By Beata Green

Now that 2017 has started the entire Internet is be loaded with predictions of what to expect next. Before you find yourself lost somewhere between a blog post about the Internet of Everything ruling the world and videos of robots carrying out surgeries, it is perhaps worth taking a break and realizing what technology trends revolutionized our lives last year.

1. Augmented (AR) and Virtual (VR) Reality

Although most people associate AR with Pokémon Go, which is the very first application that brought millions of users together to share a digital experience, there is much more behind those two terms. With a proper headset on you can enter Virtual Reality and visit a computer-generated, three-dimensional environment that depicts actual or imaginary places. Augmented Reality on the other hand does not need  Oculus or HTC headsets to be entered. AR adds sounds, graphics and smells to the natural world you’re surrounded with through an app you install on your smartphone or tablet. However, fun is not everything AR and VR can offer, successfully transforming channels of communication and simplifying your work. Travel, leisure and architecture firms seem to have experienced the benefits of VR the most, being able to offer interactive samples of their properties to potential guests and customers. It influences science and health care sectors too, for example, enabling psychologists to help patients who suffer from different kinds of phobia – with the headset on, he or she can learn how to confront the fear. Both AR and VR make us rethink the way we perceive not only business, but the entire channel of communication.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

Modern technology is all about connecting. That seems to be the most exact and concise description of IoT. However, the longer one would explain that IoT is a concept of connecting hundreds of devices, software solutions and sensors together. Again, it is not only about having your coffee maker start brewing a cup without getting out of bed, or looking inside your fridge being miles away in order to find out how much milk you have left or what to buy for dinner. We can also benefit from the Internet of Things when it comes to running a business, curing diseases or even fighting hunger. With most of our devices connected we can easily work from every place on the planet which is undoubtedly comfortable, but what is more important is that IoT is also about making a difference, enabling farmers to check weather and soil conditions and control pests making sure they do not lose their crops. Not only is it easier to control growth, the government can also see how much food is wasted now, successfully reducing the excess. Another sector IoT influences is health care with wearable devices which can examine you any minute and send the data to your doctor if it detects anything suspicious. With the Internet of Things growing not only will we be able to discover new diseases, but also detect and prevent them more quickly. There is, however, possible dangers associated with this concept.

3. Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As predicted in 2015, intelligent machines have been one of the most talked about technology topics for a long time now. If you still associate Machine Learning with a robot that was programmed to prepare your cereals for breakfast and failed, it is perhaps high time you find out about IBM’s Watson or Siri. Artificial Intelligence, similar to previous tech trends we have discussed, influences both your personal and professional life. When running a company, you are most likely to use intelligent applications that detect anomalies and simplify your work. When talking to a company, you are most likely to talk to a chatbot representing the authorities. Apple’s Siri is one of the most well- known virtual assistants that might have inspired Spike Jonze to create a movie called Her. It is still possible that you might come across Artificial Intelligence without even knowing it. Watson, for example, is a supercomputer created by IBM that has recently diagnosed a woman with a rare form of leukaemia that doctors were not able to detect, and created a trailer to the horror movie Morgan.  What may be scary is not knowing the difference between a chatbot and a human being – something students from Georgia Institute of Technology have already experienced. Artificial Intelligence may eventually outsmart mankind.

The fact that we have only provided you with descriptions of three of the most popular technology solutions does not mean there are not any more. Technology is the future and you are most likely to experience it whether you are a geek or not, especially with what this year’s inventions are about to offer.

Beata Green is Director of HeadChannel Ltd., London based bespoke software development company. She is responsible for overall strategic direction and overseeing the company’s continuing growth, building closer client relationships and maintaining best working practices. She enjoys brisk country walks with her red fox Labrador and then relaxing in front of a TV crime drama with a glass of red wine.