4. One thing I noticed in putting this list together is that the IoT kept
popping up, repeatedly. This is why it has found its way to the top.
Gartner estimates more than 8.4 billion "Things" are on the
internet today, up more than 30% from just one year ago.
However, IoT alone is just the start. It isn't so much about the
things, but rather what we do with these things once they are
connected and supplying us data.
Three of the main trends I see — the analytics revolution, edge
computing, and 5G cell processing—are all driven by the IoT at
their core. In fact, IDC predicts that up to 40% of all compute will
happen at the edge in just the next couple of years. This is why
trends 1-4 all rest with IoT.
5. If we’re maxing out on data and analytics in 2017, just
wait. The mass amount of information being created
by the IoT has the power to revolutionize everything
from manufacturing and healthcare to the layout and
functioning of entire cities — allowing them to work
more efficiently and profitably than ever before. One
company, for instance, found that it was able to
reduce the cost of managing its fleet of 180,000
trucks from 15 cents per mile to just 3 cents ( this is in
Sweden, not in Indonesia )
That same kind of efficiency can be exercised in
almost every industry, from retail to city planning.
Tech giants such as Microsoft, IBM, SAS and SAP are
all heavily investing in Analytics, more specifically IoT
Analytics as they are seeing the power of this
combination in driving new business insights across a
vast array of industries and applications.
6. If you think we’ve already been pushed to the edge when it
comes to digital transformation, look out: you haven’t seen
anything yet. Just when many companies are finally
beginning to move toward cloud computing, edge
computing — driven by the sheer volume and speed of
information produced by the IoT—is jumping to the
forefront of the business scene.
Industry leaders such as Cisco and HPE have made huge
hardware, software and service bets on this movement,
which I look at as strong validation of this trend. As smart
drones, autonomous vehicles, and other AI-powered smart
devices seek to connect and communicate instantly via the
IoT, the matter of sending data “all the way” to the cloud
will become highly impractical.
Many of these devices will need real-time response and
processing, making edge computing the only viable option.
For those of you who have just jumped into the cloud
generation: don’t fret. Though edge will continue to be the
go-to choice for processing real-time data, it’s likely that the
most important and relevant data will still head cloud-ward.
7. Just as the amount of data produced by the
IoT will force data to the edge, it will also
force mobile providers to move faster than
ever — toward 5G. The level of hyper-
connectivity expected by users today leaves
little room not to move forward on the 5G
path, but don’t get too excited. The move to
5G won’t happen overnight, and it will likely
be patchy at best throughout the coming
This year we are seeing Gigabit LTE (the
stepping stone between current LTE and 5G)
making leaps with devices from Samsung and
Sony leading the way. Today much of the
Gigabit LTE movement is being powered by
Qualcomm Snapdragon technology, but
others will certainly seek to become involved
in this rapid growth market for mobile.
10. While its more popular cousin Bitcoin continues to blow away stock
market analysts, Blockchain may finally find its place in 2018. Gartner
shows that as of February this year, blockchain was the second top
search term on its website, increasing 400% in just 12 months. To me,
it’s no surprise. While the financial industry will be the first to begin
utilizing this amazing tool, numerous others — from healthcare to
entertainment to hospitality — will not be far behind. Granted, the
move to blockchain will not come overnight either — just 20% of trade
finance globally will use it by 2020.
But once it finds its sea legs — most likely this year — there will literally
be no turning back.
12. “Yeah, yeah, I know — artificial intelligence.” That’s likely the
response you’ll get when talking about AI in 2018. With everyone
from toddlers to seniors using Alexa, Siri, and customer service
chat-bots, it’s no wonder AI may soon begin to feel like old
news—at least to mainstream users. On the business side,
however, so much power remains in AI — in everything from
customer service and robotics to analytics and marketing.
Companies will continue to use AI to surprise, connect, and
communicate with their customers in ways they may not even
appreciate or realize. This includes faster, cheaper, and smarter
automation of everything from emails and content generation to
I believe we are still only at the beginning here, but we have
seen the likes of IBM Watson, SAP Leonardo, Salesforce Einstein
and other major software companies all launching embedded AI
right into their platforms. This is a sign of what is to come.
