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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.

In fact, by 2020, over 80 million virtual reality devices are expected on the market. As such, the time is now for businesses to seize this innovation.

One of the key reasons for this upward trend is because of the functionality of AR where it is nolonger seen as simply a cool, futuristic technology. Another app that has been a huge contributor inthe AR revolution is Snapchat which has filters (known as "lenses") that let users add special AR effectsto their faces (such as makeup, facial hair or even animal ears) or surroundings (for instance, bymaking it seem as if it is snowing), showing users explicitly and plainly what benefits AR has in storefor them. Recently, Snapchat has gone even further to introduce Spectacles, ensconcing AR even morefirmly into everyday life.

The lines between digital and real life are set to become even more blurred in future, as Mixed Realitydevelops further, breaking down the barriers between virtual and physical reality. In a mixed realityworld, devices will be able to spatially map your environment, mixing real people, objects andenvironments into the virtual world. As manipulating digital content gets increasingly easy and morenatural, this will likely usher in a new frontier for digital collaboration and virtual workspaces.

Betting on Blockchain

This year, the banking and finance industry threw their weight behind blockchain technology, and wesaw adoption rates spiking, as more institutions realized its benefits.

As a data structure that is shared among a distributed network of computers, blockchain results in amore transparent and trustworthy system of direct exchange, where the middleman is eliminated formore efficient transactions, improved security, savings and streamlined processes.

For corporations, this means faster deal-making and operations - and hence greater cost savings.Blockchain also promises cybersecurity and reduces fraud, as any contract or payment, for example,will be recorded and publicly verified.
SMEs can also reap large benefits from blockchain, as this technology helps to level the playing field.For example, small businesses who may not be deemed credit-worthy by banks may still transactmoney and goods directly to consumers and vendors. In fact, anyone with Internet access may engagein blockchain transactions, bypassing any third-party trust organisations and validators that mighthave barricaded trade in the past.

The Future is Now

The lead-up to 2017 has been characterised by smarter and more secure computing, with anoptimistic outlook for the new year. Looking ahead, artificial intelligence and machine learning willincreasingly give rise to a spectrum of intelligent implementations, while AR and Mixed Reality arelikely to evolve from consumer applications to have an increasing impact on B2B interactions, all thewhile becoming more immersive and integrated with people's daily lives. Meanwhile, blockchain issteadily transforming the way consumers and enterprises alike transact, shaping the very structure ofmultiple industries.


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