2016 was a huge year for bots, with major platforms like Facebook launching bots for Messenger, and Amazon and Google heavily pushing their digital assistants. Looking forward to 2017, we asked 21 bot experts, entrepreneurs, and executives to share their predictions for how bots will continue to evolve in the coming year.

1. Andy Mauro, CEO, Automat

“In 2017, brands will realize that conversational marketing is a better way to learn about and build relationships with their customer than today’s digital marketing, which monitors their customers with cookies, pixels, search, and social data. We’ll also see powerful case study data showing that opt-in and conversion rates and the quality of profile information that can be obtained conversationally far outweighs the benefits of email marketing, marketing automation, and apps.”

2. Tania McCormack, director of product management, Flowdock

“Bots will be even more helpful, more intuitive, and most of all, more human. In Flowdock, we aim to have our users interact with bots like we do the people around us to get the information and updates we need. Best of all, bots will continue to keep work fun and to make us laugh.”

3. David Mendlewicz, cofounder, Butterfly

“We’re going to see more and more instances of bots helping us develop and grow as humans. To date, bots are primarily seen as a novel utility — a way to get things done more quickly or grasp information more immediately. Moving forward, the machine genius of bots will help understand our learning gaps and fill them in with relevant, personalized information that’s rooted in real data. In other words, bots will be a boon for education.”

4. Ben Parr, CMO and cofounder, Octane AI

“There will be an explosion of unique content and experiences from bots as the barrier to creating and managing them drops. This will lead to some breakout bots. Some people will be famous primarily for their bots.”

5. Justin Vandehey, founder, Growbot

“In 2017, I think we’re going to see bots grow up a bit, both in terms of standards for how they should be built and how they should be used. There’s a finite set of core workflows and jobs that can be improved. Bot builders who identify those workflows and fit in without requiring a ton of behavior change…those are the money bots.”

6. Jordi Torras, founder and CEO, Inbenta

“Chatbots will get increasingly smarter, thanks to the adoption of sophisticated AI algorithms and machine learning. But also they will specialize more in specific tasks, like online purchases, customer support, or online advice. First attempts of chatbot interoperability will start to appear, with generalist chatbots, like Siri or Alexa, connecting to specialized enterprise chatbots to accomplish specific tasks. Functions traditionally performed by search engines will be increasingly performed by chatbots.”

7. Dan Reich, CEO and cofounder, Troops

“The word ‘bots’ will slowly go away as people realize that the value is less about talking to a computer or bot, and more about having intelligent workflow within a conversational platform.”

8. Dmitriy Kachin, head of partnerships, Chatfuel

“AI technology — once the machine learning aspect of the current AI engines moves on to the next level and the NLP functionality becomes more sophisticated, we should see some really interesting breakthroughs in terms of chatbot experiences that will appear as a result of that. Ecommerce — when the ability to monetize your bot becomes more robust with solutions integrating CRM systems, warehouse management systems, order tracking, etc. — there will be a lot more motivation to realize your offering in a chatbot form. The resulting increase in various ecommerce use cases and the corresponding user traffic should be interesting to watch. As a result, we’ll see overall wider adoption of bots.”

9. Rob May, CEO and cofounder, Talla

“This year, we’ll finally see large enterprises adopting chat. In our own lead flow at Talla we’ve seen that Fortune 1000s are exploring platforms and what they can do with them. This is how people want to work — and they’re seeing the vision too. We’re at the tipping point where they’re starting to cross over. As a result, we’ll see the integration ecosystem continue to mature into more robust solutions.”

10. Lauren Kunze, CEO, Pandorabots, Inc.

“Right now the industry needs data driven success stories as an antidote to hype, and this year certain bot applications will increasingly yield real business results. This will help brands filter the noise and differentiate upstarts from industry leaders. Beyond 2017, I predict bots will be the primary interface for casual interactions between people and brands, and people and connected things.”

11. Amir Shevat, head of developer relations, Slack

“We will see conversational interfaces facilitating productive business workflows. We will see bots augment our life experiences in text and voice in consumer use cases.”

12. Mikhail Naumov, cofounder and CSO, DigitalGenius

“In 2017, brands will understand when to use scripted chatbots and when to use machine learning algorithms. Customer service functions in particular will be significantly transformed with the latest advances in deep learning and artificial intelligence. Human and machine intelligence will be combined in a seamless way to make great experiences for customers.”

13. Zor Gorelov, CEO and cofounder, Kasisto, Inc.

“We expect the bot landscape to expand in three key areas: monetization, security, and overall growth in capabilities. A marketplace on popular platforms will enable discovery and in-app transactions. This will drive a higher standard for security, especially in privacy-centric industries like banking, insurance, or healthcare. The more companies and players in the space, the faster the bots will improve and the more useful they will become.”

14. Marlene Jia, CRO, TOPBOTS

“Bots will be built with specific use cases and objectives in mind, driving actual adoption of the consumer.. 2016 was a year of experimentation for both the brands and users, and there were a lot of learnings that emerged. In 2017, you’ll see brands and bot creators doing a better job identifying the use case for the bot and the narrow goals of what the bot should be able to do. We can’t guarantee AI will be at the stage it needs to be to make bots intelligent enough, but what we can do is have a clear idea of what the bot should do and design it based on that objective.”

15. Matthew Hartman, partner, Betaworks

“We will start to see a set of bots that are growing, solving the discovery problem in unique ways. We’ll also start to see messaging services experiment with monetization that feels native and unique.”

16. Oren Jacob, CEO, PullString

“We will see Alexa voice experiences grow substantially in usage, reach, and complexity. A lot of amazing things are being built for the Alexa platform.”

17. Jeff Pulver, founder, MoNage

“The way we experience the internet is changing, and that the result of the shift in how communication evolves will be highly disruptive. We are now at a major inflection point for which there will be no turning back and from which we are likely to see the way we use the internet change. Apps may start to disappear over time. Websites will be less needed; the information shared on websites will be stored in the Cloud and accessed by services that need it. Communications will happen on our behalf and information will be presented in a way more in tune with how we process and share information once we search for it ourselves. Communications will be better, easier, and more relevant for us internet users as a result of AI. Furthermore, this change will make life better for our personal and business connections, implying new business opportunities and models to explore. Summing up the change, the interface between humans and computers is rapidly changing from an ‘operational’ interface (websites, apps) to a ‘conversational’ interface (chatbots, voice interfaces). This is revolutionary, given that the ‘operational’ interface has been the standard way to interact with computers since the earliest computers came on the market. In order for this fundamental shift to happen, there is a lot of work to be done.”

18. Dennis Yang, cofounder and CPO, Dashbot

“We are already seeing continued strong growth in the bot space across all platforms for the first part of 2017. I predict we will see a number of bots hit one million DAU by the end of 2017. Furthermore, we will begin to see more bots that fully embrace the capabilities of conversational UIs, differentiating themselves from the web and mobile experiences to which we are currently accustomed.”

19. Tom Hadfield, CEO, Message.io

“2017 will be the year of the conversational workplace. With the launch of Slack Enterprise Grid, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts Chat, and Workplace by Facebook all in the first four months of the year, the enterprise messaging space is proving to be where bots are finding mainstream adoption. 2017 will be the year that conversational interfaces begin to transform the $620 billion enterprise software industry, just as the graphical user interface did in the ’80’s, the web did in the ’90’s, and mobile apps did more recently.”

20. Sandeep Chivukula, cofounder, Botmetrics

“More push, less pull. Today bots react to customers. The best bots of 2017 will predict what’s important to customers and help them take action.”

21. Rachel Law, CEO and founder, Kip

“The line between software bots and robots and drones will blur as physical bots integrate into platforms. Soon you’ll be able to control Roombas and drones through Messenger!”

