Predictions 2016: The Leap to the Intelligence Age?

First published in the Society of Computers and Law on December 8, 2015. Co-written with Emma Wright.

With the number of connected devices growing exponentially, devices — be they wearables, household goods or connected vehicles — will become the industrial setting for increasingly intelligent services. We have come a long way since predictive texting. The value-add of a service offered on a device will become a differentiator. We believe this will lead to: i) an increasing focus on the embedded software and platforms used on devices, both as to user-friendliness and the ability to monetise; and ii) a spotlight on cyber security and data ethics: trust is going to remain key, both in relation to consumers being prepared to share their data but also in the way a brand will be damaged if there is a breach of security. We also expect the convergence of delivery platforms and business models to continue but with increasing targeting of specific end-users.

Broadband everywhere will remain a priority, and with continued improvements in connectivity it is likely that data will become the basis of a modern day gold rush, as legislatures and companies alike see the value of data as the new currency of modern transactions and look for commercial models to deliver this increased connectivity. Our view is that investment will focus on both infrastructure costs and new disruptive business models but also on security and privacy systems, including the advancement of the fifth domain of war to match heightened global tensions. And with the EU’s focus on consolidation in the telecom sector — and the depth and breadth of its Digital Single Market proposals — we expect regulators in all regulated utility sectors to increase enforcement of consumer legislation.

As with any period of rapid, technology driven change, 2016 will see exciting new goods and services come to the market, changes to our daily routines and regulators and legislators trying to play catch up. 2016 has the potential to move from the Information Age to the Intelligence Age.

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