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How 2016’s tech trends are setting the stage for a smarter 2017

Alberto Granados, Vice President, Microsoft Asia Pacific | Dec. 13, 2016
Our day to day lives have become increasingly akin to technology.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

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2016 was a year full of big technology promises - disruptive, breakthrough technologies which shook up business models, presented new ways of solving old problems and opened a wealth of opportunities for businesses of all sizes and industries.More than ever before, our day-to-day lives have become increasingly akin to something out of a sci-fi film, as the boundaries between real life and the digital world are increasingly blurred, and technology is ever more integrated into our lives. For example, the average person now has the ability to converse and work with artificial intelligence, while businesses are transforming the way they operate thanks to the advent of blockchain solutions.

Some of these innovations have already been ramping up for the past few years, but they have secured their place as an increasingly integral part of our lives in 2016, making businesses more efficient and able to deepen their reach in key markets.Here's our pick of the top three most impressive technology ideas in the past year:

Hi, Robot

Over the past year, computers have become smarter than ever. We've been talking to machines for decades, but in 2016, they now talk back, transforming how we work and play.

Intelligent bots such as chatbots couple the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence. In our mobile-first, cloud-first world, technologies are becoming increasingly complex, and people are instead seeking an effortless a solution as possible - such as having a simple conversation.

As a result of advanced machine learning, we are witnessing the rise of conversational computing, where intelligent bots and digital personal assistants can simulate human behaviour, enabling customers to converse with computer systems as if they were another human being. Bots not only make it easier and more efficient for people and machines to interact, be it booking tickets or scheduling appointments, but can also help smaller companies to achieve scale.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to reinvent productivity and maximize their staff strength by having bots stand in for customer service representatives, while their human employees handle higher value roles.
As bots' natural language understanding grows, conversations will be the new platform of the future and such cognitive computing will certainly be something to keep an eye on in 2017.

The AR-evolution

For years, marketers have been trying to get people to adopt augmented reality (AR), but it has finally taken off in a big way in 2016, with apps such as the Pokemon Go phenomenon driving AR into the mainstream.


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