Author : ADELYN ZHOU, TOPBOTS

Source : venturebeat.com

Categorized in Others

Master cyber criminals, super-trojans, workforce shifts, advanced analytics and more – CBR talks to the experts about how 2017 could prove an even bigger, smarter year for artificial intelligence.

AI certainly arrived with aplomb in 2016 with chatbots, digital assistants, PokemonWatson, and DeepMind just some of the AI companies and tech bringing artificial intelligence to the masses. The opportunities, benefits and promise of the technology, so experts say, is vast – limitless even – so what can we expect in the coming year?CBR talked to the top AI experts about their artificial intelligence predictions for the new year, with 2017 already shaping up to be even smarter than 2016.

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of the digital Moriarty

Ian Hughes Analyst, Internet of Things, 451 Research

“With so much data flowing from the interconnected world of IoT, higher end AI is being used to find security holes and anomalies in systems that are too complex for humans to control. Security breaches we have seen so far have been brute force ones, the equivalent of a digital crow bar.

“AI being used to protect is clearly a benefit, but this technology is increasingly available to anyone, replacing the digital crow bar with a virtual master criminal, 2017 might just see Holmes versus Moriarty digital intellects start to battle it out behind the scenes.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year Machines Steal more human jobs than ever before

Dik Vos, CEO at SQS

“We will continue to see a rise in digital technology over the coming years, and 2017 will be the year we see the likes of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automated vehicles take the place of low-skilled workers.

With machines pushing humans out of a number of jobs including, logistics drivers and factory workers, I predict we will see an increased emphasis placed on the retraining of up to 30 per cent of our working population. People want and need to work and 2017 will see those workers who have lost their jobs through digitalisation, start to filter across a variety of other sectors including manufacturing and labour.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of the Buzzword Mart

Hal Lonas, CTO at Webroot

“In 2017 we will see an explosion of companies shopping at Buzzword Mart. The growing attention paid to terminology like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will lead to more firms incorporating “me too” marketing claims into their messaging.  Artificial Intelligence predictions -buzzwordProspective buyers should take these claims with a grain of salt and carefully check the pedigree and experience of firms claiming to use these advanced approaches. Buyers are rightfully confused, and it is difficult to compare, prove, or disprove efficacy in an ecosystem where market messaging is dominated by legacy or unicorn-funded voices. All too often we see legacy technology bolting barely-functional technology onto bloated and ill-architected heavy-weight solutions, leading to a poor end product whose flaws can range from bad user experience to security vulnerabilities.

“This rings especially true for security, where the distinction between legitimate machine learning trained threat intelligence and a second-rate snap-on solution can be the difference between leaking critical customer or IP data files, or blocking the threat before it reaches the network.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year of AI-as-a-service

Abdul Razack, SVP & Head of Platforms, Big Data and Analytics, Infosys

“AI-as-a-Service will take off: In 2016 AI was applied to solve known problems. As we move forward we will start leveraging AI to gain greater insights into ongoing problems that we didn’t even know existed. Using AI to uncover these “unknown unknowns” will free us to collaborate more and tackle new, interesting and life-changing challenges.”

Artificial Intelligence Predictions for 2017:

The Year CIOs Take the AI Helm

Graeme Thompson, SVP and CIO, Informatica

“With the accelerating pace of business, organisations need to deliver change and make decisions at a rate unheard of just a few years ago. This has made human-paced processing insufficient in the face of the petabytes and exabytes of data that are pouring into the enterprise, driving a rise in machine learning and AI.

“Whereas before, machines would be used to complete a few tasks within a workflow, now they are executing almost the entire process, with humans only required to fill in the gaps.

“Rewind 20 years and we used tools like MapQuest to figure out the shortest distance between two points, but we never would have trusted it to tell us where to go. Now, with new developments like Waze, many of us delegate the navigation of a journey entirely to a machine.

Artificial Intelligence Predictions - leader

“Before long, humans will no longer be needed to fill the gaps. We’ll find that machines are fully autonomous in the case of driverless cars, for example, because they can store and make sense of much more information than humans can process. However, organisations capitalising on the benefits of AI and machine learning will have to ensure data quality to guarantee the accuracy of these fast responses. Un-validated or inaccurate data in a machine learning algorithm causes misleading insights or inaccurate actions when automated.

“In 2017, CIOs will be tasked with taking the helm of data driven initiatives and ensuring that data is clean enough to be processed by machines to drive fast and accurate insight and action.”

Author : ELLIE BURNS

Source : http://www.cbronline.com/news/internet-of-things/smart-technology/artificial-intelligence-predictions-2017-expect-ai-service-smart-malware-digital-moriarty/#

Categorized in Science & Tech

Who invented the refrigerator? When was the Pleistocene era? How long do dolphins live?

Chances are, you don’t know the answers to these questions, but at least one of them made you think about Googling the answer. Type any of those questions into Google and you’ll see a small box above the conventional list-based search results, which concisely answers your question and links back to the source that provided it—all without you having to click any search results.

Some search queries even come with a full box of information on your chosen subject, off to the right side, such as the cast and crew of popular movies or a brief synopsis of a politician’s career.

Enter the Knowledge Graph

Already, we’re starting to take these revolutionary information sources for granted, but they only exist thanks to Google’s provision of “rich answers” and the Knowledge Graph, Google’s intelligent internal encyclopedia of information. These major search developments are bringing more information to users than ever before, and faster than ever before, but they’re also complicating the world of search engine optimization (SEO) and digital advertising. For example, these advancements may lead to lower click-through rates for some organic search results, or a lower return on “general information” content.

But how will rich answers and the Knowledge Graph change from here? Based on Google’s past and a reasonable expectation of technological progress to come, I have seven predictions:

1. Spoken answers will rise in popularity.

As of last year, about 20 percent of all mobile queries were voice searches. That number has consistently grown in line with the prevalence of mobile devices, and continues to grow to this day. I expect even steeper growth as voice recognition software grows more sophisticated and users become more trusting. When that happens, spoken answers—serving as a dialogue-like response—will need to become more popular, in turn. That means Google’s visual layout will become less relevant, and fewer and fewer users will rely on traditional SERPs for their needs.

2. Rich answers may soon completely take over.

Since their original inception, the prevalence of rich answers in search queries has grown tremendously, with occasional bursts of growth corresponding to increases in Google’s capacity. You’ve likely noticed this yourself, as your general-knowledge queries have become faster and easier to address with a simple search. This growth rate is unlikely to wane anytime soon, and in the next few years, I anticipate the majority of queries will return some kind of rich answer. Even hyper-specific questions won’t be exempt from the display. Why? Because Google wants to keep you on its own domain as much as possible – in order to expose you to more advertising, which makes them money. When you click a result in its search results, you wind up on someone elses’s domain – not Google’s.

3. Answers will extend beyond simple responses.

Google is also making strides in expanding the types of content that are offered in search engines. It has offered a simple calculator, conversion of units of measurement, and translations of different languages already, and I’d be willing to be the Knowledge Graph is ready to do even more for consumers. SERPs’ built-in functionalities are about to experience a leap forward in both diversity and sophistication, especially as app streaming and other app-centric display technologies begin to emerge.

4. Rich answers may branch into a separate category of search.

This is more speculative, but it’s possible that the demand for rich answers grows so great that it splinters into a separate category of search altogether. Google search algorithms may branch users into main categories based on intent, with rich answers provided to those in need of a quick answer and traditional SERP listings for those interested in a specific company website, or more information in general. In line with this, we may see the development of a competing search engine that specializes in the provision of this kind of information.

