By Alicia Young
We’ve seen a lot of exciting new innovations take place over the course of 2016. This year has introduced interesting new uses for virtual reality—like using VR to help burn victims in hospitals mentally escape from the pain during procedures—and even saw the world’s first revolutionary augmented reality game in the form of Pokémon Go. The iPhone 7 was also introduced, leaving millions of people uncertain of their feelings regarding Apple, while Samsung loyalists just prayed that their smartphones would stay in one piece.
Undoubtedly, there have been quite a few ups and downs in technology over the past year. With any luck, 2017 will provide us with even more new innovations and advancements in tech. But what exactly do we have to look forward to? TMC recently caught up with Jordan Edelson, CEO of Appetizer Mobile, to discuss his thoughts on 2016 and his predictions for what’s to come in the future. You can find the entire exchange below.
What’s in store for 2017? Any new products, events or something you’re excited for in the market?
I’m personally excited for CES this year. I think we’ll see many more “smart” devices with a classifiable level of intelligence. Devices that will think on their own and are always connected to the Internet. Devices that are consistently learning and getting smarter. This includes devices that can see and understand the world around us. I’m always interested to see new innovation in wearables and if anyone has gotten it “right” yet (form vs function). I’m also interested for 2017 in seeing the next phase in virtual reality with better, cheaper and un-tethered hardware. Also, looking for how augmented reality / mixed reality makes its way into businesses in 2017.
Are there any upcoming challenges you predict your company or the market will have to face in 2017?
Yes, 2017 will be the year that companies discover that they have a big data problem and will turn to developers to craft AI-based solutions to manage the increasing data overload. There’s essentially an infinite amount of data that can and will be data mined in almost any industry resulting in a surge in the need to process that data. Companies will realize settling on only analyzing a small percentage of this data is not enough and they will lose their competitive edge to other companies that are more aggressive in data analysis capturing and analysis. My company, Appetizer Mobile, in particular is tasked with understanding the changing needs of our clients and how best to embrace new technologies. Convincing clients that they need to consider big data management and possible AI-derived solutions is a challenge, but something we need our clients to start thinking about now.
What do you think it will take for the tech industry to really take off in 2017?
I think once the tech industry realizes it has a big data problem it will much more aggressively build solutions to both comprehend that data and support it. Once more solutions are built to support data growth scaling and analysis, you’ll see vastly smarter systems using AI hit the marketing. You’ll see a natural evolution across many industries. The year of 2017 will be an awakening year followed by smarter services in the future. Platforms will be built on top of our discoveries in 2017 that will lead to much larger changes in society and how we live our lives (i.e. autonomous cars).
If you had to make one bold prediction for 2017, what would it be?
By the end of 2017 we’ll be able to predict the next five years with much more accuracy thanks to the help of AI. We will also discover and acknowledge that AI systems are our future, are smarter than humans, and ultimately represent our future.
Looking back at 2016, what are some highlights from the year for your company?
One of our in-house app projects called Chic Sketch, has taken off for us. It allows a customer to upload an image of themselves and within minutes get a fashion sketch back from a real fashion illustrator all for under $10. Chic Sketch has partnered with more than 50 major fashion and big brand retailers for live onsite activations, with our team of illustrators sketching digitally. The property represents the convergence of fashion, technology, and art all combined into one. It re-invents a classic art form and disrupts the world of commissioned art / selfies. The website is www.chicsketch.com and the app, “Chic Sketch,” is available for download on the Apple App and Google Play Stores.
Were there any obstacles or challenges your company or the market as a whole faced in 2016?
The market of mobile apps is maturing and getting smarter. Companies are realizing they need to stay competitive with their apps and update any aging code/infrastructure. We’ve seen a number of frameworks disappear forcing clients to update their apps early (i.e. Parse). Companies are still split on IT security, even within their apps. To spite the constant news blasts about companies getting hacked, the majority of companies don’t think it can happen to them and are reluctant to make the investments needed into security. This problem, unfortunately, will continue with the surge of IoT and lax BOYD policies.
Can you talk about some of the top tech trends and innovations from this past year?
Virtual reality, primitive uses of Augmented Reality (i.e. Pokémon Go), OLED cell phone, and notebook screens were all big parts of 2016. Amazon Echo and Mesh Wi-Fi Routers are among the top technology from 2016.
How do you think the industry improved this year? Were there any technologies that were introduced / became popular that you’re particularly excited about?
Virtual reality as a platform has improved. It’s still early and consumer adoption is still relatively low, but as the technology becomes more refined in the next few years, it represents a very exciting future. VR illustrating that it can be more than just a system for video games is what excites me personally. Virtual collaboration and experiences that enhance the standard way of doing things, makes me think about what’s to come.