The pace of acceleration in technology continued its momentum in 2017. There was a widespread adoption in the consumer segment of smart voice enabled devices like Alexa and Google Home as well as usage of chatbots and messaging interfaces like Facebook and Slack.  2017 also presented new opportunities and possibilities for enterprises to increase customer engagement, drive process agility and lower costs further with technology. We saw boundaries of the enterprise shrinking and value creation via advanced models of collaboration between ecosystem players. Some of the most important technology trends of 2017 was Machine Learning, AI, increased adoption of solutions in Information Management, Blockchain and Security.

2018 looks exciting in terms of the various possibilities, some of which could be as follows. While no one can accurately predict how the future will turn out, one can certainly make some educated guesses. AI will get more into the mainstream with everything on the enterprise as well as consumer side using some elements of AI to connect and communicate. This means that systems can learn, function, predict and function autonomously. This will see its application right from robotics, analytics, to operational processes and customer service. Start-ups will increasingly make available ML, Big Data, analytics and information management all in byte size models to make it increasingly attractive for enterprises. Blockchain will slowly see increasing adoption in several industries from healthcare, entertainment to hospitality. Enterprises will start to use edge design pattern in their architectures. Coupled with IOT, a whole new set of services and businesses is likely to be launched, offering hack free risks to retailers, manufacturers, transportation companies and several other industries to get real time data from sensors to track and take decisions. Cryptocurrencies will make a headway beyond just the financial services sector to larger arenas of the society with an intention to minimize risks of fraud or manipulation. Using insights from connected devices, marketing organizations can gain deeper insights on the daily lifestyle and preferences of their customers. Bots will move beyond the floor of customer service to become mainstream and almost a daily routine. Businesses will invest more in bots to provide a value add and serve customers better.

Enterprises will further invest in ensuring that they leverage the vast amounts of information they generate and have access to, to take faster decisions. AI and machine learning will be leveraged by enterprises to understand customers better – what are they looking for, where do they first go when they hit a brick and mortar location, when do they abandon their shopping carts etc., to be able to serve them better. Enterprises will focus on enhancing collaboration, such that they can transcend devices and platforms to run business processes. The CIO’s top agenda will also be managing security and risks to protect enterprise data. There will be a digital twin, a digital representation of real world for a large set of devices which will be useful especially in areas like maintenance, repair and operations that can generate billions of dollars of savings. Outfitted with IOT sensors, these devices will monitor its physical incarnation for any maintenance issues and send alerts.

While 2018 looks exciting for the possibilities with technology, the momentum also depends on government regulations, cyber security and other economic factors to determine how much enterprises will invest and place their bets. End of day, business priorities will always lead investments, and it’ll be interesting to see how technology innovations will tie in to the sentiments of enterprises to propel and drive business performance. – Business World 



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