5. User preferences may soon become a variable.

Your social media apps know an uncomfortable amount of information about you. Your search apps potentially know even more. Google has remained the dominant search engine in the world in part because of its commitment to personalized search results. Soon, your search history and personal preferences may begin to factor more heavily into the type of rich answers you see (and how often you see them).

6. Smart homes will impact future development greatly.

With the rise of Google Home (and competitors like Amazon Echo), I suspect that user search habits will change significantly. Consumers will be making even more in-the-moment queries, and search engines will need to provide faster, conversational, and personalized responses. Once smart home technology hits a certain popularity threshold, its effects on search habits will propel rich answers and the Knowledge Graph into completely new territory.

7. The Knowledge Graph will start running itself.

Google is a big fan of machine learning, and RankBrain is an early indication that one day, Google’s search algorithm may be able to evaluate and update itself. It’s not only feasible, but likely, that similar machine learning technologies will start to dictate the future of the Knowledge Graph, sharply increasing its curve of development and making it a truly “intelligent” archive of online information. From that point on, its future is, by definition, unpredictable.

Rich answers and the Knowledge Graph aren’t going to cripple your SEO strategy, and they aren’t going to permanently take over the internet—at least not in any way that limits your potential as a digital marketer. Instead of being feared or avoided, they should simply be considered, or even taken advantage of.

Adjusting your SEO strategy isn’t strictly about linear progress; it’s about adapting to new circumstances, and these are some of the latest that should be on your radar. Keep watch for the changes to come, and remain flexible enough to compensate for them.

Author : Jayson DeMers

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2017/01/27/7-predictions-on-the-future-of-rich-answers-and-the-google-knowledge-graph/#5c99bece41e1

Categorized in Search Engine

Definition of Prediction: An event or action predicted, a forecast of future events

Definition of Anti-Prediction: A predicted event which doesn’t happen the way it was predicted.

2016 would be a remembered as a special year, especially in India. Demonetization kicked in, which enforced a new paradigm of cashless economy in the country. As people were forced to spend via their smartphones and digital wallets, a new stream of first-timers entered the digital eco-system, which paved way for a solid, robust digital industry in the country.

From 35 crore Internet users in India at the end of 2015, the number has now reached approximate 45-50 crore, and is expected to touch 75 crore by 2020.

In terms of smartphone users, India has already beaten US as 22 crore users benchmark has been breached this year. Now, only China is above us, in terms of smartphone (and mobile internet) users in the world.

As you are reading this, around 1 crore mobile phones are being sold every month in India, a pace which has slightly reduced due to demonetization (as there is less cash in the market), but will soon rise again, within next few weeks.

If we believe Google, then India will have approximately 17 crore ecommerce shoppers by 2020, and e-commerce market will be worth Rs 1.34 lakh crore by that time. In January last year, digital payments surpassed paper-based payments for the first time in India, and after the demonetization move, the cashless movement has only strengthened.

When e-wallet apps like Paytm starts estimating their total annual transactions to the tune of Rs 24,000 crore with 50 million downloads, and when you find out that Paytm alone accounts of 11% of overall toll collections in the country, then the belief and hope in digital industry becomes stronger.

With so many Internet and Smartphone users, and a solid foundation of digital economy, how can digital marketers and entrepreneurs leverage this momentum, and create more awareness about their products and services?

Just like last two years, we are back with top digital marketing predictions for 2017. However, along with predictions, we are also sharing two anti-predictions.

Search Engine Optimization Will Become Stronger, Bolder & More Relevant

As more information is created on the Internet, the relevance and significance of Search Engine Optimization or SEO will only increase this year. The interesting thing to observe is that, search engine algorithms from Google and Bing will continue to evolve from mere words search to more specific ‘intent search’; and this will introduce a plethora of new technologies, new concepts and new ideas into the game.

For instance, rich snippets and rich answers in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) will become more dominant in 2017. Websites which haven’t yet done their structured data markup or schema markup will have to do it now, because Google SERPs are now inclining more towards it.

Multi-channel marketing will now evolve into cross-channel marketing, as the timing, relevance and the usage of marketing channel will now combine with SEO, and the marketer has to think beyond simple blue links in SERPs.

Maroon BG

Mobile searches will continue to hold prominence, as Google’s newest algorithm update has made it mandatory to optimize pages as per mobile, and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) will hold the key to mobile SEO now. SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile) is now changing to SeLoMo (Search Local Mobile), as local listings on search engines is becoming a crucial strategy for small business owners.

Social Media Marketing Is Become More Creative

Green BG

Snapchat’s meteoric rise in 2016 will dominate the trends for social media marketing in 2017 – because it tells the flow of consumers and their intentions. If Instagram was the social media channel to watch in 2016, and Pinterest was in 2015, then Snapchat would be the most important social media strategy for marketers in 2017.

However, Snapchat isn’t for everyone, and this is the reason the relevance and importance of Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter will remain crucial. Brands will have to create their own in-house strategies to become content magnets, and to dominate the battle for supremacy on these social media channels.

Twitter, which has been lagging behind, and often accused of forming so-called Twitter-fatigue, will have to evolve into a stronger force because Google will now cache and index more tweets than ever (because of a recent partnership between these two giants). If you thought Twitter was history, then you need reconsider your goals this year.

The rising phenomenon of Facebook Live videos will be another thing to watch out for in 2017.

Email Marketing Will Transform Into Responsive Marketing

Blue BG

Emails, the grand-daddy of marketing tactics, will still hold relevance in the age of Snapchat and Whatsapp; and the reason being that they are simply irreplaceable.

The best thing about emails is that, it constantly evolves. And in 2017, we will see more evolution coming from the email marketers. For instance, as most of the emails are now opened in mobile, responsive emailers would become the new fashion, and the age old art of copywriting will now involve the technique to lure mobile-centric users.

Social Media and Emails marketing would combine, interlink to provide a more comprehensive approach to digital marketing.

More stronger anti-spam laws and regulations would emerge, which will protect the consumer’s interests, and make email marketing more effective for the brands. In short, email marketing will continue to hold its forte this year, and will compel the brand marketers to be more innovative and experimental with its approach.

Paid Marketing Will Evolve Into Targeted Marketing

Brown BG

Without any doubt, paid marketing is the biggest contributor towards the digital marketing industry, globally. And Google Adwords along with Facebook ads forms the biggest chunk of this industry.

In terms of Google ads, we may see evolution of better, bigger ad-units this year, as Google Shopping ads continue to be the driving force for ecommerce portals. Visibility and size of ads on mobile devices will be one of the most prominent aspects of user-experience, and this will force Google and Facebook to do more research and experiments.

As per some insider reports, Local Search from Google may soon become a paid product, which will introduce a new stream of marketing for local businesses. Paid chatbots may make a massive entry, as automation can become one of the biggest concepts of paid marketing.

Video Marketing Will Become A Necessity

Bluegray BG

Facebook Live has ushered in a new dimension of video based marketing in 2016, and 2017 will continue to roll in the momentum. Real time, live videos will hold the dominance in this niche, as Youtube will strive hard to maintain its supremacy.

Concepts of Virtual Reality (VR) in video marketing will hold more importance, as customers are now looking for 360 degree entertainment, inspiration and knowledge via videos.

2017 will see more and more brands, their sales teams and content teams logging into the video mode to spread their messages, as the concept of ‘Immersive Experience’ will become stronger.

Anti-Predictions:

This is the section wherein we will share those predictions from last year, which went wrong. And it can signal a new approach in 2017.

Focus On Mobile Is Good, But Don’t Ditch Desktop Yet

Yes, mobile is the future, and everyone, from Google to Snapchat is focussing on the mobile aspect of everything related with digital and web.

