Today, technology is regarded as a great enabler, and there is no dearth of technology solutions to help businesses work faster, perform better, and pursue possibilities that may have been deemed unrealistic twenty years ago. Seems like there is always something new in the offing, requiring businesses to stay agile and adopt solutions that can generate significant value. Here is a look at the key technologies shaping businesses in 2017.

1. Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT has changed the way we live, from allowing us to track our health with wearable fitness trackers to controlling household devices and creating smart homes. Its potential for manufacturing has spawned the fourth industrial revolution, which is affecting everything from the automobile to the food and beverages industry. Organizations are now employing sensors more strategically to collect the right data that they can put to use for solving problems and discovering new opportunities.

2. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

Augmented reality is increasingly being employed in industrial environments, such as in the mining industry where workers are using real-time information to boost operational excellence, and in warehouses where AR applications are helping workers locate and sort packages with greater efficiency. The most notable example of AR is Pokémon Go, which has attracted over 100 million downloads.
Virtual reality is also being used in the automotive, healthcare, retail, architecture, aerospace and tourism industries. VR’s realistic elements are helping engineers examine how an automobile can look and function without having to build multiple models, and replicate road environments for safety trials. Interactive technology is allowing guests to experience 360 degree virtual tours of hotels and resorts prior to booking.

3. Decision management

Businesses are increasingly relying on decision making technology to aid better decision-making. Decision-making engines incorporate logic and rules into artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and represent a mature application of AI for use across a variety of business applications. They can either perform or assist with automated decision-making.

4. Machine learning

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows software applications to predict outcomes more accurately without being explicitly programmed. Its application can be seen in a number of business areas, from personalizing customer service, hiring the right people and measuring brand exposure to fraud detection, improving customer loyalty and enabling smoother supply chain operations.

5. Biometrics

Enabling natural interactions between humans and machines, biometrics has a number of applications. Common among them is security in a number of industries, notably banking, financial and healthcare. It is also being leveraged for market research such as understanding website usability. Companies are creating complete biometric profiles for employees to track time, training and usage of company information. Biometric time clocks are also countering buddy punching and assisting with time loss prevention goals.