2017 will once again be a rich year of development in all sectors with significant technological advances in several fields: artificial intelligence, robotics, and connected systems and 5G wireless network.

As the industry continues to evolve, we observe six key trends that will impact business in 2017.

  1. Companies will gain greater visibility on their assets, personnel and transactions

Objects will talk: they are increasingly tagged using barcodes, RFID chips, beacons or sensors. Connected objects now have a digital voice that allows them to communicate with humans. In 2017, with these objects capable of “communicating”, the business environment should be increasingly “efficient” in terms of data exchanged and analyzed in real time.

Systems now help translate figures, printed patterns or coded data into texts that can be easily interpreted and understood by humans. This evolution will encourage companies to develop tools to gain greater visibility in real time and better locate their assets, or know their exact situation at a given moment. This should also cause an increase in demand for data capture systems.

  1. Give meaning to data before it is “obsolete”

In recent years, we have witnessed an exponential growth of unstructured data in almost all industrial sectors shattered by the Internet of Things and data analysis. However, the problem remains unchanged for many companies that are unable to extract the useful operational information from these data quickly enough before they lose their intrinsic value.

At this rate, the concept of “perishable data” is more relevant than ever. Businesses must be able to exploit this data before it becomes obsolete or unnecessary.  One of the challenges that companies will face in 2017 will be to translate the captured data into decision-making analyzes, with as much speed as possible.

  1. Doing more with better mobile devices

We anticipate that more and more functions and services will be integrated into a single terminal dedicated to the corporate world and we also anticipate a demand for mobile devices that scan, measure objects using mobile sizing technologies.

  1. Artificial intelligence and automation to solve supple chain challenges

Despite some concerns about artificial intelligence and automation that are taking the place of human beings, supply chain strategy specialists favor the wider use of these Technologies in 2017, in order to increase the productivity of employees.

  1. Localization, a key factor in customer satisfaction

In 2017, localization technologies – some in the form of applications with drones – will be further advanced to improve the customer experience in sectors such as retail, hospitality, healthcare and manufacturing.

  1. The appearance of genuine trade

2017 will be a record year for distribution. The companies are focusing on innovative technologies and processes to increase its margins and improve the customer experience. Traditional stores are under considerable pressure due to the growing popularity of online business and, more recently, Click & Collect, which require them to carry out part of their online business.

Almost counter to the current trend, some retailers who offer their products online yet come to open traditional stores. For example, Amazon, which is known for digitizing the publishing sector and forcing the printing profession to open, opened its first traditional store at the end of 2015. And the company announced its intention to open new stores in the years to come.

Maintaining the same level of customer experience online and offline is also a significant challenge. How can customers, for example, “navigate” in a traditional store as easily as they already do in a virtual store? So many questions and challenges that retailers must seriously consider.