However, the very concept of ‘mobile-only’ approach for brands, especially those who are into travel, e-commerce, electronics and science/technical niches can be dangerous. Desktop usage still rules these niches, and the marketer needs to focus both on mobile and desktop for their end-users.

A perfect example: Tripadvisor. In 2016, desktop traffic represented 71% of their overall traffic, and mobile based search was only 55%. Now, if a company like Tripadvisor goes for mobile-only approach, then it will die.

2016 saw massive portals like Myntra coming back to desktop mode simply because their app-only approach didn’t work out the way they wanted. LocalOye too had to relaunch their desktop website after a year.

As per a report, desktop and laptops continue to be teenagers’ favourite mode to access Internet.

This means that a brand needs to be present on both mobile and desktop for an all-around user experience. You cannot ditch mobile yet.

IoT & AI in Digital Marketing Will Have No Impact

Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and wearables will not have a major impact on digital marketing channels in 2017. Maybe in 2018 or 2019, but not now.

And this is a fact which has been endorsed by Moz founder Rand Fishkin in his blog.

Except Snapchat, which introduced their glasses which was directly linked with their app, no other brand was able to use wearables and AI in attracting more users and consumers last year, and the trend won’t change in 2017 either. (we can leave Fitbit and other wearables aside, because their main business model is wearable!)

VRs can be a good extension of video marketing, but other than that, it would have no major impact on the overall digital marketing industry this year.

Do let us know your opinions and feedback on our Digital Marketing predictions and anti-predictions of 2017!

Author : Mohul Ghosh

Source : http://trak.in/tags/business/2017/01/06/5-digital-marketing-predictions-2017/

Categorized in Social

Big things are happening in space travel and tech, with new startups mushrooming every day. Here are four trends to watch.

There was a time when NASA was singlehandedly driving America's dream of exploring outer space. But that has changed over the last 15 years. A slew of private space companies have entered the market with ambitious plans to build rockets and colonize new planets. SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin—each led by well-known entrepreneurs—have become household names.

But over the last seven years, hundreds of smaller startups have also popped up, each trying to accomplish something different in the new space race. Astrobotic, for instance, has launched a lunar delivery service, charging $1.2 million per kilo to take anything you want to the moon. World View is developing enormous balloons that can take passengers or equipment to the very outer reaches of our atmosphere. Saber Aeronautics is using video game technology to help people create missions and operate satellites with little training.

Chad Anderson has seen these exciting new developments firsthand as the CEO of the Space Angels Network, an organization that surveys and invests in emerging space startups. It began tracking private space companies in 2009, when SpaceX had its first successful launch, and he says that VC investments in private space companies have been on an upward trajectory every year. (This does not include infusions of corporate capital, such as Google's $1 billion investment in SpaceX last year.) He says that seven years ago, there were fewer than 50 private space companies, but this year, the number has grown to almost 200 that have received non-government funding to execute their business plan.

"There's a robust ecosystem in the space industry now," he says. "In the past, the government would have been a space company's customer. Now they might have the government as a customer for some of their data, but other private customers as well. Then they might buy parts from another space company." 

I sat down with Anderson to discuss some of the big trends that he believes will take off next year. 

GOVERNMENTS PLAY A BIGGER ROLE

While the private space industry is booming, government still has an important role to play in driving space-age technology forward. Space startups often build on primary research that began at NASA, and many also rely on the government to be a customer. "The exploratory science that NASA is doing translates to private-sector activity eventually," Anderson says.

The good news is that Congress appears to be in favor of giving NASA the resources it needs to thrive. It received a $19.3 billion budget in 2016, a nearly $1.3 billion increase from the year before. It is unclear how the Trump Administration will handle NASA. So far, the president-elect has said very little about his plans for the country's space program, and it is unclear whether his pro-business policies will play out in the space sector. "If it comes at the expense of investing in the longer term gain, his pro-business approach could be harmful," Anderson says.

What we do know is that there's growing interest from governments around the world in investing in space. This year, Luxembourg's government invested $227 million in asteroid mining research, which included funds that went to two American companies—Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources—that would create European operations.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency invested $290 million on a probe to orbit Venus, and China's president announced a plan to land "taikonauts" on the moon by 2036 and Mars thereafter. Both countries say these space missions are designed to boost the local economy and spur innovation in robotics, aviation, and AI.

Anderson says we can look forward to more private-public partnerships in the future as governments realize the value of investing in space. All of this will be a boon to the space startup community. "The government has a big role to play as a customer," he says. "It's good to see more agencies, in more countries, interested."

WE'LL FIGURE OUT INTERGALACTIC PROPERTY RIGHTS

The Outer Space Treaty, which was first signed in 1967, is still the basis of international space law. It was developed right before the U.S. went to the moon and stated, among other things, that no country could place a weapon of mass destruction in orbit in outer space or claim any celestial resource. "It's a different time in space now from back then," Anderson says.

Many within the private space industry are lobbying to modify the treaty to allow companies to claim some portion of what they mine or discover on a space mission. "What is the incentive to invest private capital and take on so much risk by going to space if you don't even know if you have any claim to resources once you get there?" Anderson says. "This creates that incentive."

He says that one model for a new treaty could be the Homestead Acts of 1866, which the U.S. government created to entice Americans to settle in less inhabited parts of the country, mostly in the West. The law gave applicants ownership of land at little or no cost, which led to more than 270 million acres of public land given to 1.6 million people. By creating similar legislation for the ownership of property in space, many in the private space industry believe more people will be willing to invest in the technological infrastructure to get there.

SPACE TOURISM WILL ATTRACT MORE PEOPLE

Right now, the idea of space tourism appeals to a small, self-selecting group of people who love the idea of space so much that they are willing to take on the many risks of being among the first private citizens to go to space.

But this is slowly changing. At the National Aerospace Training and Research Center in Pennsylvania, scientists have been trying to understand who can actually withstand the physical stress of flying on a Virgin Galactic rocket, for instance. They're finding that even very old people or people with pins in their bodies after surgery can handle the gravitational pressures and exertion.

As space tourism becomes less pie-in-the-sky fantasy and more concrete reality, and as more people begin to seriously prepare for space flight, the whole concept will seem less daunting. This might even begin happening as early as next year. Again, Anderson compares the voyage to space to the early days of traveling out West. "At first it took a very special kind of person to leave their families and go off with a shovel and a wheelbarrow," he says. "But once they had developed a train to go out there, a different demographic started traveling. We've seen this scenario play out multiple times over history, and I don't see how this will be any different."

MORE LAUNCHES

Anderson says that 2017 will be exciting for launches. Blue Origin is planning to start sending trained astronauts next year, and paying commercial passengers the following year. Rocket Lab is set to begin test flights on its Electron small satellite launch vehicle in 2017 as well. There are many other companies depending on these launches to get their satellites and instruments to space. "Even one new launch system will do a lot to relieve the pressure and backlog we have at the moment," Anderson says.

In the past, companies relied on NASA's much bigger launchers to get to space, but companies like Rocket Lab are testing out smaller launch vehicles. While the price of a payload is about the same on either type of vehicle, smaller vehicles tend to be able to launch more frequently and can have smaller customers. "What they are selling you is the opportunity to be the primary payload," Anderson says. "If the launch is delayed, it is because you were delayed, not because the primary payload you were flying with was delayed. It will take you to the orbit you want to go to, whereas if you ride as the secondary payload you are likely going to another orbit and must figure out how to get to where you wanted to go."

The moon will continue to be the destination of choice for these spacecraft. While a lot of attention has been paid to NASA and SpaceX's plans to go to Mars, a growing number of companies are working on lunar missions. Astrobotic, for instance, is partnering with a range of organizations—from scientific groups to companies who want to use a lunar landing as part of a marketing campaign—to deliver equipment and materials to the moon. Others are thinking about using the moon as a staging area or a launch site for travel to other parts of our solar system.

