Top Six Software Development Trends for 2017

Every new year brings with it a range of possibilities, especially when it comes to Software Development, which is a rapidly evolving business environment, with constantly changing technologies.

In a world where consumers are fickle and markets are ever changing, businesses must be more responsive to new opportunities, competition and consumer demand in order to make better business decisions. This means staying up to date with the latest trends in Software Development and refining and upgrading existing services to improve both customer satisfaction and the bottom line.

Below are some of the top six Software Development trends predicted for 2017.

Mobile Phone Technology

With the rising use of smartphones and tablets changing the way in which people communicate and do business, mobile phone technology is expected to evolve rapidly over the next 12 months.

Aside from standard improvements to mobile phone features, such as bigger screens, longer battery life and higher-resolution cameras, we can also expect advancements in mobile phone functions including retina scanning, development of wearable sensors which track biomedical and environmental information such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature, and mix and match smartphones, whereby users can customise their mobile phone according to their individual needs.

As mobile phones become more sophisticated in their abilities, the demand for new and innovative mobile applications will also increase, with mobile application development considered one of the fastest growing (and most lucrative) industries at present.

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Chatbots

Chatbots are computer programs designed to hold an online conversation with human users, either for the purposes of answering queries and addressing problems, providing information, conducting sales, or any other type of communication. Chatbots are a primary channel for businesses to interact with their customers and are commonly observed in online retailers, providing a new means of communication for users who would rather converse via message than wait on the other end of the phone and talk to a live salesperson.

Chatbots are fast becoming an everyday part of our working lives, with the potential to schedule meetings, act as a reminder service, report on key business information and respond to a range of customer queries.

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Artificial Intelligence

In the past, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was something we heard about in the movies, but today’s technology brings it much closer to reality. More businesses are investing money into Artificial Intelligence, allowing consumers to interact with their computer using voice commands, in a bid to improve functionality and increase performance. Artificial Intelligence is more sophisticated than chatbots, with the ability to learn, plan, problem solve and recognise speech patterns.

Artificial Intelligence can convert speech to text, search the web for information, set alarms and reminders, show news and weather information, and conduct mathematical calculations, amongst other features.

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Cloud Computing

With major concerns about data protection and security, the use of Cloud services is on the rise, with services such as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), allowing clients to bill consumers according to their actual needs.

SaaS is the most popular and recognised form of cloud service, allowing users to access web-based applications over the internet, rather than investing in complex software installation, management and maintenance.

While PaaS bears some similarities to SaaS, instead of delivering software over the internet, it provides a platform for the development of software, which is then sent via the internet. This service allows users to manage their online applications without having to consider software updates, operating systems and other ICT infrastructure.

IaaS is another on-demand service which delivers Cloud Computing infrastructure, allowing users to access cloud resources such as servers, storage, network and operating systems as they need to, rather than having to purchase the whole infrastructure.

An increasing number of businesses are projected to adopt Cloud Computing Services over the next 12 months, in an attempt to reduce their IT expenditure and to ensure greater data security in a world where cybercrime is prevalent.  

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Automation

While many businesses employ automation as a means of improving and expediting the quality of service they offer, the following year will prove to be transformative for IT automation.

Automation is currently used for a variety of business tasks in the insurance, financial and healthcare sectors (amongst others), for the purpose of claims processing, policy administration, patient registration, data analytics, order updates and many others.

Self-regulating systems run more efficiently and predictably and can offer clients the same consistent service time and time again.  Automation allows time-consuming and repetitive tasks to be accomplished more efficiently, reducing the need for human intervention and allowing a more efficient allocation of financial and staffing resources.

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Augmented Reality

With Pokemon GO attracting widespread attention, Augmented Reality is fast becoming a popular feature in order to enhance the gaming experience.

Augmented Reality (AR), gives users the impression that virtual objects are present in their real world, through computer-generated content superimposed over live images.

Modifying ones’ perception of reality, AR is more than just a passing phase, with endless possibilities for its use. In Medicine, AR can be used to project a real-time image of a patient’s veins and superimpose it directly onto the skin, giving the impression that the skin is transparent- hence, allowing the doctor to directly see the veins.

Students can also use this feature to bring a new dimension to learning, for example, in Science class, students can scan different items in the laboratory and quickly learn the various safety procedures for use of that equipment. Alternatively, they can use AR to create video profiles and live footage to enhance a school yearbook.  

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The above-mentioned software trends, whilst nothing revolutionary, are rapidly shaping the face of business. Progressively, over the coming months and years, they will become more mainstream, with lots of updates and advanced functionality, in an attempt at improving customer service, and ensuring long term business security and stability.