2017: Must-Watch Trends in Web Development

Ashish Toshniwal, CEO, Y Media Labs
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Ashish Toshniwal, CEO, Y Media Labs

Ashish Toshniwal, CEO, Y Media Labs

2017 will be a stabilization year. We have seen a lot of new technologies emerging recently that need to mature before we can really talk about a new wave of innovation. Some of the things the tech community is excited about include fintech, virtual reality, the internet of things (IoT), enhanced personalized digital experiences (especially in retail), social commerce and big data. None of these innovations have reached their true potential yet, and there’s big money invested in each of these categories. That’s why we think next year will be all about building a strong foundation in each vertical, followed by services and products that can legitimize them and nourish new ideas.

 A few thoughts on some of these verticals:

Fintech

Everyone agrees that the method in which bank and financial institutions operate today is antiquated. Banks themselves are investing significant time, resources and effort into bringing their products into the 21st century. Except for Capital One and American Express, the rest of the traditional banks still have a long way to go. One of the biggest challenges that need a resolution next year is the ability to innovate against tight government regulations and fraud policies. Another one is creating the platform that could bring together, in one interface, all the different financial products a company has to offer: a single sign-on system. For emerging fintech companies, the question is around translating complex financial terms, practices and strategies into simple-to-use and easy-to-follow instructions. We are still not in a position where customers can really understand the complexity that comes with managing their financial lives.

  ​We have seen a lot of new technologies emerging recently that need to mature before we can really talk about a new wave of innovation   

Retail & Personalization

Many reports claim that customers are willing to provide personal information about themselves, provided they can understand how that will benefit them in relation to a one retailer or another. This is great news, because personalizing a shopping experience requires access to data points about a customer’s behavior. At the same time, however, from a technological point of view we are still struggling to create meaningful recommendations for our clients. In 2017, retailers will continue to struggle with–and maybe succeed in–not just collecting data points but also building algorithms and feedback mechanisms that would in turn allow for the creation of amazing personalized experiences. And this is not just a retail issue–it’s a global issue. How big data can be collected and perhaps even shared across companies to produce the best possible experience, against a constant wave of privacy concerns, will be a huge (yet relevant) issue to deal with next year.

Internet of Things

This remains a very exciting field to be in, both technologically and from a business point of view. With more and more companies offering 1GB download speeds, connecting more and more devices to the wireless router becomes less of a problem. This is great, because it means customers will buy more IoT products. We are moving towards an  IoT world, and the question becomes, are we ready to get there? The simple answer is, not yet! We are still deficient in one major area: we still don’t have one technology platform that can support all IoT devices. Apple Home, Samsung’s Artik and Works with Nest are some examples of companies trying to fix this problem. Yet this remains one of the biggest customer pain points. For now, we continue to have many different applications for many different IoT products. ITTT protocols are still incredibly difficult to configure from an end user’s point of view. Next year, no doubt, big giants (Google/Apple/Samsung) will continue to look for solutions to these problems. Should they succeed, the internet of things will really move closer to the internet of everything.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

VR and AR is something everyone is excited about, but they’re not yet investing enough. It’s the chicken and the egg paradox. The technology is young, and companies don’t want to invest in it because, outside of the enthusiastic gaming community, VR devices are not that common. This year, many companies have passed on VR projects, but this is something that will change dramatically in the near future. Pokémon GO this year has earned money at a scale no one in the mobile world would have ever dreamed of. This, of course, is starting to open executives’ minds to the amazing opportunities VR has to offer. NextVR and Live Nation have already struck a deal to broadcast concerts live via VR headsets. StubHub is experimenting with VR technologies to allow prospective buyers to actually “see” from the seat they are booking. Various companies are investing in the necessary technology to experience an apartment via the VR set before deciding if you want to buy or rent it. Slowly but surely, in the next year we will see more and more companies find creative ways to allow customers to look and “feel” their products and services from the comfort of their living room. There’s big money to be made here. We guarantee it.

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