All of this extraterrestrial activity is causing concern about the trail of orbital debris that might be left behind. Space law requires companies to clean up after themselves, so expect more of them to invest in creating enormous harpoons that pull trash down from space. There will also be an increase in technologies that help us track where objects are in space.

Next year should bring lots of new developments. But there is an infinite area to explore beyond our planet, so there's a lot left to do. "Space is a long game," says Anderson.

Source : https://www.fastcompany.com/3066520/innovation-agents/four-out-of-this-world-predictions-for-the-space-industry-in-2017

Categorized in Science & Tech

What scientific discoveries will 2017 bring? What technological innovations? Probably not time travel — or time-shares on Mars. But no one really knows for sure, and when we asked some of the biggest names in in science and technology to share their predictions for the coming year, there was a bit of pushback.

"I normally don't make predictions for anything less than two trillion years in the future," Arizona State University cosmologist Lawrence Krauss told NBC MACH. It's easier to make predictions that far out, he added jokingly, when "no one will be around to check them."

Ultimately, Krauss came through with some fascinating forecasts. Read on to see them, along with predictions from legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin and nine more thought leaders in science and tech (the submissions have been lightly edited).

Buzz Aldrin Christina Korp / Christina Korp

Buzz Aldrin:

A New "Race for Space"

Dr. Buzz Aldrin, the second human to walk on the moon, is a leading advocate of space science and planetary exploration. He is the co-author of several books, including "Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration" and "No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon." He lives in Satellite Beach, Florida.

Given President-Elect Trump's interest in putting in place a space council, I envision a more unified approach to shaping and overhauling aspects of America's civil, military, and industrial space sectors. And get ready for intense competition in the development of human spaceflight systems, not only for use in low Earth orbit but also outward from our home planet. This commercial "race for space" will lead to technical and business innovations we don't yet appreciate or understand.

I think the year ahead will see Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin group wring out its New Shepard reusable suborbital launch vehicle and press forward on its New Glenn booster. Similarly, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo will hasten the pace of testing to create suborbital passenger service. And keep an eye on the maiden flights of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Dragon 2 capsules — stepping stones to restore our nation's capabilities for human spaceflight.

I expect Elon Musk and his SpaceX rocketeers will fly their Falcon Heavy launcher from the refurbished Launch Complex 39 pad A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That's the same site that I rocketed from with my Apollo 11 colleagues, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, to achieve the first human landing on the Moon in July 1969!

China is headed for several milestone achievements. For one, they will use their new Long March 5 and Long March 7 boosters to advance their goal of building their own space station. In addition, look for China to fly to the moon the robotic Chang'e 5 spacecraft and attempt the first lunar sample return to Earth in more than 40 years.

Lastly, look for surprises from mysterious Mars! Now orbiting the Red Planet is the European Space Agency's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter that in 2017 will "sniff out" whether methane detected on that world is a product of Martian microbes.

Personally, I'll be working as hard as ever to rally public and political willpower to hasten the day when those first footfalls on the Red Planet lead to permanent inhabitation of Mars.

Julie Brefcyznski-Lewis Richard Nolan / Richard Nolan

Julie Brefcynski-Lewis:

Virtual Reality Reset

Dr. Julie Brefcynski-Lewis is assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology in the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute at West Virginia University in Morgantown. She has studied higher order brain functions such as attention, emotions, social interactions, and meditation.

The scientific method is rooted in objectivity and has relied on government and public confidence that scientists are well trained and dedicated to accurate results. I think the big question of 2017 will be how science will adapt to a changing cultural landscape in terms of public attitudes, funding, global participation, and more.

In my field of neuroscience, we are a little lucky that many lawmakers making political and funding decisions have direct experiences with neurological and mental health needs of loved ones. In terms of disruptive technology, I predict virtual reality will have a major influence on how science is performed and communicated. In my research, for example, we are adapting novel PET (positron emission tomography) brain imager technology so that it is wearable and allows imaging of someone moving and responding in a virtual environment, such as an addict in a cue-laden setting. Other laboratories are using VR to explore the shapes and functions of neurons and molecules, and it's likely to become a haven for social interactions such that exciting new studies on human behavior will emerge.

George Church Courtesy of George Church / George Church

George Church:

Gee-Whiz Gene Editing

Dr. George Church is professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School in Boston and director of personalgenomes.org. He is the author of "Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves."

Next year will see great strides in reading and writing genomes, organs, and ecosystems. We'll move beyond small genome "edits" to large-scale "writing," with huge practical consequences, including resistance to all viruses. For organs, new microscopy methods will enable molecular atlases of whole bodies during normal development from eggs to adults and pathological states like cancer. Leveraging such body atlases will be recipes for constructing any tissue type and transplanting it successfully between species. For ecosystems, we will see growing numbers of tests of safety and effectiveness of genetic strategies for controlling agents (mosquitoes, worms, mice) of deadly diseases like malaria, filariasis, and Lyme disease.

We will also see great progress in the use of genetic engineering to reverse processes that had seemed irreversible: aging and extinction. And super-compact encoding of data into DNA-storage will transform our ability to record video and interface with brains.

Kate Darling Flavia Schaub / Flavia Schaub

Kate Darling:

Artificial Intelligence Heads Home

Dr. Kate Darling, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, investigates social robotics and conducts experimental studies on human-robot interaction. Her work explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines.

I'm excited about the rise of personal assistant robots. We won't be seeing Rosie from the Jetsons anytime soon, but we will see more and more cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) products in the home — in particular, voice-activated speaker systems that sit on tables and countertops.

These robots are at a primitive stage, have few capabilities, and are full of flaws. But there's a lot of demand for them. That's because they can perform some useful tasks (turning on music and lights, reading out loud, answering trivia) and because people enjoy interacting with a digital "other." In some ways the flaws and limitations are part of these assistants' charm, and 2017 will definitely see more of these in people's lives.

Katherine Freese Evan Cohen / Evan Cohen

Katherine Freese:

Dark Matter Answer?

Dr. Katherine Freese is professor of physics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a noted expert on dark matter. She is the author of "The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter."

My work seeks to understand what the universe is made of. Ordinary atomic material makes up only five percent of the universe. Most of the mass in the universe is made of dark matter, and we want to know what it is.

Right now, only one experiment has detected a hint of dark matter: the Italian Dark Matter Experiment (DAMA). The technique the DAMA scientists use is based on a paper I wrote, and so I am dying to know if their results are right. In 2017 three other experiments will be in a position to show once and for all whether or not DAMA has actually discovered dark matter. It is possible that the 80-year-old dark matter puzzle will finally be solved.

Lawrence Krauss Tessa Etzione / Tessa Etzione

Lawrence Krauss:

Quantum Computing Breakthroughs

Dr. Lawrence Krauss is professor of earth and space exploration and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University in Tempe. He is the author of nine books, including "A Universe from Nothing" and "The Physics of Star Trek." His latest book, "The Greatest Story Ever Told," is scheduled for publication in 2017.

It seems to me that quantum computing is evolving very fast. I expect that some breakthroughs this this area, or in the related areas of quantum teleportation or encryption, may occur in 2017.

Also in 2017, we may have new, definitive data from the South Pole on the possibility that gravitational waves from earliest moments of the Big Bang might be detectable. If so, this would have utterly profound implications for our understanding of our own universe, and maybe the existence of other universes.

I don't hold out much hope for any definitive developments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider in 2017 (maybe in 2018). But then I never expected them to discover the Higgs boson when they did. If they observe new particles, it will completely determine the future of particle physics. If not, will another accelerator be built to help us continue to push the frontiers of knowledge?

