Technology Trends in 2017
As 2017 unfolds, surveying the trends and predictions for the year focuses on one dominant umbrella category in which important changes are happening fast: Technology.
Advances in all aspects of technology have had a tremendous impact on business, the economy, manufacturing–really, on all aspects of our modern lives. There’s no going back.
Here are a few facets of technology we’ve got our eye on:
Are they here for good? Yes. Are they improving every year? Yes. Are they taking away everyone’s job? No, but some jobs are more vulnerable than others. Robots are just one aspect of automation: automation with a nearly-human face, if you will. Some experts predict the robot revolution will cause a social transformation on the scale of electricity’s impact in the 20th century. Intrigued? Check out the compelling radio series on Robot Proof Jobs on NPR’s Marketplace here: marketplace.org/topics/robot-proof-jobs.
79% of US consumers shop on the web, up from a mere 22% in 2000. 51% have used a mobile phone for a purchase, and 15% have clicked through a link on social media to buy. As millennials dominate the marketplace, these figures will rise. Whether B2B or B2C, every business and every product needs a solid presence in the digital marketplace.
Data collection and smart CRM tools are influencing both traditional and digital commerce. As increasingly sophisticated software collects metrics and mines data, it informs everything from displays and opening hours to targeted pricing and online advertising.
Business Intelligence (also known as BI) is getting more intelligent and more targeted. As software collects fragmented data and converts it to useful information, it constructs a detailed picture of customers, their desires, and their spending habits.
Renewable energy is on the rise. According to Bloomberg.com, “the number of U.S. jobs in solar energy overtook those in oil and natural gas extraction for the first time last year (2015), helping drive a global surge in employment in the clean-energy business as fossil-fuel companies faltered. Employment in the U.S. solar business grew 12 times faster than overall job creation.”
Aligning a brand with renewable energy is a positive selling point, as well as a potential money saver. Big companies are on board: Google says it’s on track to achieve 100% renewable energy for its global operations by the end of this year, and UPS is investing $18 million in onsite solar electric generation.
Cleaner burning biofuels, derived from renewable organic compounds like wheat, corn and algae, are employed in corporate transportation fleets more each year. Even airlines are experimenting with a transition to biofuels: JetBlue ordered 330 million gallons in late 2016.
Technology is enabling on-demand services and business models to flourish, making robust tools available to small startups. The dynamic of on-demand combined with the gig economy is driving smaller businesses to greater capacity than ever before. Financial software, legal services, marketing services, apps and e-commerce are increasingly accessible and highly functional, enabling small and efficient teams to make great strides.