2017 Predictions, Pt. 3: Blockchain, Fog Computing, Business-by-Voice

Already being hailed as the year of unpredictability, 2017 promises to be anything but business-as-usual. Amid a maelstrom of disruptive technologies set to change how we interact and do business, there is also an inspiring confidence in the power of the individual to create, discern, and manage in a manner that is more human-centric than ever before in the digital age.

Those were some of the thoughts voiced by the experts who appeared this week on Coffee Break with Game-Changers  2017 Predictions Special – Part 3 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 panelist 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 the year for blockchain I predict an awakening will take place on a global scale about what this technology is capable of and how it’s going to impact everyday citizens, governments, and businesses. One particular blockchain to watch is the Ethereum blockchain.

Hilary Carter, Founder, InTune Communications

2. Business-by-voice will be a new name in 2017. Screen-based technology will go away in 2017 and will be replaced by voice. New startups will emerge to deliver voice-enabled cognitive applications that can think, learn, and talk to the users.

Surendra Reddy, Founder & CEO, Quantiply Corporation

3. We will all need to be better futurists. With the present unpredictability of the world, I think the markets, individuals, and firms are going to be looking for increased control.

Bryan W. Mattimore, Cofounder & Chief Idea Guy, the Growth Engine Company

4. We’ll see a much more intense focus on digital in traditional companies. I think that the digital modernization focus would be misguided if companies don’t start to appreciate digital for what it is. It is part of what the company makes and serves to its customers. It redefines their core competencies. It actually alters the business a company is in. (See related blog.)

Frank Diana, Principal for Future of Business, TCS Global Consulting

5. In 2017 we will talk a lot about machine learning, robotics, and technology trends, but we need to connect those advancements back to humans. That’s where design thinking comes into play. For us to get the technology to move forward, we need the people. In order for people to get benefits from that technology, we need to bring people back into the love of technology.

Charlotte Bui, Head for Global Design Thinking, SAP

6. We will see bots crop up in almost every avenue of our lives. We’ll see bots across every level of engagement, both consumer and business.

Robin Kearon, Business Development, Kore

7. In 2017 companies will be making investments to drive a more agile business process, drive more automation, and to proactively drive more data to streamline their processes across their functional organizations. We believe this will result in competitive advantage through three key initiatives: faster time to market, increased product customization, and the ability to respond more effectively to customer and market demands.

Alan Mendel, Vice President Strategic Consulting, Sales and Marketing, Cofounder, LeverX

8. 2017 is the year of change. It’s going to be the year that organizations really need to have a critical view of their mission statement and their objectives, so that they can touch back while all of these changes are taking place. This will provide that ability to really be transparent in our organizations, stronger than ever in our communications, make people aware of what the organization is trying to do, and get that engagement so people can make decisions in the organization.

Sharon Cook, HCM Practice Director, hyperCision Inc.

9. As we grow bigger and stronger on mobile, Internet of Things, and sensors, we have to manage that information and react to it much quicker than we currently do sending it up to the cloud and then bringing it back. When we talk about connected cities, grids, and vehicles, decisions have to be happen in a millisecond. There has to be a way to access that information more quickly and manage it closer to the devices. Therefore, there’s going to be a huge investment in fog computing.

Laz Uriza, Senior Solution Principal, Extended Supply Chain CoE, SAP

10. Video marketing will become extremely pervasive by sales organizations to help Sales connect with buyers personally. This technology and platform will explode inside this age of virtualization in 2017. Buyers are digitally enabled, they’re mobile attached, and they’re socially engaged.

Mario M. Martinez, CEO, M3Jr Growth Strategies

11. Within employer healthcare programs, my prediction is that a bad example is going to induce a good result. The people who manage employer healthcare programs are going to observe the national healthcare discussion and make it a point of professional pride to show how it is done. Employers who apply deep thinking are going to move past the old mindset of thinking of these programs as a goal of providing cost-effective insurance and instead see the goal of developing a workforce at the peak of its mental and physical health.

Michael Maniccia, Specialist Leader, Deloitte Consulting

12. Human experts are going to be assisted, not replaced, through technology advances. The correct interpretation of data, when it comes to specific businesses and people, is going to require human intelligence and expertise for years to come. Computer systems that are used to automate these processes can make recommendations; they’re a lot stronger in processing standard cases than they are in addressing exceptions. Sometimes those exceptions require a more intimate understanding of context and empathy.

Dror Orbach, Chief Operating Officer, Illumiti

13. As the Amazon effect becomes greater, companies in online retail or the ecommerce space have to innovate in the area of logistics to stay competitive. Amazon has done this with its drone delivery service. The biggest impact of these drones is the way they will change our expectations for package delivery.

Stephanie Huber, Senior Consultant for Business Intelligence, Deloitte Consulting

14. 2017 will be the year we begin the shift from maniacal twentieth-century focus on organizational productivity to twenty-first century focus on personal productivity. The engine behind that is artificial intelligence in the cognitive era – so that we can finally get at what each and every individual needs, instead of just what the company needs.

Bill Jensen, aka Mr. Simplicity, IBM Future of Work Futurist

15. We’re finally seeing digital technologies move from hype to reality. Social media, analytics, and cloud were the start of the journey. Robotics process automation, augmented intelligence, blockchain, artificial intelligence… I’m now talking to CFOs about these on a daily basis in terms of the value they can create within business.

David Axson, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy

16. 2017 is the year of unleashing the power of the individual to transform the present and future. It will be the year of accountability and adaptability. We’ve got to improve on being relationship-centric, by discovering the joy of each other and each other’s strengths. We have to also embrace challenge and growth.

Shannon Platz, Global Vice President, Channel GTM, SAP

2017 Predictions at SAP News: Human experts are going to be assisted, not replaced, through technology advances.

You can hear the full show at SAP Game-Changers 2017 Predictions – Part 3.

SAP Game-Changers Radio 2017 Predictions Special: Upcoming Shows

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 4 will air live on Wednesday, January 11 at 11am EST/ 8am PST at http://spr.ly/SAPRadio. Part 5 airs January 18 at the same link. You can listen to the shows 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