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2017 Predictions, Pt. 4: Great Expectations for Blockchain, AI, and Robotics

January 13, 2017 by Jacqueline Prause

Cognitive is the new “smart.” Use cases mushroom around blockchain distributed ledger technology. Finance gets excited about robotics process automation.  And for the kids, augmented reality livens up K-12 education.

Those were some of the amazing predictions shared by the experts who appeared this week on Coffee Break with Game-Changers  2017 Predictions Special – Part 4 presented by SAP. Host Bonnie D. Graham asked 16 leading experts, academics, and business influencers what they see in their crystal ball for 2017. Each person was given just two minutes to share their predictions for what the next year holds for their industry, business, the world, and technology.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. 2017 is about breaking the hype bubble around digital transformation on two major fronts: getting to meaningful use cases and consolidating technology. For meaningful use cases, Go-to-market and the business models around Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are the biggest challenge. The hyper-focus is going to be on use cases that can scale. For consolidating technology, this year is about stopping the insanity with IoT platforms. We’re at the peak of platform proliferation.

– Jason Shepherd, Director of Strategy and Partnerships, Internet of Things (IoT), Dell

2. There are four big game-changers in 2017: Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help us think of cognitive as the new “smart”; augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will go mainstream; 5G technologies will be on the road in autonomous self-driving vehicles; blockchain technology will gain broader adoption.

– Bridget Karlin, Managing Director, IoT Strategy and Technology Office, Intel Corporation

Cognitive is the new ‘smart,’ predicts Intel’s Bridget Karlin for 2017.

3. AI is going to go mainstream in 2017, both in ways you can see and in ways you can’t. We know that over half of corporate executives are investing heavily in artificial intelligence. It’s showing up in visual search; enterprise operations with cognitive computing and semantic matching; retail assortment planning and offer management; and semantic recognition.

– Jeff Goldberg, Managing Director for Retail in North America, Accenture

4. Manufacturers are increasingly embedding sensors and technology into their products to make them smart. More of these devices are communicating with, controlling, or reacting to one another. This will continue in a big way, but most importantly, small to midsize businesses and manufacturers will start to gain a true competitive advantage from this technology. This will lead to an escalation of data collecting, analyzing, and sharing at these businesses. 2017 will be a big year for data management.

– Jeff Doneghue, Director, Product Lifecycle Management & Engineering Services, BUNN

5. 2017 is going to be a phenomenal year in IoT. Cost will go down due to narrow-band IoT. IoT is going to be exposed in terms of high-value solutions to enterprise and industrial users. As a result, more things will be connected and the value – not the cost – of those things will increase. That’s going to ultimately drive a lot more data. You’ll see increased interest in deeper analytics, machine learning, and AI. With this sea of data, we’re going to need to create value quicker.

– Fred Yentz, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Telit

6. There’s going to be a big increase in location-based marketing. Companies are going to start to leverage all kinds of sophisticated tools. They’re going to be able to track your mobile to the point that they know exactly what you’re going to be doing at what time; they’re going to know what context you’re going to be in – whether you’ve just entered a store or if you’ve just finished brushing your teeth. This will give the marketers the ability to target you in a very personalized fashion. Privacy will get pushed further behind.

– Lil Mohan, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Marketing, University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business

7. My prediction is that organizations are going to focus much more attention on what Google calls ZMOT, Zero Moment of Truth. They’re going to train sellers to focus on delivering great experiences and engagement throughout the buying process. Sales leaders will need to make a greater investment in training and coaching their people to develop into the consultative, problem-solving, solution collaborators that buyers are expecting.

– Barbara Giamanco, President, Social Centered Selling

8. In 2017, we’ll see more robotics coming into the supply chain area. We’ll also see more centralization and creation of centers of excellence in the supply chain due to lack of talent and the need to concentrate key capabilities and skills into more central positions.

– Tanguy Caillet, Executive Director, EMEIA Center of Excellence for Supply Chain and Analytics, EY

9. I’m really excited about augmented reality in education, particularly in the K-12 world. There was an announcement by Google of being able to do some projects in a museum that allow you to use augmented reality in a Pokémon Go-like format. That could have huge, far-reaching effects with education of younger kids.

– Charlie Cole, Chief Digital Officer, TUMI

10. There’s no doubt that healthcare reform is going to be a topic this year. Medical identity theft is an $84 billion dollar a year problem. Payment fraud is another problem. Also, electronic medical records have 10 percent duplicate records. A combination of these issues is creating a disturbance in the quality of data that physicians have at the point of care. Solving these problems is going to have to be the focus this year if we’re really going to get serious about value-based care.

– Thomas Foley, Global Health Solutions Strategy Manager, LenovoHealth

11. In 2017 we’ll see the launch of autonomous cars. They’ll first appear in cities around a shared-ride model or shared-car model, and also in heavy transportation.

– David Fowler, Senior Director for Services Marketing, SAP America

12. Excitement is coming to the world of finance. We’ll see more things like robotics process automation and cognitive learning capabilities helping to speed up mundane activities like entering invoices.

– Srikanth Tamma, Senior Manager, Technology Practice, Deloitte Consulting

13. Small businesses are optimistic about 2017. Two studies show: businesses that plan, track, and monitor grow 30 percent faster than those who don’t; and 60 percent of businesses that fail were profitable when they failed. Business technology can make it much easier to plan and, most importantly, monitor cash flow. I predict that in 2017 we’ll see more small businesses moving all or part of their accounting and business processes to the cloud.

– Linda Hamilton, CPA

14. Customer experience and design will be recognized by more companies. The word to watch is “convergence” – meaning online and offline convergence, hardware and software convergence, analog and digital convergence. For example, companies that are creating analog services will add some digital aspects, and companies offering an offline service will add some online aspects, too.

– Janaki Kumar, VP and Head of Design and Co-Innovation Center, SAP Labs Palo Alto

15. Blockchain distributed ledger technology will mature. There will be a lot of little breakthroughs this year, and recognition of its broader applicability is going to grow. Today people associate it with Bitcoin and payment technology, but there are so many ways to put the technology to use. Walmart uses blockchain to establish authentication and traceability in its food chain; a French financial services company started a blockchain project to establish compliance with customer rules; and there’s an anti-counterfeiting blockchain service that can be used for authenticating diamonds and luxury goods.

– Robert Kugel, CFA, Senior Vice President and Research Director, Ventana Research

16. HR needs to begin the evolution of not just using the term “cloud technology” but will also need to show the value to their organizations and how they will leverage that technology.

– Tony Cusat, VP Operations, Globalview, ADP

You can hear the full show at SAP Game-Changers 2017 Predictions – Part 4

SAP Game-Changers Radio 2017 Predictions Special Upcoming Show

For dozens of other insightful predictions that can impact you and your business in 2017 and beyond, listen to all five episodes of SAP’s Game-Changers Radio 2017 Predictions Special. Part 5 will air live on Wednesday, January 18 at 11am EST/ 8am PST at http://spr.ly/SAPRadio. You can listen to the show live here.

Editor’s note: The predictions published here have been edited and paraphrased based on the thought leaders’ on-air statements.
Top image via Shutterstock

 

 

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