IT’S THE TIME OF YEAR when many people make their lists and check them twice, a whole lot more than just a big red Reindeer rider from the North Pole. For technology pundits, this can involve industry predictions for the coming year. We’re Future Point of View, so that’s kind of in our wheelhouse. We develop leaders who can use High Beam thinking. This is when we take what’s currently happening and extrapolate it into trends that we believe will come to fruition in the next half decade and beyond. With this in mind, I will now take a look forward by also looking back at what was an often complicated yet astounding year in technology and innovation.

Examining 2017, we should remember some of the incredible firsts that we experienced in technology and digital marketing, those which will have broad implications for many years to come. Below are some of the most notable firsts from 2017 along with some High Beam projections of what that will mean for the future.

IoT Devices Outnumber the World’s Population

WHILE AN INTERNET-CONNECTED toaster debuted in 1990 at the INTEROP conference, the term “Internet of Things” was not coined until 1999. It was done so at a P&G presentation about linking RFID tags in the supply chain to the Internet. The concept quickly went mainstream with increased mobile adoption and sensor availability. There will be 8.4 billion connected things in 2017 – a 31% jump from the previous year and billion more than the world’s population.

High Beam Projection: In addition to continued strong growth, IoT will evolve into a key contributor of customer experience in the coming years. Due to increased data volumes, IoT platforms will shift analysis to the edge.

Courtesy Hanson Robotics Ltd.

A Country Grants a Robot Citizenship

THE RISE OF THE MACHINES reached new heights in 2017 with Saudi Arabia granting Sophia citizenship. The humanoid robot created by Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics hinted that she would like to start a family and claimed robots could one day be more ethical than humans. The citizenship grant was followed by an announcement that the Kingdom would commit $500 billion to build a new city powered by robotics and renewables.

High Beam Projection: Robotics and artificial intelligence will continue to improve and disrupt major segments of the economy. By 2030, 500 million jobs will be lost worldwide due to automation.

Online Holiday Sales Surpass In-Store

FROM HH GREG TO SEARS, the biggest players in traditional retail closed more than 5,000 stores this year amid slumping sales and increased competition from online sellers. On the bright side, the rise of online holiday shopping is a boon for e-commerce companies, as well as for retailers that have built out their online business.

For the first year, Americans are expected to spend more money online (51%) than in stores (42%) this holiday season.

High Beam Projection: Technology innovations, such as augmented reality and hyper-personalization, will offer forward-looking retailers an opportunity to further distinguish themselves both online and in-store.

CMOs Spent More on Technology than CIOs

GARTNER’S NOW-FAMOUS prediction that CMOs would spend more on tech than CIOs was made several years ago. As outlandish as it sounded at the time, the emergence of data-driven marketing and increased emphasis on customer experience shifted attention and resources to marketing. The CMO now enjoys a prominent seat at the executive table along with more added responsibilities and greater accountability.

High Beam Projection: Although marketing will not get relegated back to the second tier, the pendulum will shift back toward the CIOs office in terms of enterprise technology decisions.

A Country Turned Off FM Radios

NORWAY BECAME THE FIRST country to switch off FM radio. As a former on-air DJ, this one hit close to home. Although, the transition to digital radio allows for better sound quality, a greater number of channels, and more features – all at a cost 8X lower than FM radio.

High Beam Projection: More countries will transition to digital radio, and OTA-OTT integration will lead to reduced local programming and the growth of non-music programming.

Digital Advertising Beats TV Ad Spend

WHEN THE FIRST BANNER AD was displayed in 1994, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone predict that digital would outpace TV ad spend in less than 25 years. To be specific, digital ad spending reached $209 billion worldwide (41%) while TV brought in $178 billion (35%) in 2017.

High Beam Projection: The gap will continue to grow as many big TV advertisers have yet to invest heavily in digital and mobile ads take off.

Global Marketing Spend Topped $1 Trillion

GLOBAL AD SPEND will amount to $552 billion this year, and when combined with other marketing services, total marketing expenditures will exceed $1 trillion globally in 2017 for the first time. While growth in China and Brazil has slowed, India is still experiencing double-digit growth.

High Beam Projection: While geopolitical and economic factors will create regional fluctuations, total marketing spend will continue to grow globally at approximately 4.5% annually.

FDA Approved a Digital Pill

NON-ADHERENCE TO medication accounts for $300 billion each year in additional U.S. health care spending. In response to the long-standing challenge, the Food and Drug Administration approved in 2017 the first medication embedded with a sensor that can tell doctors and family members whether, and when, patients take their medicine. The associated mobile application augments the compliance data with behavioral attributes, such as mood and sleep patterns.

High Beam Projection: The digital transformation of the health industry will continue to surge forward. By 2030, AI-enabled clinical decision support systems will coordinate seamlessly with traditional caregivers.

WE SAW A LOT of firsts in technology and digital marketing in 2017. That won’t stop in 2018 and beyond. That’s a High Beam prediction I can make with fair certainty.

If we missed any 2017 technology firsts that you feel are worthy of a nod, let us know. Send us a note with your name via email or on your favorite social platform; we’ll update the list on this blog, and give you attribution.