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2017 tech developments and 2018 tech predictions

Electric vehicles, data lakes and interoperability: we asked our network of CEOs, CTOs, industrial partners and tech business partners what tech successes caught their eye in 2017, what failed to deliver and who or what to watch out for in 2018.

2017 – Biggest Successes

Microsoft

Bill McCall, Industrial Partner, Lyceum Capital “Can anyone name the current Microsoft CEO? He is behind a remarkable uptick in fortunes. He’s less visible than the previous ones and yet extremely successful.”

Data Lakes

George Kallarackal, CTO, Style Research “In 2017 we saw the launch of cloud-based services such as Athena from Amazon and Data Lake from Microsoft that give anyone the ability to create a data lake. Expect more organisations to review their existing inflexible data architectures and dive into their own data lake!”

Electric Vehicles

David England, Industrial Partner, Lyceum Capital “The onward march of the electric car. It’s good to see the UK government supporting it.”

Jim Sumner, Executive Chairman, Isotrak “Tesla and Mercedes launching electric HGVs.”

Atos

Joe Edwards, Non-executive Director, Timico “Over the last eight years Thierry Breton has transformed French digital services company Atos through a series of ‘smart’ acquisitions and the spinout of Worldline, its payments business. This is a truly remarkable story, which has largely gone unnoticed as it’s not as sexy as an Amazon, Apple or Uber.”

2017 – Biggest Disappointments

Uber

Guy Bunker, Senior Vice President, Products and Marketing, Clearswift “The Uber story was most disappointing in that they tried to cover up the data breach and hoped no one would find out. The Internet never forgets and sooner or later you’ll be found out. When that happens the repercussions will be worse than if you had owned up in the first place.”

Alexa

Stuart Dorman, Chief Innovation Officer, Sabio “Having invested in an Amazon Echo (Alexa) expecting it to control my home, improve my productivity and manage my life, I’ve found that I don’t really use it that much! It’s not that it doesn’t work; the technology is fabulous. It’s just missing that killer use case.”

Interoperability

Jim Darragh, CEO, Totalmobile “The way provision of open APIs is hindering advancement is a real worry – organisations cannot take advantage of the newest and greatest technologies if legacy systems won’t integrate, which causes a huge leakage of efficiency for many organisations.”

Apple

Ben Marnham, CEO, Timico “Everything Apple. I’m an Apple fan. But let’s put aside the technology innovation (or lack of) with their newer launches and sigh at the sloppy quality control of their software releases. I used to eagerly await downloading of the newest iOS or WatchOS release to see the new features, but no more.”

2018 Break Out Stars

Renewable energy storage

Phil Rouse, Co-founder and CEO, Wireless Innovation “Elon Musk’s renewable energy storage technology. It has the ability to be a game changer for the renewable energy market across the world.”

B2C messaging

Stuart Dorman, Chief Innovation Officer, Sabio “I’m convinced that 2018 will be the year of messaging for business-to-consumer communication. Use of messaging services is exploding with most of us using apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Apple iMessage several times a day.

“The big Silicon Valley providers of these services are now turning their sights to customer service. They all launched business-friendly features at the end of 2017 and are vying for the attention of consumers by making it easy to engage with businesses, transact and make payments through their familiar interfaces.”

Darktrace and Revolut

Martin Leuw, Industrial Partner, Lyceum Capital “Darktrace in cyber security and Revolut is revolutionising money transfer and banking.”

AI

George Kallarackal, CTO, Style Research “There is no doubt that artificial intelligence is a disruptive technology that will affect many industries. Google Home and driverless cars are manifestations of the progress that AI has made, combined with machine learning and Big Data. There is an insatiable hunger to find more problems to solve.”

Jon Richards, Senior Non-Executive Director, Sabio “AI is everywhere and is becoming embedded in our day to day lives.”

2018 Non-starters

IBM

Joe Edwards, non-executive director, Timico IBM is flat, flat, flat. Where is it going? How can it transform itself? Like Hewlett Packard these big ‘legacy’ companies are finding it difficult to reinvent themselves.”

NarrowBand IoT

Phil Rouse, Co-founder and CEO, Wireless Innovation “After a lot of hype, this won’t take off until 2019 at least, despite operator promises.”

Wearable tech

Jon Richards, Senior Non-Executive Director, Sabio “Immersive wearable technology and virtual reality headsets will fail to take off.”

AI behavioural analytics

Guy Bunker, Senior Vice President, Products and Marketing, Clearswift “Artificial Intelligence and its application with behavioural analysis and the like is hyped up every year and every year it never quite makes the grade. I expect 2018 to be the same. But one day its time will come!”