With 2017 now a reality, we reflect on what made 2016 a particularly exciting time for technology and innovation.

 


According to the International Data Corporation, 50% of consumers will interact with AI-based services by 2018. In 2016, announcements about contactless emotion recognition and face recognition highlighted what is on the horizon.

 


By 2020, there will be 50 billion smart devices globally. It’s not just about the proliferating amount of data, but being able to harness it to make smarter decisions for your business.

 

While the technology is still immature, blockchain went beyond the financial industry in 2016. Blockchain technologies, which allow secure payments and transactions without the need for intermediaries, could rewrite finance rules.

 


There was a huge jump in fintech investments from 2010 to 2016. Millennials are spurring changes in financial technology, such as banking on the go and using automated robo-advisors.

 

The IoT is technology that makes your physical product mobile and virtual, and gives it instant connectivity. In 2016, we found several IoT devices for your home costing less than $200. Connected devices are being harnessed not only to make homes more secure and tasks more efficient, but also to improve health.

 


While 2016 saw an increase in ransomware and other security issues, the breaches are prompting more proactive measures, such as moving beyond passwords toward advanced authentication.

 


In 2016, tech giants such as Google, Sony, Samsung and Facebook made VR mainstream. Industries using VR include gaming, healthcare, education, travel, space travel, student driving, journalism, real estate and sports.

 


AR adds virtual elements on top of your real world, and MR combines the best features of VR and AR. In 2016, experts debated the merits and trajectories of VR versus AR.

 


In 2016, Facebook and Google led efforts to develop more accurate voice recognition. We can speak 150 words per minute but type only 40, and voice interfaces can learn key context about us to improve results.

 


In 2016, more wearable devices became available for under $50. No longer just the domain of Apple Watch and FitBit, more products have entered the market and they continue to become more useful. Wearable devices can even save lives.

 
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