IoT 2017: Virtual Worlds Rise, AI Gets Serious

The end of the year is all about trends and predictions for the next year and the Internet of Things is making a grand appearance this time around.

The latest predictions for 2017 involve IoT advances in technology that will change the way consumers, businesses and machines interact.

Trends involve the growth of virtual assistant like Amazon’s Alexa to new device formats, according to the trend predictions by IHS Markit. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Artificial intelligence gets serious. Machine learning uses large volumes of data to recognize patterns based on similar experiences. Personified AI assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Home, already have access to billions of users via smartphones and other devices. Even bigger profound changes are on the way as levels of human control are ceded directly to AI.
  • The rise of virtual worlds. Following years of hype, the operative reality behind creating virtual, augmented and mixed digital worlds is set to manifest more fully in 2017. What looks like a cooling of interest on the surface will actually be the first steps toward true mass adoption of virtual reality and augmented reality. In 2017, the technology for AR and VR devices will advance significantly as big brands like Facebook, Google and Microsoft consolidate their existing technologies into more exhaustive strategies designed to corner the lucrative market.
  • Low-power technologies extend reach. The first batch of low-power, wide-area networks will go live around the world in 2017 as an alternative to short-range wireless standards like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This means hard-to-reach IoT devices will be able to get connected more efficiently.
  • A revolution in new device formats. The development of the consumer drone is a good example of a product type that evolved over the past few years, taking it to mass market. The next set of new devices may well materialize to create completely novel device types and uses.

Perhaps most significantly, any major business forecast for the next year includes the Internet of Things, in one form or another.