From the way companies purchase hardware to the systems that heat and cool our workspaces, enterprise technology is on the move. As we leap headfirst into a new year, it’s anyone’s guess where the largest advances will be made in technology.
1. Hardware as a Service (HaaS)
Most of us are familiar with Software as a Service (Saas), but the new tech trend that has been gaining steam as we approach the new year is Hardware as a Service (HaaS). For the less tech-savvy among us, think about how the recently popularized cellphone leases work.
Instead of paying outright for your smartphone, a lease is signed and the device is utilized with end-to-end support from the company providing service and hardware. When the subscriber reaches the end of their lease, they can either purchase the device or exchange it for an updated model.
HP is one of the companies pioneering the adoption of HaaS in the enterprise space. For corporate IT drones, get ready for your executive team to start leaning on end-to-end support from the manufacturer; generally in the form of three-year hardware leasing with full-support built into the monthly cost of equipment.
2017 could be the year where in-house IT and data analysts get the opportunity to focus solely on the development and deployment of new processes and customer-facing solutions, instead of answering in-house help desk tickets.
2. Green-Powered Technology
If Apple’s Keynote address told us anything, the focus on green, eco-friendly product life cycles is here to stay. Green-powered server farms have long been the focus of organizations like Greenpeace. Initially, this trend only impacted large, in-house server farms, like the ones operated by Apple and Microsoft. However, as we head into a new year, there are an increasing number of green dedicated servers on the market.
Green-powered technology has become a trend in large corporate deployments, consumer, and fleet vehicles and now even the small internet-based business will be getting in on the action. Who knows? Maybe Google will start to push green-powered servers into their ranking algorithms, serving up certified green-powered sites before the sites hosted by evil fossil-fuel powered servers.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Microsoft made headlines by epically failing during the rollout of an AI chat bot named Tay. Within a matter of hours, the chatbot adapted to the vile nature of internet comments and communication by adopting the language and speech patterns of its human counterparts.
While poking fun at Redmond’s favorite son is always a good time, Tay was only the tip of the AI iceberg. Virtually every industry in 2017 will experience innovation powered by Artificial Intelligence. Customer service, with the advances made in servicing client requests via chat, may eliminate the dreaded hold-time for a live, human chat representative. The tablets found on many restaurant tables could be leveraged to service patrons by having their favorite foods and drinks ordered before they even sit down.
Imagine a phone’s NFC chip being utilized to monitor traffic congestion in major cities. Central computers managing traffic could run AI protocols that streamline traffic signal intervals. First responders could be escorted through traffic by traffic signals that predict their presence.
For companies like Amazon, the facilitation of their drone delivery system could rely completely on logistics managed by advances in AI. All of the data signals we create by just going about our daily life are currently being used to power AI and create a smarter world, both at work and at home.
4. Workplace IoT
Speaking of data signals, the way we interact with technology in the office is being directly impacted by advances in residential IoT. The Internet of Things is the term used to explain the home of tomorrow (actually today); virtually every appliance requires a WiFi password, and wearable technology gives our home a pulse.
Senior leadership at Cisco is signaling that the IoT of things is entering the carpeted world (aka the office). Executives are starting to appreciate the benefits of connected thermostats, intelligent lighting and location-based technology designed to facilitate better operations.