DMA chief Aldighieri’s top predictions for 2017

rachelNext year will be a test of many things, but primarily what Brexit actually means. There will be the outcome of the Supreme Court inquiry and flavour added to the government’s plans. And more obstacles I’m sure. For all these reasons, it seems likely that leaving the EU in 2018 is a rather optimistic timeline, but we’ll know about how this story evolves throughout 2017.
As the GDPR creeps closer and closer during 2017, businesses will test their preparedness and adapt to the new legislation. In tandem, new ways to use data will emerge. Algorithms increasingly govern the way marketers spend their money, but sometimes the algorithms are too rigid. Machine learning allows algorithms to adapt. We’ve also seen simple AI examples like @happyrobot_v1 or the ill-fated @tayandyou on Twitter.
These concepts are far from perfect now but are evolving and improving all the time and we’ll see higher profile examples of machine learning and AI launch in 2017.
Such approaches are particularly popular with younger people, who will drive uptake. For example, according to our Customer Engagement research almost half (48%) of consumers were interested in AI approaches to customer contact. Facebook has already staked its money on AI ‘chatbots’, and similar approaches are bound to proliferate.
More than half (54%) of younger people, including so-called ‘Millennials’ were interested in services that could sense how they were feeling and send them surprise offers or deals based on their mood.
AI assistants could help you choose your clothes based on what you have already bought, but by interacting with customers they will be constantly learning. Such approaches could be introduced into many more markets, and are not going to be available years in the future, but are under development now.
Often mentioned in the same breath as AI, VR will become far more widespread in 2017. Headsets have tumbled in price, and sets from the major manufacturers like Facebook’s Oculus Rift to Sony’s PlayStation VR will feature strongly under Christmas trees in 2016.
Reviewers have been often flabbergasted by the products but we’ll know how these sets fare with the public early in the New Year. Then we wait to see the real impact of this technology on the rest of the world and where the manufacturers will take technology next at CES in January.
2017 will be many things, but it will be far from boring.

Rachel Aldighieri is managing director of the DMA

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