To 2017 innovation, and beyond

December is an interesting time of year. For many it’s a chance to celebrate, let your hair down, plan a holiday, spend time with loved ones, and hopefully, relax. It’s also a time of inflection as we look back at the year that was, and ahead to the year approaching.

Each year industry analyst firm Gartner publishes a list of top strategic predictions for the years ahead, and I thought their analysis for 2017 and beyond was particularly interesting.

The digital constant

To start, they note that “digital disruption has moved from an infrequent inconvenience to a consistent stream of change that is redefining markets and entire industries.” This has been supported by huge increases in devices and robots entering mainstream markets, with the acceleration expected to continue. With this rate of change though, many companies risk not being able to keep up, or predict and manage the digital changes as they arise. For example, Gartner estimates that by 2020, “half of large enterprises will be making business-critical decisions using discredited information.”

Of course, there is also a positive side to this change; for example Gartner estimates that
by 2022 Internet of Things (IoT) enabled service models could save a trillion dollars a year in maintenance and service costs.

Robotic relationships

The company also believes that in 3 years’ time the average person will be having more conversations with bots than their spouse – an indication of just how fast this digital change is going to sweep through our lives.

Gartner also predicts that business innovation will create extraordinary change from mundane concepts, and that secondary effects will be more disruptive than the initial digital change. They note that “as we see an increase in disruptions, we will see a corresponding increase on secondary effects…Using more digital capabilities will increase the need to maintain those capabilities. Wearing fitness tracking devices will lead to better health and perhaps even lower health costs. All these changes lead to secondary effects and even tertiary effects which will add up to more critical change than the primary disruption.”

Immerse yourself

Consumer engagement is also predicted to receive a shake-up with immersive technologies such as augmented reality (AR) predicted to increase user engagement with a product or service by enabling a consumer to fully explore features and conveying additional information that can aid in a buying decision. Gartner predicts that “this will drive immersive interfaces, including both augmented and virtual reality, to become the standard customer experience paradigm for scenarios requiring human-to-machine interactions.”

To deal with this, retailers and brand marketers are deploying AR applications to enhance the shopping experience, such as allowing a customer to virtually try a product or employing location-based intelligence to bring items of interest to the customer's attention at the right time and place. “Some brands will experiment with transactions in AR-based environments, but for the most part, AR will serve to supplement rather than substitute existing physical and digital channels.”

Our review

Looking at these predictions, it’s easy to feel either excited, nervous, sceptical, perhaps confused. Whilst nothing is for certain, what we do know is that the digital world isn’t going anywhere, and it does present some exciting opportunities for those that are willing to embrace it.

For us, 2016 has been a fantastic year. It’s the year we refocused, reinvested and reimagined who we are as a company, how we can delight our customers and stand out from the crowd. Looking ahead, 2017 seems even brighter. The discussions we’ve had with companies, advisors and shareholders indicate they want more than they’ve been getting, and the registry industry is ripe for change. And when you’ve got higher expectations, innovative technology and a different mindset, there is no limit to what can be achieved…So bring on the new year!

Marcelo Dantas, Chief Technology Officer, Automic