How will they impact technology in 2017?

2016 was an interesting year, but since it’s not polite to talk politics, Menlo picked and deconstructed 7 of the top technology stories of 2016. How will they impact technology in 2017?

1. Samsung Galaxy Note

In October, Samsung halted production and sales of the Galaxy Note 7 after failing to correct a problem that caused the devices to explode.

The company said it “conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.”

Owners were able to return the phones for a refund or an exchange for a different Samsung phone.

Heading into 2017:

How will Samsung bounce back?

According to media reports, Samsung’s upcoming flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone could give users the ability to plug it into a screen and turn it into a desktop personal computer.

Samsung typically releases its flagship Galaxy phone at Mobile World Congress towards the end of February / beginning of March, but according to a report by CNBC, it could be slightly later this year just to make sure that the S8 will not suffer the same fate as the Note 7. Meanwhile, Samsung is slated to release a full report into the Note 7 debacle in late January.

Stay tuned.

2. iPhone 7

Apple caused a commotion after confirming that the iPhone 7 would come without the standard 3.5mm headphone jack and only be eqipped with a Lightning port. A pair of Lightning earbuds, as well as an adaptor for traditional headphone jacks, is included in the box with the iPhone 7. Apple named three reasons for the headphone jack’s removal:

  1. A Lightning dongle can adapt older devices
  2. It frees up space inside the phone for other tech
  3. It furthers Apple’s vision for better audio.

Heading into 2017:

According to the Verge, “Getting rid of (the jack) does start to accomplish certain goals for Apple. It frees up more space inside the iPhone, which is supposedly already being used up for other tech, and it begins shifting technology as a whole away from an analog standard and toward newer, digital alternatives. It will also sell more Beats headphones.”

3. Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2016, Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26 billion, Dell completed its deal to buy EMC for $67 billion and AT&T said it intends to buy Time Warner for $85 billion.

Heading into 2017:

It will be interesting to see how these mergers and acquisitions, including the Microsoft/LinkedIn merger, will take shape.

“The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world’s professionals,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics, as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet.”

Here is what Jeff Weiner, who will remain CEO of LinkedIn and report to Nadella, has to say about the move:

“We want to step back and allow capital, all forms of capital, intellectual capital, working capital, and human capital to flow, to where it can best be leveraged and in doing so, help lift and transform the global economy.”

As for the Dell EMC deal, Dell is leveraging its EMC acquisition to offer services and solutions for companies to cope with the fast-transforming digital landscape.

“To ensure that they’re not “Uber’d”, “Airbnb’d” or “Tesla’d” in their marketplace, today’s organizations must embark on a digital transformation,” said David Goulden, president, Infrastructure Solutions Group, Dell EMC. ” To truly realize their digital future, we believe the vast majority of organizations will transform their IT through a hybrid cloud strategy.”

“The first ‘no regrets’ step,” he continued,  “is to modernize their data center through the most advanced converged infrastructure, servers, storage, data protection, and cybersecurity technologies to name a few.”

4. Still moving to the cloud.

Cloud computing remained a hot topic in 2016, as a growing number of firms moved from operating their own data centers to operating software and infrastructure to the cloud. Researcher Gartner Inc. predicted in April that global spending on cloud services would grow 16% to $204.2 billion in 2016.

In 2016, Companies like General Electric and Netflix decided to drastically reduce or eliminate their data centers, and others continue to following suit. Health care and medical devices pioneer Johnson & Johnson has reported their intention aiming to have 85% of its applications in the cloud by 2018.

Heading into 2017:

Companies will continue to embrace a “hybrid” cloud model, and more vendors will roll out hybrid services. At Menlo, we’re looking forward to seeing the impact of the release of Microsoft Azure Stack in 2017, and the availability of new Amazon AWS products such as Snowball Edge and Snowmobile.

5. Emerging technologies make landfall inside companies.

In a report from the Wall Street Journal, GE announced plans to roll out sensors, software and tablets while tapping augmented reality (kind of like PokémonGo) in some of its supply chains to help factory workers assemble complex machine components The conglomerate also said it was taking some employees off its corporate network and allowing them to access any work app over the internet. GE said it hoped the move would improve user experience and guard against potential network threats.

Heading into 2017:

So-called serverless computing, a setup in which application developers no longer have to manage physical and virtual servers.’s Amazon Web Services and Pivotal Software Inc. have already joined the fray.

6. Digital Health

Digital health investments continued to grow in 2016, yet more funding went to fewer deals. According to a report from StartUp Health on 2016 digital health, deal flow recorded a whopping $7.9 billion invested in 585 companies. Among the trends in 2016:

  • Non U.S. companies accounted for three of the top 10 deals,
  • Digital health companies with products centered on the patient experience accounted for the most deals this year raising (collectively) $2 billion.
  • GE Ventures, Safeguard Scientifics, and StartUp Health dramatically ramped up digital health investment in 2016 compared with the previous year.

Heading into 2017:

Look for a flood of new healthcare apps. Currently, there are at least 265,000 mobile health apps, according to a report on Marketplace Health. The trick is distinguishing the digital tools that improve care from the ones that have little impact or can even can harm people.

A project out of Mt. Sinai Health System in New York City has developed an app to offer that service. “Prescription Universe” evaluates and ranks apps it considers among the safest and most valuable.

7. Virtual Assistants

The global virtual assistant market is projected to exceed $3 billion by 2020.

Headed into 2017:

Look for dramatic shift in consumer adoption in 2017 as new assistants including Amazon Echo, Google Assistant, Siri, and Microsoft Cortana become increasingly useful at home, at work and in the car. Not only will individuals benefit from these new voices in your ear, but retail, medical, enterprise and industrial use cases will increase in the coming years with productivity and efficiency as the drivers.

“Wait!”, you say, “What about driverless cars, fake news and hacking?”

To be continued…