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12 Predictions for digital and tech innovation in 2017

To round off the year we thought we would ask your elected representatives - the Manchester Digital Council - for their thoughts and predictions on what trends and changes we will see to the digital and technology industry in 2017. 

Whilst 2016 has been politically turbulent - and we’re still not out the other side - our businesses have remained upbeat and the majority of our predictions follow suit. 
As you would expect AR, VR and AI are frequently mentioned, some are predicting another great year for the region with increasing numbers of people relocating here and the investment made into the sector in the last few years really paying off. 
Thank you to all of our members for your continued support and we look forwards to working with you and making some of these predictions come true in 2017:
“The rise of non-gaming utilisation of VR and AR technologies in systems, with particular emphasis on concierge and Customer service applications will be apparent in 2017”. - Graham Benson, Rentalcars.com
“From artificial intelligence and machine learning, through to payment platforms and virtual reality, 2017 is the year we see many of the most exciting new technologies start to mature, bringing significant opportunities for the burgeoning technology sector in Manchester.  We are a city quick to collaborate, and agile enough to take advantage of disruption, and perhaps this gives us the best platform to become a leader on the most disruptive technologies for the next decade”. - Vikas Shah, Swiscot
“I can't foresee a 2017 where the skills shortage doesn't continue to occupy the top spot in every digital employer's worry list. However, the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and the devolution of skills money to the GM region gives us an unparalleled opportunity to invest in our talent pipeline in new ways and make a start on closing the gap”. - Alison Ross, Auto Trader
“While the world went crazy around us in 2016, Manchester continued to go about its business in becoming a global force to be reckoned with in tech. With two new tech hubs already announced for next year - creating thousands of jobs - 2017 could be the year we finally shake off the patronising ‘up and coming label’ and prove we’ve actually ‘arrived’.” - Daniel Keighron Foster, Steamhaus
“The consensus is that there will be something like 50 billion internet of things devices by 2020 and a market of $15-20 trillion – 2017 will just be the start”. - Paul Bason, Manchester Metropolitan University
“Major shifts in world politics will encourage more people to use technology for direct action against things they see as unjust. Also look out for greater awareness of, and emphasis on, encryption as the Investigatory Powers Act comes into force and faces its first tests”. - Martin Bryant, Tech North
“2017 will be the tipping point when investment in new connectivity infrastructure starts to accelerate and switches to pure fibre”. - Shaun Fensom
“The rumours of SEOs death have been exaggerated. 2017 will see the introduction of the mobile first index and the growth of voice search with devices like Amazon Echo. Have you thought ahead?” - Simon Wharton, Push On
“We're going to see the use of machine learning (or cognitive computing) become more mainstream in both the private and public sectors, as platforms, such as IBM Watson, become more accessible”. - Richard Gregory, Tech North
“AI and automation will continue their rapid rise; putting increasing pressure for value to be awarded to more thinking, and less making”. - Tom Cull, iProspect
“We will see the rise of E-learning platforms in conjunction with VR”. - Ajay Kapedia, Fabric
“2017 will be the year of the great invasion of Manchester, the city's profile has never been higher and we will see talent moving here to take advantage of the great jobs and lifestyle, helped of course by the Manchester Digital relocation campaign”. - Gemma Cameron, The Coop and HackManchester
What are your predictions for digital and technology in 2017? Do you agree with any our predictions? Join the conversation using #MDPredicts on Twitter. Follow us on twitter @mcrdig