Disruptive Tech Trends for 2017

So, another year departs, obsoleting old technology while ushering in new gadgets and trends. Even though gadgets get the attention; trends set the direction.

A survey of 196 IT professionals1 revealed these disruptive trends in technology2:

  • Predictive IT and Self-service IT
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Mobile payments
  • Next-gen WiFi

Predictive IT and Self-service IT

In the IT-support world, things have been transitioning from:

  • Reactive – Your PC’s drive is broken; we are going to fix it now, to
  • Proactive – Based on our remote tooling, it looks like the drive in your PC is starting to fail, which we can replace now before serious damage occurs, to
  • Predictive – Based on historic data of similar drives and on our ongoing analysis of the specific drive in your PC and its expected, long-term behavior, we are going to replace the drive now before it exhibits failing tendencies.

Predictive IT reduces the effort and improves the response of an IT-support team; it allows the team to focus on critical issues, while optimizing the time spent on predictive issues.

The ease of deploying consumer-grade technologies and lower-level Cloud services, combined with service-management platforms with knowledge-based response capabilities (like ConnectWise, a leading Professional Service Administration tool used by Bryley Systems), is leading end-users toward self-service IT.

Self-service IT enables both IT-support teams (by redirecting their time spent on end-user issues toward higher-level IT concerns, like security) and end-users, providing a world where the end-user can support themselves (to some extent).

Internet of Things

IoT is here, and it can be hacked: One of the most-hacked, in-home appliances are Samsung TVs, but a recent, Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack on DNS providers3 was perpetrated primarily through unsecured, IoT-based surveillance cameras.

IoT refers to all of the IT-enabled items, both home-based and commercial, that communicate through the Internet, primarily providing end-user access and/or sending data back to a collection point for analysis.

IoT traffic and security are significant concerns: All of those not-so-smart devices (projected at 20B by 2020) constantly sending data can consume bandwidth, while presenting themselves as easy targets to hackers and crackers.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Remember HAL? (No, I’m not referring to Bryan Cranston of Malcolm in the Middle.) Back in 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey was a fairly accurate portrayal of space travel; the HAL 9000’s cognitive ability and self-preservation-at-all-costs behavior seemed extreme, but may become necessary since AI has been bent to the will of hackers, teaming repetitive acts with mindful observation to attack secure sites.

AI forms the basis of Big Data, IoT, and Predictive IT; although disruptive, it will likely remain safe for human beings, with the ability to secure itself (somewhat).

Mobile Payments

Being a cash-carrying/credit-card-wielding, baby-boomer payer; I am not sure I agree with this one, but I do know millennials who always upload gift cards onto their smartphones, using them to expunge their purchasing debts.

Statistics support the supposition that Mobile Payments will endure and prosper:

  • Over 70% of US citizens own a smartphone, and
  • Over 70% of those using a mobile-payment tool are millennials or Gen Xers.

Retailers and urban-area merchants best get ready; if they wish to accept payment from their young clients, they will need to deploy the technology to enable mobile payments, or risk losing them to the competition down the street.

Next-Gen WiFi

Tomorrow’s WiFi ain’t what grandpa uses today; it will be faster, but will also work over greater distances with lower-powered, IoT devices.

The emerging standard is known as WiFi HaLow, based on IEEE 802.11ah. It will double the range, provide greater penetration through obstacles (walls, doors, etc.), and enable power-efficient use.

IEEE 802.11ah also supports machine-to-machine (M2M) markets, permitting direct communication from sensing devices to the applications they serve.


1Please see ComputerWorld Tech Forecast 2017: Complete survey results.

2See the ComputerWorld article 5 Disruptive Technologies to track in 2017 by Beth Stackpole on December 5th, 2016.

3See Jon Gold’s article DNS provider Dyn hit by DDoS attacks that takes out major sites in the October 21, 2016 edition of ComputerWorld.