Jennifer Kuzma Richard Nolan / Richard Nolan

Jennifer Kuzma:

"Gene Drives" Get Real

Dr. Jennifer Kuzma is professor of social sciences at the School of Public and International Affairs and co-founder and co-director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

Natural scientists have discovered new biology-based tools that can precisely edit existing genes in living organisms, or insert new genes at particular locations in the genome. These "gene editing" tools (e.g. "CRISPR") are being used to change multiple genes in plants, animals, and microorganisms for industrial production of medicines or chemicals, agricultural productivity, or environmental goals such as pollution remediation. Based on gene editing, biologists have discovered ways to engineer wild populations in the environment using "gene drives." With gene drives, it is theoretically possible to release just a few individuals of a species and an engineered gene can then spread throughout the wild population. Gene drives could be used to protect endangered species against disease or to reduce populations of unwanted species, such as invasive pests.

Gene-edited products are already in the marketplace. Genetically engineered insects with population-reduction genes have been cleared by government agencies for environmental release in certain areas. Although gene drives have only been tested in the laboratory, we will see the first releases of organisms with gene drives in the near future, possibly 2017. The ability to engineer populations in the wild necessitates a broader public discussion about whether we want to pursue this as a society. I would like to predict this dialogue will happen, but the political will to engage the public on these topics is currently lacking.

Janet Hering R. Schaffner / R. Schaffner

Janet Hering:

The Circular Economy Expands

Dr. Janet Hering is director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Dubendorf and professor of environmental biogeochemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Industry developed the concept of the circular economy to "extract the maximum value and use from all raw materials, products and waste, fostering energy savings and reducing Green House Gas emissions." This concept is increasingly being taken up by cities around the world as they recover heat from domestic sewage (Paris), reclaim water from wastewater to recharge aquifers (Orange County, California) and produce water for industrial wafer fabrication (Singapore), produce agricultural fertilizers from source-separated urine (Durban, South Africa), and produce fuel pellets from fecal sludge (Kampala, Uganda).

Since 2010, over half of the world's population has been living in cities, expanding both the opportunity and the need to redefine municipal wastewater and waste as a resource. Establishing the circular economy in cities holds great promise for increasing urban sustainability. The number of cities pursuing this approach will grow rapidly in 2017.

Tracey Holloway Paul Schilling / Paul Schilling

Tracey Holloway:

Better Weather Prediction

Dr. Tracey Holloway is professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences in Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and leader of NASA's Health and Air Quality Applied Sciences Team.

This coming year will bring a huge advance in the monitoring of Earth from space. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA worked together on a new geostationary satellite, called GOES-16, that launched in November 2016. Starting in 2017, GOES-16 will provide data almost continuously, improving weather predictions and environmental management.

Satellites are already able to "see" our life-supporting atmosphere in a way that has transformed weather prediction, emergency response and public health. But for measurements of smoke, dust, lightning and other features, GOES-16 will be the first time we have nearly minute-by-minute data. For example, the new satellite will allow us to track forest fire smoke so that people can take measures to protect their health. This near-real-time data will be a huge step forward from current satellites that provide snapshots of these important features only once or twice a day.

Each new satellite offers a treasure trove of data, publicly available to support decision-making of communities and businesses. I'm working with scientists across the country to help ensure that cities, health professionals, weather forecasters — even kids for the science fair — get the maximum benefit from these amazing eyes in the sky.

Ainissa Ramirez Bruce Fizzell / Bruce Fizzell

Ainissa Ramirez:

One Amazing Eclipse

Dr. Ainissa Ramirez is a materials scientist and author in New Haven, Connecticut. She hosts the podcast Science Underground and is writing a book on the impact of materials on history and culture.

One of the biggest science events of 2017 will be a total solar eclipse. On August 21, a diagonal swath of the U.S. from Oregon to Kansas to South Carolina will go dark. More than 300 million Americans live within a two-day drive from seeing this heavenly event.

How the sky blackens in the middle of the day is a bit like getting a bad seat at the movies. If a tall person seated in front of you blocks your view of the screen, then you are experiencing what happens to the Earth on a cosmic scale. In this movie drama, you are the Earth, the tall person is the moon, and the movie screen is the sun.

During an eclipse, the darkness lasts only a few minutes. But it is a reminder that we are all part of something big. Eclipses also connect us to history. In ancient times, eclipses stopped wars. In 1919, an eclipse helped prove Einstein's theory of relativity. Even Thomas Edison got inspiration for his light bulb in 1878 while on a trip to Wyoming to see an eclipse.

This August, all of us get a chance to be connected to nature, to science, and to each other. Perhaps we'll find other ways to connect when the darkness passes.

Carlo Ratti Lars Kruger / Lars Kruger

Carlo Ratti:

Self-Driving Vehicles Come of Age

Dr. Carlo Ratti is a professor at MIT, where he directs the Senseable City Lab. He is co-author of "The City of Tomorrow: Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life."

Forget about the difficulties we saw with Uber's fleet of self-driving vehicles in San Francisco. This is soooo 2016! 2017 will be the year of self-driving, and of the exploration of its impact on our cities.

Self-driving vehicles promise to blur the distinction between private and public modes of transportation. "Your" car could give you a lift to work in the morning and then, rather than sitting idle in a parking lot, give a lift to someone else in your family — or, for that matter, to anyone else in your neighborhood, social-media community, or city.

This implies a city in which we could travel on demand with just a fraction of the number of cars in use today. Such reductions in car numbers are just theoretical. However, they could potentially lower the cost of our mobility infrastructure and the embodied energy associated with building and maintaining it.

Furthermore, driverless cars could have a big impact on our lifestyle and daily activities: They could be transformed into extensions of our homes. While travelling, we might be able to do lot of activities we use to do at home — read a book, take a nap, eat, text, or make love (more than what already happens today).

Author : DAVID FREEMAN

Source : http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/2016-year-in-review/11-surprising-predictions-2017-some-biggest-names-science-n701136

Categorized in Science & Tech

Ye old crystal ball faired pretty well last year as many of my tech predictions came to pass. Pokémon Go was an augmented reality hit. Smart car hype reached a fevered pitch. And Yahoo agreed to sell its core business to Verizon, meaning Marissa Mayer and Silicon Valley’s longest running soap opera will finally be put out of their misery.

Also as predicted, tech IPOs were almost nonexistentOpens a New Window. in the first half, although the market did pick upOpens a New Window. in the latter part of the year. The private equity bubble continued to deflate, as venture funding and the number of deals continued to decline. And there were 63 down eventsOpens a New Window. during the year, most of which were down exits.

And while the Nasdaq did fall into correction territory in February, it bounced right back to all-time highs. Guess you can’t win them all.

Once again peering into my crystal ball, this is what I see for Silicon Valley and beyond in 2017:

News of a “Made in America” iPhone will leak. I doubt if Apple will announce a product so far in advance of what’s likely to be a 2018 or 2019 launch, but the tech giant will nevertheless decide to build an iPhone model in the U.S., probably outsourced to long-time contract manufacturer Foxconn. “Made in America” will become a thing. 

Tesla will not ship the Model 3 as planned. The low-cost electric sedan that Elon Musk so boldly announced in April with a target shipment date of late 2017 at a base price of $35,000 will not ship. And when it does ship, 18 months late in 2019, it will face major competition and be pricier than originally advertised, causing most to pull their refundable deposits.  

Theranos will shut its doors. The lawsuits are piling up and that will drain the coffers of the embattled lab test technology startup. CEO Elizabeth Holmes will finally be forced to seek bankruptcy protection and fade into obscurity, at least until the movie Bad Blood comes out, starring Jennifer Lawrence as the troubled entrepreneur. 

