With New Year now a distant memory and the cold dark nights coming to an end we can start to look optimistically at what to expect from the Software/ IT industry in the next year or two. Here we look at the main trends that we think will further shape the industry and help organisations to take innovative leaps into new markets, new ways of thinking, new ways of communicating with their customers and new ways of managing their business.
It feels as though we have been on the cusp of a major breakthrough for years in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Some of the world’s major tech firms are now beginning to focus and invest heavily in hardware and software to grow into these markets. 2016 for AR especially was a huge leap forward with the first major AR game on smartphones the popular Pokeman Go. Layering the real world with a virtual world or overlaying the real world with a new view is set to become more mainstream. Architectural & building companies may start to look at AR as a way of superimposing new buildings/ structures into an existing environment to give clients & stakeholders a better idea of what their concept will look like in its actual setting.
VR’s biggest issue has always been the expensive hardware you need to manage it, both in terms of the physical equipment you need and a powerful computer to run it. With more companies investing in this area they will find ways of making VR equipment easier to run and ways of reducing the hardware cost. VR will be used to provide immersive experiences, as well as gaming expect to see VR move into the training, Health & Safety and Tourism markets more aggressively.
Once the stuff of films and sci-fi (which often led to humans being ruled by machines) AI growth is gathering pace. Nearly 150 AI start-ups have been acquired by large companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook. It’s likely that the next iteration of AI will be integrated with existing software & systems such as CRM.
Companies that need to crunch a lot of data may end up utilising AI and advanced learning techniques; for example banking could have AI that analyses our purchasing patterns and predicts what we will buy in the future. It may then throw up flags if it detects a purchase outside of these parameters which could help us detect fraudulent purchases earlier.
Machine learning is also being developed by the entertainment industry, companies like Netflix are using this to gather information on what we like to watch so it can intelligently suggest and promote other programs to us.
In our ever mobile and connected world, digital platforms are becoming more and more demanded by consumers because it’s what they like interacting with outside of work. The technology used in this provides the foundations upon which an organisations digital business is built. Gartner has identified that Digital tech platforms will have 5 major points: –
All companies are likely to have at least one of the above in their business in the next few years due to customer demand. It will also give you the opportunity to open up new opportunities and recurring revenue streams – the stuff accountants and business owners dream of; regular, guaranteed revenue. Offering a subscription or usage based service in your business and integrating it with your billing and operational systems is likely to be a key growth area here.
There is already a massive push by a lot of providers to get their users to move into a cloud based versions of their software it’s a given that this model will change over the next few years from cloud adoption to cloud first models. The benefits of the cloud for software developers/ providers are just too good at the minute and it offers SME’s and start-ups a level playing field as there is no longer the prohibitive entry costs that they used to have when purchasing software. Cloud first will allow for further reductions in hardware costs. Economies of scale will mean reduced hosting costs and improved processes will further improve collaboration. The rise of the agile philosophy in modern businesses also plays well into the hands of a cloud first strategy.
Smart technology has started to creep into our homes and we have started building smart cities so it’s inevitable that our work places will also have smart tech in them. Some of the home uses are an easy migration here, such as temperature control and lighting. More specific to an office though will be features like meeting room booking applications (we are actually building one for a client now!), through to flexible and adaptive workspaces meaning quickly formed teams to deal with an opportunity or crisis can set up and get to work fast in a space that suits their needs. The key drivers for smart offices are improved efficiency, better flexibility and reducing an organisations carbon footprint through efficient use of resources and eco-friendly processes.
With the rise of IoT, cloud solutions, mobile workforces/life and ever improved connectivity there is more security issues than ever before. We are storing more data and it’s our responsibility to safely store, keep and protect data that can be used maliciously against us or our clients. Security needs to become a lot more fluid as a lot of the trends above are also fluid and are inevitably going to shape the levels of security that we need.
The most high profile is security related to IoT, it has a historically weak security due to its firmware not being updated often enough and IoT devices freely sharing Wi-Fi credentials. Multi-layered security and improved user behaviour analysis are likely to become some of the improvements we see in IT security in the next couple of years.
BaaS stands for Backend as a Services and allows developers to slowly move away from building fully enclosed, self-managed applications. Instead applications will focus on using 3rd party services to deal with parts of the project that are generally ubiquitous in development (such as integration with social media) allowing them to focus on the bespoke elements of the application to make the USP of the solution better as more development time can be utilised on these areas. Improved API’s are enabling this trend and it’s likely to continue as developers realise the benefits of sharing for the common good of the industry.
If you have a software project in mind that you want to use to propel your organisation forward please contact us for a chat to see how we can help you.