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Analysts Predict the Big Technology Trends for 2017

From artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things (IoT), innovations are unfolding in virtually every technology sector around the globe, spurring the next generation of economic growth, according to an end-of-year study by IHS Markit.

Surveyed analysts provided insights on industry segments such as advertising, automotive, connected networks, consumer devices, entertainment, displays, media, semiconductors and telecommunications.

The analysts provided their informed predictions for the evolving worldwide market in 2017. Per their guidance, the key leading technology trends are as follows:

Smart Manufacturing Accelerates

  • Companies use IoT to transform how products are made, how supply chains are managed and how customers can influence design.
  • Look for tech firms to release their own Platforms-as-a Service (PaaS) offering in the cloud, as they compete to offer IoT projects for the industrial market.

Artificial Intelligence Gets Serious

  • Already, personified AI assistants from a handful of companies have access to billions of users via smartphones and other devices.
  • However, even bigger, more profound changes are on their way as levels of human control are ceded directly to AI, such as in autonomous cars or robots.

The Rise of Virtual Worlds

  • After several years of hype, the operative reality behind virtual, augmented and mixed digital worlds is set to manifest more fully in 2017. The technology for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will advance significantly as vendors consolidate their existing technologies into more exhaustive strategies.
  • New versions of VR-capable game consoles featuring 4K video and high dynamic range (HDR) will also create the medium for high-quality VR content, even if availability will be limited for the next few years.

The Meta Cloud Era Arrives

  • Communication service providers plan to deliver a new wave of innovation, allowing for a single connection to the enterprise and acting as a gateway to multiple cloud service providers.
  • In 2017, new offerings will become available from traditional Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors, coupled with expanded offers from major vendors. Watch for the development and deployment of more specialized silicon in the next two years.

A Revolution in New Device Formats

  • The development of the consumer drone is the closest example of a product type evolved over the past few years that has quickly gone mass market. 3D printers and pens are heading the same way.
  • The next set of new devices may well materialize at the boundary of cheap 3D printing and inexpensive smartphone components to create completely novel device types and uses.

Solar is Largest Source of Renewable Power

  • The next year, 2017, will see photovoltaic (PV) technology retaining -- and confirming -- its position as the planet’s largest source of new renewable power.
  • More than a quarter of all PV capacity added worldwide in 2016 and 2017 will be in the form of solar panels. The growth of solar can be attributed to sharp drops in the cost of PV systems, combined with favorable country policies toward new renewable power.

Low-Power Nets for Inaccessible IoT Devices

  • The first batch of low-power, wide-area networks (LPWAN) will go live around the world in 2017 as an alternative to short-range wireless standards such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. LPWAN technologies will connect hard-to-reach, IoT devices more efficiently and at a lower cost, dealing with challenges stemming from range limitation to poor signal strength. As a result, opportunities will open up for telecom providers to support low-bit-rate applications.
  • In turn, the increased availability and low cost of LPWAN technologies will drive connectivity for smart metering, smart building and precision agriculture, among many other applications.

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