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GP Bullhound’s Technology Predictions, now in its tenth year, has sought to bring order to this rapidly shifting landscape.
This year’s research examines the now, near and next of the global technology sector, mapping the trends and innovations destined to drive growth for months and years to come.
Four of our trends are drawn from sectors that are on the cusp of rapid growth, beginning to reshape major consumer markets, and in some cases creating entirely new ones. Artificial Intelligence, a technology that has struggled to find real-world applications since its dawn in the mid-twentieth century, is taking hold across a swathe of mainstream industries. From travel to retail, healthcare to finance, neural networks and machine learning are becoming everyday tools for everyday problems.
The rise of online streaming platforms has redefined the viewing habits of an entire generation. Having learned their lessons from the ubiquity of over-the-top services such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime, millennials are pulling the plug on traditional broadcasting and driving an explosion in user-generated content. While this model of mainstream media is rewritten, an entire industry is being created by the emergence of e-sports. Fuelled by the rise of gaming enthusiasts worldwide and growing interest in paid sponsorship, we expect online gaming spectator sports to become a billion-dollar industry in 2017.
The last of these trends taking hold in the here and now is the rapid increase of content for Virtual and Augmented Reality. Headsets and hardware captured the public imagination in 2016; media and content tailored for these platforms will ensure that both are able to deliver on their early potential in 2017. The borders between the digital and physical world will become increasingly blurred in the year to come.
While some technologies are able to rapidly scale from development through incubation to delivery and widespread adoption, others can experience a longer innovation cycle. These are the sectors that we expect to break through in the near future.
While driverless cars may have captured the attention of investors and innovators, the more troublesome task of gaining the trust of consumers and regulators lies ahead. Proving the reliability and safety of an emerging technology will be challenging and critical to widespread adoption in 2017. Similarly, the promise of a fintech revolution is taking longer to come by than first expected. The scale of the financial services industry is keeping widespread, wholesale transformation at bay.
Wider market trends are critical to evaluating the potential impact of these growth sectors. This year, we have chosen three industry-wide trends that will shape innovation, investment and implementation in years to come. Starting with the convergence of Western and Asian social media platforms, through the consolidation of the global software markets to renewed interest in the IPO markets, these market landscapes will define change in the next year.
Those entrepreneurs ambitious enough to tackle these shifting landscapes head on and break up major consumer markets are capable of creating companies of vast scale. This ambition has witnessed the emergence of the ‘decacorn’ business. Supercell blazed a trail for European entrepreneurs earlier this year, as it broke through the $10 billion valuation – we expect other Internet darlings such as Spotify to follow suit in 2017.
A decade of growth, transformation, and innovation has created a technology sector that is increasingly complex and challenging. Predicting the trends that will shape the sector in the year to come has, therefore, never been harder. However, the scale of change that we are witnessing leaves me with no doubt that the rewards have never been greater.
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