2017 will see advances in tech we’ve seen in 2016 go on overdrive. A lot of these revolve around developments in AI and machine learning. They’re all in some ways connected. To each other. And to us as people.

Cognitive Devices

This is a step beyond ‘smart’ devices. Products that have self learning built in to become aware of context – and that are capable of complex thinking that mimic human capabilities. See Sentient IOT below. Cognitive devices will allow for predictive marketing and product delivery – taking loyalty based decisions to levels of automation which are actually quite scary.

AI and Personal Assistants

Technologies around Artificial Intelligence such as natural-language processing and deep learning, will naturally evolve in to systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt – and are able to almost clone human behavior. Rather than simply execute predefined code, these systems will be able to ‘think’ on the fly and react. Every day tasks are going to be easier, with Personal Assistants becoming better twins of human behavior and logical progression of thought will be built into apps. In marketing, this means brands will be able to learn from past market data, immediate context, individual customer behavior pattern and predict an experience and create an offer – in the moment. Autonomously. Intelligently.

Smart Homes and Connected Lives

The smart home will be an ecosystem rather than just a bunch of connected devices. This is where we should see brand collaboration and the dissolution of competition – particularly in different verticals. We’ll see connected lives of consumers demand collaboration between brands and products they use – freely, and geared towards their experience and convenience rather than company bottom line. Expect a sushi delivery via a drone taxi company, and a fridge collaborating with a grocery chain.

IOT but Sentient

Almost in the same genre as AI equipped apps and tools, and homes – the Internet of Things will see adoption of sentient tools. ‘Sentient’ tools are aware of their context and social interactions – they can feel and perceive – and reason. Cloud-based AI, centrally connected robots, and advanced machine-learning algorithms will converge, and we’ll start to see the true benefits of IOT in manufacturing, marketing and just every day living. Every day things around will us will provide solutions rather than pose problems.

More AR, better AR and with VR

Expect AR and VR to expand beyond visual immersion to include all human senses. Like Pokemon GO for Business. By late 2017 we expect that AR layered VR will transform the way individuals interact with each other and with software/hardware to create immersive, interactive environments. Better AR and VR will be used for training scenarios and remote experiences. The blending of real world with projected images might just change our experiences at resorts, movies, sports events and classrooms.

DAAS and DoD

Data as a Service (DaaS) and Data on Demand. Businesses will no longer need to work through the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety, Velocity, Veracity) at huge costs of time and money. A new breed of data brokers will emerge to provide DaaS and let brands access data when they need it, and simply have that analysed based on immediate need. We’ll see advancements to humanize big data, making it more qualitative and useful and add layers of empathy –projecting it in a more visualized, accessible way.

Improved CRO technologies

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) will creep into a lot more than just websites or landing pages. CRO will be the new UX. Conversion rate optimization helps you track user behavior on your site and identify elements that produce the highest number of conversions. Marketers will find new ways of to use CRO to channel their existing traffic into sales. And CRO will be used in apps, on payment interfaces, last miles of interactions, and retail – actually anywhere where a yes no decision is involved.

Noise, filters and clutter-cutting content

Content that cuts through the immense white noise out there will have to be precise and dense. Every word in a post will have to be ‘optimized’ to resonate. Every frame in a video meaningful. Every sound a vibe. Content will become a highly specialized skill, with highly informed and inspired writers and creators who will understand and develop clutter-cutting content. Also, expect apps and assistants that will filter content you don’t want, even before you didn’t want it!

Video gone mad

Yes, video is going to go mad in 2017. Social media? Video. Ads on mobile? Video. Most consumed content platforms? Video. Surgery via video. Wedding invits via video. Resumé on video. College lectures on video. Everything and everybody will see some sort of use for video. And of course good quality, unforeseen, high resolution video. AR/VR and video. Guidance systems, SatNav and maps will use video. Live video. Facebook and video. Search and video. Chatbots and video. Oh, anything and Video, really. Here’s to 2017…

by Tom Roy, MCN chief innovations officer
as published in Campaign magazine, Middle East January 2017
and from his blogpost