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4 Top Disruptive Technology Trends for 2017

Facebook recently announced it will soon become an augmented reality platform by deploying artificial intelligence (AI) on user smartphones. This new technology will enable users to use their smartphone cameras to layer digital effects atop images and videos, including live videos. Achieving this will require Facebook’s app to run AI over user smartphones.

Facebook’s announcement illustrates two of the top disruptive trends that are having a major impact this year: augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Here’s a look at four other top disruptive technology trends emerging in 2017.

Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things

Cloud computing has been a disruptive force for the last few years, and this year is no exception. But what’s different in 2017 is that cloud computing has become inseparable from the Internet of Things. Everything from phones to watches to TVs to homes to cars are now connected to the cloud. In business, smart devices are collecting data throughout factories and offices in order to help streamline operational efficiency. All of this involves an enormous amount of data, requiring companies to turn the cloud for processing and storage solutions. One solution that is emerging is a variety of hybrid cloud deployment known as fog computing, which processes data on the edges of the cloud so that it remains close to user endpoints, allowing for faster processing.

One industry that is being transformed by these trends is healthcare. Healthcare providers must handle huge volumes of data to meet HIPAA compliance requirements for protecting patient records. The healthcare industry has lagged behind other industries in moving to the cloud, but that is changing as healthcare increasingly pursues rapid cloud migration. For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services increased its cloud adoption rate from 1 percent to 18.5 percent in 2016, and hopes to reach 30 percent by the end of 2017.


The healthcare industry’s move to the cloud is also being driven by demand for telemedicine. Wearable devices enable healthcare providers to monitor patients remotely, administer medicine and direct surgery from remote locations. Telemedicine has become an increasingly viable means to deliver healthcare to patients in areas that have traditionally had limited access to providers, such as rural locations and inner cities. Telemedicine is also proving useful for assisting patients in non-hospital settings.

European startup Ada is one firm looking to capitalize on these trends. Ada offers users an AI-powered virtual doctor app they can use to discuss their symptoms with their smartphone and determine whether or not they need to see a human doctor. The firm’s founders hope that this type of technology will help reduce the workload on hospitals and improve the quality of healthcare.

3-D Printing

3-D printing has been disrupting manufacturing for several years, and is poised to begin exerting an exponential impact. 3-D printing processes and materials enable products to be produced cheaper and faster than traditional methods allow, lowering the costs of prototyping and production. The increasing number of 3-D printing providers now makes it easy to outsource prototyping and production services instead of making expensive in-house investments. For instance, o-ring supplier Apple Rubber custom designs seals for aircraft and auto engines out of heat-resistant materials such as fluorocarbon, helping lower development and production costs.

Startup Apis Cor demonstrated the disruptive potential of 3-D printing dramatically last year by producing the first 3-D-printed house in less than a day for about $10,000. The 3-D printing market will be worth $5.2 billion by 2020, On 3-D Printing projects.

Electric and Driverless Cars

Electric car demand continues to increase despite lower gas prices, a AAA survey found. Falling battery prices are helping drive demand, with industry experts predicting that the market share of cars with electric motors will explode from 1 percent to 10 percent over the next few years, Gas 2 says.

Meanwhile, competition is heating up in the driverless car market. This month Chinese search engine giant Baidu announced that it is open sourcing its driverless car technology, a move to challenge Google and Tesla. Cities such as Sacramento and Portland are already opening their streets up to tests of driverless vehicles.