The year 2016 is running its final lap. The end-of the-year stocktaking and prognosis making for what lies in store in the New Year are all part of exercises individuals, corporations, governments and others resort to in order to improve upon their past performances. Investors are no exception.
The Appeal Of Tech
Among the investment options available, technology is one big hit among investors, given the high returns and growth prospects involved. In the modern world, technology has become sine-qua-non. The Modern Man would be at a loss imagining a world without the Googles (parent company, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL)), Netflixes (Netflix, Inc. (NASDAAQ: NFLX)) and Amazons (Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN)).
Beyond these huge market-cap tech names, there are several un(der) explored tech sub-sectors that offer attractive investment opportunities. To identify opportunities, one needs to have a grasp of the hot trends. Here is a list of 10 strategic technology trends for the unfolding year that market-research firm Gartner outlined.
Gartner's 10 Tech Trends
According to Gartner, the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2017 are be based on three themes — namely: intelligent, digital and mesh — which are just beginning to make waves and possess substantial disruptive potential across industries.
Counting the trends down:
10. Adaptive Security Architecture
Given the challenges the IoT (Internet of Things) environment offers to security, security teams need to work with application, solution and enterprise architects early in the design of applications or IoT solutions.
9. Digital Technology Platforms
Digital Technology Platforms is a term for multimedia platforms that performs various business functions.
To stay competitive, companies are required to identify how industry platforms will evolve and plan ways to evolve their platforms to meet the challenges of digital business.
Usually businesses have a mixed of five digital technology platforms, including: Information Systems, customer experience, analytics & intelligence, the IoT and business ecosystems.
8. Mesh App and Service Architecture, or MASA
Mesh is a new way of organizing, planning and communicating with peers for any kind of group activity, big or small, with the mesh providing for combining the functionality of several apps into one concise app.
The MASA is a multi-channel solution architecture that leverages cloud and server-less computing, containers and microservices as well as APIs and events to deliver modular, flexible and dynamic solutions.
7. Conversational Systems
Conversational systems that allow computers to hear and adopt to a person's desired outcome use text, voice, sight, sound, tactile, etc. to communicate across the digital device mesh such as sensors, appliances, IoT systems, etc.
Blockchain is a distributed ledger in which value exchange transactions in bitcoin, etc. are sequentially grouped into blocks.
It holds promise in industries like music distribution, identity verification and title registry.
Blockchain adds trust to untrusted environments and reduce business frictions by giving transparent access to information in the chain.
5. Digital Twins
Digital Twins is a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system.
It can be used to analyze and simulate real world conditions, respond to changes, improve operations and add value using data on how the components of a thing operate and respond to the environment and data provided by sensors.
It can be used as a proxy for skilled individuals and traditional monitoring devices.
4. Virtual & Augmented Reality
VR&AR as they are called in short are set to transform the way individuals interact with each other and with software systems by immersing the user.
VR helps to create a virtual world that users can interact with, with users finding it difficult to differentiate what is real and what is virtual.
AR is blending VR and real life as developers create images within applications that blend in with contents in the real world.
3. Intelligent Things
New intelligent things currently belong in the three categories: robots, drones and autonomous vehicles.
Companies working on these include:
Ambarella Inc (NASDAQ: AMBA).
GoPro Inc (NASDAQ: GPRO).
InvenSense Inc (NYSE: INVN).
IXYS Corporation (NASDAQ: IXYS).
Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT).
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC).
Elon Musk's SpaceX.
And others ...
2. Intelligent Apps
Intelligent apps include technologies like virtual personal assistants (VPAs), which have the potential to transform the workplace by making everyday tasks easier and its users more effective.
Additionally, every existing software category from security tooling to enterprise applications such as marketing or ERP will be infused with AI-enabled capabilities.
By 2018, Gartner expects most of the world's largest 200 companies to exploit intelligent apps.
1. Artificial Intelligence & Advanced Machine Learning
This includes technologies such as deep learning, neural networks and natural-language processing, as well as more advanced systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt and potentially operate autonomously.
The one who has data and information is the King. With Gartner's research arming the public with data and information, it is time to make some informed and astute investment decisions heading into 2017.
Year-to-date, Technology SPDR (ETF) (NYSE: XLK) is up 7.8 percent.
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