2017 Predictions: Breakout creative workstations, IoT officers and a self-healing future

By KT Ong, Malaysia country manager – Commercial, Dell EMC

If you could predict the future, how would you do things differently? When we polled business decision-makers around Asia Pacific, 70% said competition from digital start-ups is incentivizing them to invest in their IT infrastructure and digital skills leadership.

Understandably so. The last couple of years have been tumultuous to say the least. All industries, sectors and businesses are transforming. Expect even more disruption to come down the pike. Established companies are being out-maneuvered and out-innovated by digital start-ups across the world. More than half of the businesses we surveyed don’t even know whether they’ll be around in 3-5 years’ time.

But amid the disruption is opportunity – and lots of it. Here are seven significant trends for 2017. No doubt some of these will change the way you do business, from the edge, to the core, to the cloud.

KT Ong

KT Ong

Prediction 1: Immersive creativity goes mainstream

2017 will signal the democratization of immersive creativity. Very soon, creators will be able to weave their magic with some super powerful technology – and in time, this technology will be adopted by the wider population.

Builders and architects will walk onto project sites and use their devices to see full-scale models of buildings before any work has even begun. High-performing, efficient and simple infrastructure will be essential to easily and quickly access the data needed to visualize these creations.

Prediction 2: Otherworldliness

Over the next few years, expect VR/AR to reach a tipping point. According to IDC, across Asia, 30% of consumer-facing companies will experiment with AR/VR as part of their marketing efforts in 2017.

Hands-free devices will propel people into parallel worlds, in which their only limitation will be their imagination. They’ll learn new skills, provide services and engage with people, without bumping into the time and cost constraints of physical media.

In Malaysia, EXA Global has announced plans to open the country’s first VR theme park. The gaming experience is completely immersive as players are put in an essentially empty room, equipped with VR headsets and gaming equipment to battle enemies in the virtual world. Another notable home-grown company involved in the setup is Mediasoft, an award-winning digital entertainment studio who is responsible for the VR gaming content. Elsewhere in the region, ZipMatch in the Philippines provides a 360 virtual reality service that enables real estate brokers to show potential buyers property in a more experiential and immersive way, without the need for an actual visit, while companies like TaKanto, Hiverlab, and VizioFly in Singapore are heavily invested in VR content creation.

Pokemon Go may be adding around 700,000 new players a day, but AR and VR are ripe for much more than just gaming.

 Prediction 3: Secure your HVAC

 Have you recently heard your mechanic say that your car needs a software update? Well, you heard correctly. In the age of the connected world – practically anything with an IP address can be hacked.

Expect the attack perimeter to widen this year and encroach upon other areas of the business beyond the IT network.  Understanding that it’s not just your data that needs to be protected, but also items like your HVAC infrastructure, is going to be a critical awakening for businesses going forward. In fact, Asia Pacific’s ‘Cyber Five’ – Singapore, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Japan – appear nine times more vulnerable to cyberattack than other Asian economies according to Deloitte’s 2016 Asia-Pacific Defense Outlook.

Prediction 4: 5K blah…

This isn’t the generation who settles for second-best. Why not? Because we’ve gotten used to progress at 100mph. R&D teams are constantly working-up a sweat to surprise and delight their customers. And just when people thought 5K resolution would supplant 4K as the next industry standard, rumors of large displays with double the resolution are starting to circulate.

In 2017, people’s experiences of living in technicolor will be upgraded further, until the real-world will look dim in comparison.

Prediction 5: Chief IoT Officer

Business chiefs are popping-up all over the place. Chief Digital Officers were all the rage but now there’s a new kid on the block, in the shape of the Chief IoT Officer.

Why do we need them? Because companies will experience mounting pressure to bridge the gap between operations and IT. In fact, IDC research suggests that by 2020, one quarter of the C-level business executives in Asian companies will have spent at least 3 years of their career in a technology leadership role.

In a bid to improve ROI and efficiency, the Chief IoT Officer will work with everyone from facilities and plant managers to CIOs and CEOs.

They’ll be the change agents, responsible for pulling their firms into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a world which will pulse to the rhythm of nearly nine billion connected devices across Asia Pacific by 2020.

Prediction 6: Prevention is better than a cure

 Any doctor will tell you that prevention is better than a cure. And now, thanks to machine learning, we can tell when a piece of technology is about to break before it does, and address the issue quickly. With self-healing technology, companies can deploy talent on more strategic IT projects vs. spending time on break/fix services. Cloud-based analytics platforms will provide near real-time intelligence and predictive analytics capabilities to proactively monitor, manage, and provide device health.

IDC predicts by 2020, nearly 20% of operational processes will be self-healing and self-learning. This represents far fewer fires to put out.

Prediction 7: Machines and their crystal balls                                                             

It’s no secret that companies – and people – are struggling to cope with the tremendous amount of data now online.  But brace yourselves – large scale data will soon help machines understand things in brand new ways. In fact, Ovum research suggests machine learning will be the biggest disruptor for big data analytics in the coming year.

Increasingly embedded in enterprise software and tooling for integrating and preparing data, machine learning is enabling enterprises to predict and collaboratively solve problems.

For instance, MIT is doing some really cool stuff around predicting human behavior. The MIT researchers believe machine perception will revolutionize industries where insight can be acquired from data at scale. For example, computer vision may provide an affordable, more accurate procedure to screen people for medical issues.

In time, machines will start to apply their learning across modalities and domains – making it possible to learn from text or virtual worlds.

Exciting stuff! Maybe I’ll let the machines write these predictions in a few years’ time!



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