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Startups often rise to greatness by taking trends and new technology and running with it in a new direction. They make the latest trends the center of their startup, or they leverage trends in combination for new products and services.

Either way, trends are important for the startup. This is especially true when it comes to tech trends.

With that in mind, and with 2017 now before us, here are four of the most important tech trends that entrepreneurs and startups should be thinking about today.

Startups Increase Their Livestreaming Endeavors

Periscope and Facebook Live are just the start. While livestreaming video apps have existed for several years now, and social media platforms are just now carrying the torch, most people have yet to  grasp the huge market opportunity and societal change that is coming as a result of livestreaming video, also known as interactive broadcasting.

For a glimpse into the future, take a peek at what is going on in China today.

As of June, roughly 46 percent of China’s internet population used a livestreaming app, and Credit Suisse projects that the personal livestreaming market in China will reach $5 billion in 2017, only $2 billion less than the market for movies in China and half the size of China’s lucrative mobile gaming market.

Livestreaming enables businesses to create content by just showing up with a performer and letting viewers guide the interaction. The technology can be used for brand promotion, content creation, community, and many other ways that are just now being invented.

In China, for instance, businesses have figured out how to monetize livestreaming by enabling viewers to get attention from performers by purchasing stickers they then give to the performer as a cash reward.

New technology and infrastructure provided by interactive broadcasting firms like Agora.io help startups add livestreaming to their app or web site easily and cost-effectively.

Startups Exploit the IoT for a Better Customer Experience

Customers are getting picky. They now come armed with more research than consumers in generations past, and they know that there usually are several options for any given product or service after a quick Google search. This means that customer experience is an increasingly important way to capture consumers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one way that businesses can drive heightened customer experience, and 2017 should be the year that we start seeing IoT mixed with customer service in new ways to up the game of savvy firms.

Statista predicts that there will be more than 50 billion connected devices by 2020, and $6 trillion will be invested in IoT over the next five years.

The connected car is one example of IoT used for better customer experience. Car companies can now proactively monitor almost every facet of the driving experience, including engine performance, lights, tire pressure, etc. With this IoT data, they then can send warnings and notifications to customers for maintenance or opportunities such as filling up the gas tank when passing a fueling station with cheap gas.

Even The Smallest Startups Finally Take Advantage of Big Data

Big data is the next big thing. We all know that. Currently only Fortune 500 firms usually harness big data effectively, though, since a lot of the promise of big data has traditionally required data scientists, complex Hadoop instances and fancy analytics platforms. The average business is not using big data today.

That’s set to start changing in 2017, however. A lot of startups are making big data more approachable by scaling it a little smaller and removing the complexity behind their cloud platform. This makes it more accessible for smaller firms and those without deep pockets for technology spend.

Firms such as ClearStory Data are making big data easier to use, and startups like Agile CRM are helping even one-man businesses harness their customer data for better insights.

The result is that business is going to start getting more data-focused, and all this talk of big data is going to translate into real business intelligence that businesses will use.

Startups Capitalize on Augmented Reality; Over VR…For Now

All those virtual reality goggles aside, virtual reality isn’t exactly getting the traction people predicted. As VentureBeat noted recently, virtual reality sales are not exactly hot.

What’s doing better is augmented reality, as shown by the Pokemon Go craze last summer. Goldman Sachs predicts the augmented reality market will be $80 billion market in 2025, which makes sense since the technology captures the mixture of digital with real life but without the need for the extra kit.

One area where augmented reality should be particularly hot in 2017 is the business-to-business space. Roughly 67 percent of businesses are considering augmented reality use in their enterprise, according to Tech Pro Research, with 20 percent of businesses planning to use it in 2017.

As a recent Ziff Davis article noted, “The question isn’t if there’s potential for growth, but more about how much it will grow and if there will be any limits.”

There are many trends to watch in 2017, but these four are some of the largest—and some of the trends that are most ripe for helping entrepreneurs come up with new ways to disrupt the market.

Co-Authored By:

Peter Scott is a journalist and editor who has been covering business, technology and lifestyle trends for more than 20 years. You can contact him at PeterEditorial@gmail.com. And, JT Ripton is a freelance business and technology writer out of Tampa. He loves to write to inform, educate and provoke minds. Follow him on twitter @JTRipton



JT Ripton JT Ripton
JT is a business consultant and freelance contributor for sites like BusinessInsider, Entrepreneur.com, The Guardian, Tech Radar, etc. @JTRipton