14. “Digital transformation provides companies with the
ability to build better products, deliver better
experiences, and better understand customers,”
noted Dave West, a former Forrester analyst who
is now CEO of Scrum.org.
These days, digital apps with engaging UX are a
business necessity. Insurance customers, for
example, will no longer stand for calling up agencies
all over the place to get rate quotes, filling out
paper-based claims, and then waiting weeks to get
paper-based checks from insurance companies,
Delivering a great UX can extend far beyond just
producing compelling smartphone apps for end
customers. Ultimately, it can mean creating a
seamless digital experience for interacting with
customers, employees, partners, and other
stakeholders, across mobile devices, the web, and
15. Digital transformation begins (although certainly
doesn’t end) with Agile and DevOps development
technologies. Agile methodologies originated mainly
at smaller companies as a way of getting development
teams to work more efficiently. Enterprises began
hopping aboard with the emergence of DevOps,
which added automation — along with IT and
operations teams — to the mix, said Steve Brodie, CEO
of Electric Cloud.
Speed to market (It’s no more Go-To-Market, mind you)
with Agile and DevOps can be impressive indeed. The
UK’s central tax agency, Her Majestry’s Revenue and
Custom, is now able to roll out one new feature every
week, observed Paul Fremantle, co-founder of WSO2.
16. “Starting in 2018, we’ll take gargantuan strides in embedding
near-instant intelligence in IoT-enhanced cities, organizations,
homes and vehicles,” predicted Guarav Chand, senior VP of global
solutions for Dell EMC.
Right now, AI is still in its infancy. However, scattered
implementations are happening in areas ranging from health care
to human resources (HR) and marketing. In health care, for
instance, a company called FDNA has deployed an application for
Next Generation Phenotype (NGP) facial pattern matching among
more than 2000 medical facilities worldwide.
Running in FDNA’s cloud and accessible from mobile devices and
PCs, the app allows pediatricians to match children’s facial
characteristics against an ever-growing database, narrowing
down a diagnosis to a handful of known medical syndromes in
seconds. FDNA has produced a 75 percent improvement in the
ability to reach diagnoses through genome testing, according to
Dekel Gelbman, CEO.
17. Some small digital transformation projects are slated for internal
expansion this year. For example, MelhorTrato.com, a Spanish-language
financial site, recently completed a pilot test of TensorFlow deep learning
software running on its own network servers. About four months ago,
the company’s HR department began using the AI technology to screen
out the best job candidates, said Cristian Rennella, CTO and co-founder of
the 9-year-old Latin America-based startup, which employs about 110
In the past, the HR department spent 67.2 percent of its time reading the
CVs of candidates who applied through its own website and third parties.
To automate this process, the company tried TensorFlow. For the first 30
days of the trial, HR staff needed to work with the software to identify
errors and alert the system for improving predictions. This caused a
temporary slowdown in productivity in the HR division.
“But we are sincerely surprised with the results since then and very
happy. On the path to digital transformation, boring, manual and
repetitive business processes can be performed automatically thanks to
AI. We can now invest more time on interviewing the best candidates,”
Relleno told SD Times
18. Brick and mortar experiences – physical, on site interactions –
are more important than ever. Merchants will have to master
the combination of showrooming and webrooming, events,
product demos, in-store experiences and more.
Online (“pureplay”) merchants will grow their physical
footprint as consumers continue to place a premium on both
the versatility and depth of online shopping and the
convenience of buying, picking up and returning items locally.
Brick and mortar players will digitize their physical
infrastructure and begin rolling out new store features and
formats based on customer experience and convenience,
with a strong digital flavor.
19. Online menswear brand Frank And Oak has opened 16
physical stores in North America. The in-store experience
includes premium coffee and barbershop services.
Nordstrom opened a 3,000 sq/ft store with no
merchandise in order to focus on services and brand
experience such as tailoring, try-ons, stylists and
more, including fresh juice and manicures. The
space doubles as a pickup and return point for online
Home Depot makes $5 Billion online, but its top priority
remains a stellar store experience. Stores and staff
support the customer journey for both DIY homeowners
and professional contractors.