104 West Tech Trends & Predictions for 2017

CES closed out another geeky cool event earlier this month, and from what was seen on the showroom floors in Las Vegas, technology is no longer just the cool new thing. It is pervasive and holds both the promise of improving our lives and the threat of becoming a distraction.

From new “smart” gadgets to initial predictions for the tech industry, the team at 104 West has some thoughts and ideas for what’s coming in 2017:

"I don't have a prediction for technology as much as for the technology industry. Tech companies have traditionally been passive politically, with some exceptions. But just this month, we are witnessing ever-increasing advocacy and activism which companies will have trouble resisting. Employee activists will compel their employers to take stands that have already created some awkwardness. If the current climate continues, that pressure will only increase and tech CEOs will find themselves and their companies under new scrutiny." - Patrick Ward, CEO

"I'm not sure if this is a prediction, but I certainly hope that we see technology play a strong role in improving health care experiences and driving more efficiency into that system, where it is sorely needed. But also, how technology can facilitate business and job growth in our country. Technology that fuels small and medium sized enterprises and enables them to run efficiently, and drive growth in turn becomes a job creator." - Brian Mast, Partner & Managing Director, Client Services

"I am very excited about Amazon's Echo! I just got one for Christmas and I love it. It's great being able to just ask for the weather or a news update. I would not be surprised if this and Google Home become a staple in everyone's household." - Kim Caro, Sr. Account Executive

"I think VR is going to be the world's next smartphone. Bold statement, maybe. But based on the seemingly large number of virtual reality headsets that were unwrapped this holiday season, this "whole new world" could be the next big thing." - Emily Walsh, Account Executive

"It's interesting to see Apple transforming the headphone industry. Goodbye cords and wires!" I also love watching the popularity of VR increase. My parents are even embracing this new technology." - Caitlin Safchik, Account Executive

"AI and machine learning are very intriguing to me. With all the recent advances in these areas I'm curious to see what is possible in the future. I think machine learning will become a basic element incorporated in every new piece of tech and, though I am a bit concerned about security and privacy issues, the idea of a coffee maker that knows when I'm going to wake up is pretty exciting." - Allison Heard, Account Coordinator

“The Employee Experience, from recruiting to retaining, will be a huge focus for forward thinking companies in 2017. Old methodologies will be left behind as companies begin directly engaging with potential and current employees on social media and other platforms. And as a bonus prediction, I think that HR Departments will become stronger business partners as they apply an analytical approach to hiring and decision making. Data can be parceled to determine what hard and soft skills have the highest success rate in a certain job for example. Or what area of the country has a higher density of specific skill set that one might be seeking.” - Joan Wyly, Head of Operations

“My husband is all about the smart home tech, and darn it if he hasn’t gotten me hooked on them too. Our lamps, thermostat, baby monitor, garage door, outdoor lights and smoke detector are now all just a smartphone touch away. I don’t know what’s coming next, but we saw “smart” toilet at a home improvement store the other day, so I’m not sure what more proof you need that the smart home future is looking bright!” - Kelli Flores, Director

“IoT and smart home devices are pretty cool, but what’s bigger and more exciting this year? I’ve got two letters for you: VR. I’m counting down the days until I can attend concerts from my living room and stoked to shop for snowboarding and trail running gear via virtual reality before making a purchase.” - Sarah Thorson, Account Director