IoT devices, machine learning and automated decision making.
5. Augmented reality becomes a reality
Broad market directions around Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) are starting to form as products become "good enough" in the consumer applications space particularly for entertainment. However, AR is rapidly finding practical use cases within enterprises. AR is particularly useful in "hands-busy" tasks such as many design and maintenance scenarios, where instructions can be overlaid on the physical thing being serviced. As device durability improves, AR will find a wide variety of use cases in pre-sales, field service, maintenance, and training.
The biggest impact will be on businesses that depend on people, which is essentially all of them. For example, Augmented Reality could help enable less-trained staff to operate at the level of experts, because they will be able to call an expert in to see what they're seeing, and then see the world as the expert sees it. Vuzix# and SAP# have been working together on an AR solution to allow field technicians to see expert step-by-step instructions floating in the air and chat to an expert when they need further guidance. This allows experts to be located remotely from where their skills are to be applied, saving organisations costs and improving the quality of the work.
The businesses who will be in the best position to take advantage of these trends are the ones who are already using these technologies in some capacity, or are willing to begin experimenting with them early in 2017. These businesses will reap the benefits of the 'sixth sense' and gain the competitive advantage required to thrive in a connected world.
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