Looking Back at Our Predictions for 2017

How Did Our Expectations Compare with Reality?

In late 2016 CCS Insight presented 80 predictions about the future of the connected world. We rounded up those that have played out in the past 12 months and identified 10 that have come true and five that were wide of the mark.

Three Predictions We Got Right

Autonomous cars with no human driver remain a research project until at least 2025. In the wake of some high-profile failures, firms involved in self-driving car projects are taking a more measured approach. After a pedestrian was hit and killed by an autonomous Uber vehicle in Arizona, the company announced it was shuttering self-driving operations in the state. In December 2017, Volvo announced it was delaying tests of autonomous cars in Sweden by four years, as well as reducing the scale and scope of testing.

Machine learning overtakes the Internet of things as a hot investment area in 2017. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have become the tech industry’s biggest buzzwords over the past 12 months, with the “AI” label attached to any number of products in the hope of catching an investor’s — or a purchaser’s — eye. Alongside such flimsy claims lie serious investments in machine learning by the likes of Alibaba, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Tencent.

In 2017, the world’s top 10 smartphone makers increase their share of the market. The share of the top 10 smartphone makers globally went from 74 percent in 2016 to 79 percent in 2017, and progressed to 80 percent in 1Q18 (see Quarterly Market Analysis: Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 1Q18). As the market has matured it has consolidated around a few large providers. Recent trade sanctions against ZTE jeopardize its place in the top 10 and may result in further consolidation.

One We Got Wrong

Microsoft extends its Surface as a Service programme to consumers in 2017. We expected Microsoft to bring its enterprise-focussed Surface leasing programme to the consumer market within 18 months of its launch in the US. Although its Surface business is performing well, posting a 32 percent rise in revenue in fiscal 3Q18 and debuting a new Surface Book, the company appears to be placing more emphasis on its cloud and enterprise offerings than on consumer products. Given the appeal of as-a-service products, we believe this prediction may still occur in the next two years.

A full review of 15 of our predictions is available for download free of charge. To get your copy, simply fill in the form below and click Submit.