As the fourth quarter of 2017 begins, most companies are busy with year-end preparations and strategic planning for the next fiscal year. With the focus shifting to future operations, it's easy to forget some of the buzz and excitement from the year before. Toward the end of 2016, a lot of people were making predictions about what sort of tech would be hot in 2017. Here's a look at some of the most popular predictions and their ultimate outcome.

Snap

Snap was a hot topic for 2017, but nine months later, its outlook isn't so good. After a strong IPO that saw the stock trading at $27, prices have fallen nearly 45 percent, and the stock hasn't met its initial price of $17 since July 10. Investors are beginning to dump shares, even though Snap is continuing to release new updates. Since the majority of predictions said that Snap would be amassing market value this year, the outcome of this prediction is false.

The Reality of Augmented Reality

With the popularity of Pokemon Go in 2016, it seemed obvious that other companies would jump onboard the augmented reality bandwagon. Rumors of the new iPhone 8 incorporating an AR-friendly platform were strong across the board. To date, however, nothing has come close to Pokemon's success. Larger corporations such as home improvement stores are utilizing the technology to help visualize renovations, but it has yet to catch on in major mobile gaming. While Apple didn't have much to say about it during its iPhone reveal event, recent iOS software updates and AR dev kits have demonstrated its interest in developing the tech. Also, the social company Snap has invested a lot of resources into developing AR. Although the application of this tech has been limited, the usage is widespread and they're rolling out new features all the time. AR is coming in a big way, but not until 2018, so this prediction is false.

Hackers Getting Smarter

It's almost a guarantee that some company's information is going to be hacked; it's more of a question of which company. So when Time predicted that hackers were going to get smarter in 2017, it seemed like an easy pitch. However, the unprecedented size of the recently announced Equifax breach has confirmed suspicions. In addition, daily revelations about foreign influences attacking voting institutions through cyber channels continues to expand public awareness of the sheer size of these massive breaches -- nearly every major social network was subject to these influences. Although the prediction of another major IoT attack has yet to come to fruition, in general, this 2017 forecast is true.

Digital Twins

Digital twins have been around for a few years, but without a reliable means of instant data, they weren't very helpful. As the internet of things (IoT) grows to reach even large-scale industrial usage, digital twins are becoming the standard for product design and testing. The engines of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet are monitored by GE using this technology. With data from actual flight, the digital twin can simulate and predict potential failures up to a month in advance. A digital twin is simply a complete digital replica of a physical item, service or process that can be virtually tested for data aggregation purposes. Once reserved for institutions like NASA, digital twins are quickly becoming a business imperative, so this prediction for 2017 is true.

Blockchain

This term has been thrown around for a while, but most people only know it's associated with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. The technology that allows instant backtracking of anything from money to food is sure to be helpful in the future but has yet to catch on with any major consumer application. Larger corporations are exploring various uses, but determining what will best be served by blockchain is still being tested. The success of bitcoin has prompted a rush of investment and development in the tech world, but the total value of all bitcoin is just around 90 billion -- a drop in the bucket of the 5 trillion dollar market value that cryptocurrencies are predicted to hold by 2022. We're still in the early days of this tech so this prediction is false for now, but mainstream disruption is rapidly approaching.

Things are always clearer in hindsight, and 2017 has had plenty of surprises in the tech world. While it's not always possible to predict accurately, identifying microtrends for forecasting is an excellent way to stay ahead of the competition. The year 2018 is certain to bring more twists and turns along the way.

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Avi Savar is CEO and Managing Partner of Dreamit, a top venture accelerator and early stage investment fund. He is the author of Content to Commerce and consults globally on trends in digital media, disruptive technologies and corporate innovation. He has been featured on Fox News, Forbes, Mashable, Business Insider, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, the New York Times and is a contributing editor for Inc.

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Published on: Oct 31, 2017