This article was originally published on Inc.com.
By John Brandon
Other than a few minor political changes (ahem) and the distinct possibility that Apple could top $1 trillion dollars in iPhone-related sales, there are many other tech trends worth noting. Some of these, like 5G wireless, will emerge and take shape. Others will mature to the point where you might end up buying a few devices for your employees.
1. 5G wireless: All eyes are on 5G in 2017. This faster, more reliable, and more pervasive next-gen wireless signal will make smartphones and tablets even more valuable. Speeds as high as 1 Gbps (or even up to 10 Gbps) could change how video-conferencing on mobile works
2. Virtual reality: Virtual reality hit some bumps last year, especially when the Oculus Rift didn’t ship with controllers and is now the subject of a lawsuit. However, the Sony PlayStation VR debuted late last year and the games are outstanding, the setup is easy, and it works without a high-end PC. The games will only get better (and maybe we won’t get as sick).
3. Augmented reality: Along with VR, it’s close cousin is also going to be big in 2017. Augmented reality is a digital overlay on top of the real world, and it’s been around for years. However, companies like Acer, Lenovo, and especially Microsoft will launch augmented reality headsets in 2017 to help with training, sales demos, and more.
4. 3D scanning: I’m still waiting for 3D printing to become accessible for the masses, but 3D scanning already is. At CES 2017, I saw a demo where an HP rep scanned a shoe in 3D space by holding it in front of a camera on the Sprout Pro G2 computer. Anyone can do that, and the results–a fully 3D rendered image–worked perfectly.
5. Chatbots: About halfway through the year in 2016, chatbots that can handle your travel plans or tell you the weather became hot. In 2017, they will get much smarter, possibly telling you how to spend your money more wisely or even monitoring your health when you are on a diet.