The Liquid Workforce Will Dominate 2017—And Other Tech Predictions
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The Liquid Workforce Will Dominate 2017—And Other Tech Predictions

Dan Rowinski • January 2, 2017

In 2016, Applause executives predicted that virtual reality would grow and work seamlessly with mobile devices, a Google Glass-like spinoff would be embraced by celebrities and that testing in the mobile payments ecosystem would take off. All of those predictions have come to pass. Every year top level executives, managers and employees of Applause predict what the coming year will bring in the digital and innovation economies.

CEO and co-founder of Applause, Doron Reuveni, predicted that fitness wearables would continue to dominate. Doron, as he tends to be, was right. Smartwatches are a failing product category. But fitness devices continue strong, led by Fitbit. Chief technology officer Thom Kenney said that first world governments would continue to invest in backdoors to operating systems and devices. We are not sure that Thom was necessarily predicting the dustup between Apple and the FBI over the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, but he was close enough to be mildly frightening. Speaking of Thom … he not only predicted Google’s big entrance into the device market, he actually 100% nailed Google announcing the Google Home device … by name. A year ago, Kenney predicted:

Google will aggressively attack the home device market seeking to access the data in your home. Acquisitions of bleeding edge companies will help them announce a “Google Home” that can be controlled and managed entirely within a Google ecosystem.

Sanji Alwis predicted that smartwatches would have almost no effect on the bottom line of big tech companies. In fact, most of the big tech companies stopped actually producing smartwatches at the end of 2016. Former head of delivery John Montgomery said, “a Hollywood A-lister will make wearing a Google Glass offspring fashionable and will launch a thousand spin off companies.” Montgomery wasn’t quite right … but he did hit on an aspect of what became the Snapchat Spectacles. So, what does this smart group of people have to predict for 2017? See what they have to say below.

Doron Reuveni - CEO and co-founder

  • Virtual reality will continue to grow (beyond just gaming), next major expansion will be social (social VR platforms will become dominant).
  • Speech recognition, language recognition and smart analytics engine will start to control our interaction with computers (Alexa, Google Home, Watson).
  • The age of the freelancer and liquid workforce will dominate: Applause for digital quality, Upwork for digital work.

Dave Bolton, Writer

It should come as no surprise that I think 2017 will be dominated by voice activated interfaces. The success of the Amazon Echo may have caught some companies by surprise, but the floodgates are about to open. Voice interactions will become the norm, especially as people get more comfortable with actually speaking out loud to complete an action. Virtual and augmented reality applications will build on the progress made in 2016. Brands will tailor their customer interactions to include immersive experiences, although these are likely to be targeted at existing untethered headsets such as the Google Daydream View and Samsung Gear VR. Games will still dominate but there will be an increase in education, healthcare and workplace applications. The Internet of Things will become less consumer-facing and transition to industry and workplace applications. Device manufacturers will still produce a range of “smart things” but the onus will be on proving to consumers that there is value in connected devices by making them actually smart.

Peter Blair - Vice president of marketing

  • “Chief Digital Officer” (CDO) will be the fastest growing new title added to executive teams at fortune 500 companies.
  • “Digital Transformation” will be listed as a top 3 priority for the year ahead by 95% of all CEOs in the largest 250 global consumer packaged goods companies.
  • Order online to pick up in-store will be table stakes for retailers to compete in 2017.
  • Amazon will buy a regional convenience store chain and convert them to Amazon Go retail locations.

Ravi Chejarla - Senior manager, QA operations

  • Integration of various consumer products to give one point of sale. Making any shopping and availing services, as a seamless purchase experience.
  • Wearables will still lead the market going into 2017. Wearables are any products those can be worn on the body, and used for tracking various activities, including calories burnt, time spent walking, gestures to make actions happen, etc. There will be products and varieties of services offered through using wearables. There will be products like Google Home, which is technically not a wearable, but would perform similar actions for the consumers.

Matt Solar - Senior director of community

  • Deeper integration between/across native apps.
  • One of the front running companies (e.g. Tesla, Google) will open access to their driverless car platforms.
  • VR continues to struggle for the “a ha” application.
  • Large growth in home automation, largely driven by your smartphone and voice as inputs.
  • Consolidation in the fitness wearables space (both a product and company level).
  • Amazon enters the mobile payments (I’ve predicted this three years in a row now, bound to happen eventually).
  • Overdue innovation & disruption in the marketing automation space.

Jan Wolter - General manager, Europe

  • Cognitive technology with self-learning abilities will come to the mass markets with easy APIs such as Microsoft Cognitive Services allowing wide spread usage.
  • AI Personal Assistants go mass market with real use cases instead of just some nice features to play around.
  • Connected Living will be connected through AI Personal Assistants in our home.

Astrid Welina - Marketing manager, Europe

What are going to be the big trends? In previous years apps and other software was to meet user’s needs. Now usability and interaction design are more and more in focus than ever before. How users interact with an app is equally as important as what they achieve / do with it. This manifests in AR, VR, voice recognition software / search / devices (chat bots) that all focus on ease and intuition of interaction. Will a certain tech category rise to prominence or fade away and die? Design for all devices will die, there will be more mobile first/only, device-focused development. And mobile UI will be more visible in web design. Will a specific company release a groundbreaking product? Google Tango.

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