Twitter will fire Jack Dorsey. Twitter’s growth has stalled but the social media site does have a treasure trove of business user data that would help an enterprise software company like Salesforce make its products smarter, in an AI sort of way. Sadly, shares of Twitter are too pricey, so something’s got to give. The board will replace Dorsey and dress up the company to be acquired.

The AT&T-Time Warner merger will go through.  Despite Trump’s vow to block it, better informed minds will prevail once everyone realizes the deal is largely a vertical integration play that doesn’t give the combined company an unfair competitive advantage that would harm consumers. On the contrary, the merger may actually accelerate cable cord cutting.

Net neutrality regulations will go bye bye. Once the Trump Administration takes over and FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is replaced, the order reclassifying broadband internet as a public utility will be reversed and the Web will once again be free of undue regulation. Nobody’s service will be throttled or blocked, as once feared, but Netflix will have to cut backend direct-connect deals with ISPs, just like everyone else. 

  

Unicorns will stampede on Wall Street. Tech IPOs will make a strong comeback on the heels of the long-awaited public offering of Snapchat parent Snap, which is expected to raise more than $20 billion in the first quarter of the year. If that goes well, as I expect it will, other big unicorns, perhaps including Spotify and Palantir, will follow.

Magic Leap will finally launch an AR product. Not the first time I’ve made this call, but I do think the well-funded augmented reality startup will finally quit teasing us with videos and actually launch a product: AR glasses that will beam computer-enhanced video to your eyeballs. Mark my words: Snap’s Spectacles were just the beginning; AR-enhanced smart glasses will be a game changer.

Your next car will not drive itself. If you’re thinking about kicking back sipping Starbucks while a computer on wheels drives you to work, don’t hold your breath. That said, autonomous vehicles are coming, and sooner than you think. Just not that soon, unless you happen to hail a test Uber in Pittsburgh or somewhere in Arizona. Broad deployment of driverless cars will begin in 2021. 

Facebook’s fake fake news problem will get even hokier. Saying there’s fake news on Facebook is like saying there’s water in the ocean. Considering that most online content is actually commentary, sensational clickbait, the rants of a self-proclaimed expert or some form of user-generated gibberish, Facebook’s fake news problem is, ironically, fake news. And the fun is just getting started.  

Here’s a bonus prediction: Amazon’s Alexa will not become aware, take over the world and kill all the humans, Terminator style. So you can relax and have a wonderful 2017.

Author : Steve Tobak

Source : http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2016/12/27/10-tech-predictions-for-2017.html

Categorized in Science & Tech

We’re already looking into our crystal balls and checking Nostradamus’ books to see what he predicted would happen in 2017:

10. Russia & Ukraine Will Sign a Peace Agreement

According to Nostradamus, 2017 will be the year Russia & the Ukraine come to an agreement – the terms of the agreement are unclear at this time. The United States will oppose the new truce, but Germany and other EU members will embrace it. That’s different from what has already happened and what we’ve read in mainstream media reports.  US Vice President Joe Biden voiced his stance in December, 2015 – the United States is determined to see Russia adhere to a shaky Ukrainian peace agreement and hand back Crimea to Kiev.

9. China Will Make Bold Moves

China will make bold moves to cure the “economic imbalance“ in the world. According to Nostradamus, its actions will have far reaching effects. Will China become the new Superpower as Baba Vanga happened to predict in the 20th century? The past decade, the notion of China becoming the world’s next superpower has become almost an idee fixe for global politics theorists. Compared to the other so-called BRICS – Brazil, Russia and India – China shines like the moon. Between 1978 and the present, China has been able to surge from being a marginal player on the global stage to a powerhouse that has attracted $2 trillion of foreign direct investment.

8. A Year of Definition for Latin America

While 2017 will not be a breakout year for Latin American countries, Nostradamus also predicted that it will be a year of redefinition for them. Governments will move away from leftish policies and will help set the stage for potential civil unrest in the region.

7. Italy Will Face Financial Hardship

Unemployment and loans will make Italy the “epicenter” of the EU financial crisis, shifting attention away from the Greeks and Spain. The Italian banking system is in serious trouble and the failure of these banks is simply the tip of the iceberg. Non-performing loans, loans that debtors are not paying off as agreed, but which have not yet been written off by the banks, have been on the rise the past two year. At this point 18% of all outstanding loans in Italy are non-performing.  Reviving Italy’s economy will require sacrifices not just from Italians, but also from other EU members.

6. Cloud Computing Will Disappear

Nostradamus also predicted that the term ‘cloud’ will disappear from the phrase ‘cloud computing’ by 2017 because most of the computers will simply be assumed to be done in the cloud.

5. Superpower Sclerosis

The current superpower, referring to USA, will become increasingly ungovernable and incompetent to take care of the world. Ideological polarization, political corruption, growing inequality, globalization of corporate and financial elites, and large-scale social system failures will be the growing factors in the sclerosis.

4. Wars over Global Warming

Nostradamus believed the possibilities of ‘Hot Wars’ could be escalated in 2017 due to global warming and diminishing resources. As far as the warfare itself goes, the greatest threat in the future will be terrorists and bio-attacks.

3. Commercial Space Travel

Commercial space travel is the real deal, but beyond orbital flights things will become exponentially more difficult. The moon, asteroids and mining missions are unlikely targets within the next two years.

2. More Widespread Use of Solar Power

By 2017, solar technologies could account for a significant portion of global power generation, according to Nostradamus, helping economies and businesses guard against rising energy costs and the impact of climate change.

1.North Korea & South Korea Merger

North Korea and South Korea will merge. Kim Jong-un will be dethroned and will seek refuge in Russia. NORTH Korea dictator Kim Jong-un is “crueller” and more dangerous than his father. The youngest scion of the ruling family which has dominated North Korea for 65 years inherited the leadership of the “Democratic People’s Republic” on 17 December 2011 upon the death of his father. Since that dreadful day, Kim Jong-un has caused a perilous international crisis by testing a nuclear weapon and threatening to use it against America and South Korea. He also distributed a strange photograph of himself purportedly in the act of ordering “merciless” nuclear strikes against the US mainland.

Author : Alex Noudelman

Source : http://alexnoudelman.com/top-10-nostradamus-predictions-for-2017/

Categorized in Others

It’s that time of the year when we ask industry leaders for their thoughts on what happened in 2016 and what they forsee will happen in the new year. Here’s Part 1.

steve-hafner-photo-website

 

Steve Hafner, CEO & Co-founder, KAYAK

Top 3 Things That Happened and That Mattered in 2016

1.  Rise of AI. It’s getting even tougher to be a travel startup or to afford innovation. You simply need too many developers, on too many platforms, with access to too much data, to make a difference.

2.  Ctrip buying Skyscanner. Now all of the big three OTAs have made their bets. It’s going to be fun to watch.

3.  My fiancee getting preggo again.

Top 3 predictions for 2017

1.  Expedia will buy more growth and OTA market share (probably Odigeo).

2.  TripAdvisor will start acting like it’s 1943 against Trivago. Now that Trivago is subject to the same public investor pressure as TripAdvisor, it’s a level playing field. I, for one, like Kaufer’s chances. They have great content on top of a great search engine, and an P&L that can sustain more marketing.

3.  Google will start intercepting branded search terms for their flight engine and hotel price ads. It’ll start slowly but will gain steam. Can you imagine how the travel industry will howl when HPA is above Marriott hotel results?

 


 

hugo-burge-photo2-website

Hugo Burge, CEO, Momondo Group

3 Top Things That Happened and That Mattered in 2016

1.  The Populist Politics of Polarisation took a grip, as a reaction against local disenfranchisement.

2.  The UK voted for Brexit.

3.  Momondo group completed re-invention of business with final site launch in Cheapflights.com

3 Top Predictions for 2017

1.  Ongoing political uncertainty, ruptures and simmering tension.

2.  Digital payments re-inventing the way we purchase.

3.  To keep an open world, everyone will have to do their bit to keep fighting for it.


 timothy-hughes-photo-website

 

Timothy Hughes, Vice President Business Development, Agoda

3 Top Things That Happened and That Mattered in 2016

1.  Inventory is everywhere. Some of the big global players – Agoda, Booking, Airbnb – passed the 1mm properties live and bookable threshold (and climbing). You can truly book online for anywhere in the world.

2.  Google the OTA. Google has products that make them an OTA, even if they refuse to say it.

3.  A year to remember. 2016 will be remember like other big event years. Like 1989 for the fall of the Berlin Wall and 2001 for the 9/11 Attacks. We will remember and write for years about the events of 2016 – Brexit, Trump, Syria, Nice and more.

3 Top Predictions for 2017

1. “Losing Loads of Money” will stop being a business plan. With the IPO of Trivago and tightening in economic conditions we will see many of the Asian travel companies building a business off massive losses feel the pressure to move to the real world of sustainable, profitable, business models.

2. Direct and OTA will co-exist. Property owners will become more and more aware that direct and indirect (ie OTA) distribution are complementary not competitive channels.

3.  Chat rules, calls don’t. Chat will take a more prominent role in everything. We are not yet at “peak chat” – where chat completely kills voice. And 2017 wont be the year for “peak chat”. But it will be the year for some changes in customer behaviour (and that travel company products) driven by the accelerated use of chat.


 ken-mishima-photo-website

 

Ken Mishima, VP Ecommerce Strategy, i.JTB

3 Top Things That Happened and That Mattered in 2016

1.   Online really matters. Any players connected to internet now concerning on online marketing & distribution. TripAdvisor moved to transactions while earning their most of revenue as medias which clients are OTAs and suppliers. Hotels and Airlines’ key strategy is direct distribution via online which pressured OTAs and any online community. At a local level, hitting nearly 40% online penetration in Japan and still growing. Online was discussed as ‘as part of’, but now it must be everyone’s core strategy.

2.   New opportunity matters. SG enjoyed their strategic injection of casino business with Suns group for some years which justified the new angle really matters to the industry if it was done well. Inbound into Japan developed the new market segment with strong traffic of over 20M PPL. Likely 24M PPL by the end of the year. To accommodate this demand for their stays, vacation rental can be the only hope to the market. Travel is the old fashion, but these new waves even push policy makers to think differently.

3.   Re-starting:  Consolidation

Growing stars or big players in segment were becoming the part of big ones. Meta, Hotels, OTAs, etc… Yet seeing the outcome of these games if it can be good for customers/partners, or providing more financial pressures to them with some returns.

3 Top Predictions for 2017

1.  Data, data, data management and analytics – to be ready for new user experience. Voice, Text/chatbot, graphic search. Also the form of new traffic or customer acquisition which can be unique to voice/chatbot etc – which does not match with conventional web marketing strategy and operation model.

2.  Partnership model with suppliers (from OTA/online distributor standpoints). Now we are living at the age of suppliers if their products are strong and unique. What would be the role of distributors – if they are not Expedia nor Priceline. What would be the new agenda for them to survive and grow?

3.  Any more new sharing model for travel? Home, building, space, car-ride, suitcase, and what else? Would it also become main stream of user experience?

Author:  WIT

Source:  http://www.webintravel.com/reflections-2016-predictions-2017-part

Categorized in Business Research

2016 was the banner year for cyber security – and not in a good way. But what does 2017 have in store?

There is no denying that 2016 was a big year for cybercrime. From the Bank of Bangladesh/SWIFT heist in February to the Dyn DDoS attack a few weeks ago, there was plenty of proof that hackers are getting smarter and their innovation is on a growth trajectory.

If there is one good thing derived from these hacks, it is that they have made alarm bells ring loud and true for consumers and organisations alike. This is the starting point for five cyber security predictions for the year ahead.

1. Consumers will prioritise security when deciding which companies to do business with

Following high-profile data breaches in 2016, including Yahoo and Three Mobile, consumers are more anxious than ever about the downstream financial crime that follows a cyber attack.

As the realisation of what a criminal can achieve once they have taken our data sinks in, consumers are beginning to demand guarantees that their services providers are safe.

In 2017, a trend will emerge around customers wanting to understand more about the security of the organisations they do business with.

Just as companies promote ‘seals of approval’ for accomplishments like being ‘green’, promoting gender equality or having accident-free workplaces, customers will look for some sort of seal of assurance that the companies they do business with have a strong cybersecurity posture.

In fact, Ofcom has recently highlighted that broadband providers such as BT are worse at customer service than financial services providers and must do more to deliver a reliable internet connection.

2. Consumers will take ownership of their own cybersecurity

The great doorbell hack of 2016 kicked off the year with a loud ding-dong. Hackers have figured out that smart home devices, such as doorbells and refrigerators, are gateways to home Wi-Fi networks and email logins.

Similarly, to how they developed new and more inventive scams to get hold of consumers’ data in the ‘90s, this is just the beginning of consumer-targeted cybercrime.

As people add more Internet of Things (IoT) devices to their smart homes and take more of their daily affairs online, the security of their online environment will become even more important.

In 2017, new services will emerge that allow consumers to evaluate their own cyber security as they work to protect their data and savings from criminals, and strive to take ownership of our cybersecurity.

3. Consumers and businesses will acknowledge the threat potential of IoT devices

Beyond hacked doorbells and refrigerators, certain IoT devices, like self-driving cars, can present serious security threats. Expect more attacks to follow, especially as it is currently easier for a hacker to create an IoT botnet to compromise a device than it is to phish for data in traditional ways. There is a serious lack of security features in the code developed for IoT devices which needs to be addressed.

Due to the risk some of these devices pose to human life, it should be no surprise to hear that the security of IoT coding will come under stricter scrutiny than ever before.

As IoT devices become widely used by businesses and individuals alike, people and organisations will make security considerations a priority in their decisions to use smart devices, not an afterthought.

4. Businesses will assess the cyber security of their own and partners’ networks

Led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) directive requiring banks to manage risks – including cybersecurity risk – in their third-party relationships, companies in all industries will start paying a lot more attention to their business partners’ cybersecurity posture in 2017.

 

Most businesses have large and complex networks of partners, suppliers, vendors and other stakeholders with whom they exchange information on a regular basis. This means that the web of risk is incredibly wide, and a security breach in any link of the chain can expose the entire network.

Boardrooms across all industries have brought concerns about partner network security to the top of their agenda, so in 2017 we will see growth in the adoption of tools that assess risk across the entire network and bring a company’s security status to the forefront for partners, enterprises, and insurers.

5. Biometric security data may become the biggest security vulnerability of all

It started with the innovative Apple TouchID, developed to make it easier for consumers to unlock their phones. But, in 2016, we have seen biometric identification go mainstream – even three year old kids’ fingerprints are being captured when they visit Disney World.

Many believe that biometric security data is safer than digit-based passwords and, if used correctly, it may be so. However, in the wrong hands, biometric security data also has explosive potential.

In the aftermath of the compromise of 5.6 million US government military, civilian and contractor personnel fingerprints, Eva Velasquez, CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, explained that stolen fingerprints may be a big problem in the future.

This is especially the case if biometric technology is used to verify bank accounts, home security systems and even travel verifications.

Author:  Ben Rossi

Source:  http://www.information-age.com/5-cyber-security-predictions-2017-123463528

Categorized in Internet Privacy
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