Deloitte

Blockchain technology may prove most valuable in the ‘trust economy’, according to Deloitte’s ’2017 Tech Trends’ report.

The paper notes that blockchain tech is outgrowing its adolescent cryptocurrency identity – as it becomes recognisable as a standalone technology and not just as bitcoin’s underlying ledger.

Blockchain’s potential, the report says, goes beyond simply removing legal and financial intermediaries in a contractual agreement, as it assumes the role of trusted gatekeeper and purveyor of transparency in the emerging ‘trust economy’.

“This latest use case may be blockchain’s most potentially valuable to date,” it claims.

According to the report, companies across the globe will likely begin exploring blockchain opportunities that involve some aspects of digital reputation within the next 18 to 24 months.

Cited in the report, Airbnb co-founder and CTO Nathan Blecharczyk, said he “could certainly see some of these more novel types of signals being plugged into our engine”.

This, the report adds, represents a significant power shift from large, centralised trust agents to the individual.

“While its broader implications may not be fully understood for years to come, it is hardly a death knell for banks, credit agencies, and other transactional intermediaries.

“It may mean, however, that with blockchain as the gatekeeper of identity and trust, business and government will have to create new ways to engage the individual – and to add value and utility in the rapidly evolving trust economy,” the report adds.

Augmented and virtual reality

AR and VR may still be nascent, but the enterprise potential of these technologies is continuing to grow as businesses explore use cases and move beyond pilot programmes.

According to the report, these efforts intersect with opportunities facilitated by the Internet of Things (IoT), which enables smart devices to be interconnected with each other.

Despite the flurry of activity in the sector, the report says many individuals and companies overlook the larger implications of AR’s and VR’s emergence.

For example, the report highlights how design patterns have dramatically evolved, with 2D screens paving the way for tools that use sensors, gestures, voice, context and digital content to help humans interact more naturally with the increasingly intelligent world around them.

“Though it may be several years before mixed reality’s ultimate end game materialises, the time to begin exploring this dynamic new world – and the digital assets it comprises – is now,” it says.

Looking at the future

The report also explored the future business applications for nanotechnologies, energy systems, biotech and quantum tech.

These, it says, may seem some light-years away, but in reality they are approaching rapidly.

“In the next three to five years, expect to see business use cases emerge and pioneering deployments accelerate around these once-fabricated technologies,” it adds.

With this in mind, the report highlights that CIOs and CTOs are increasingly exploring with these and other kind of exponential technologies.

“These leaders understand that waiting for exponentials to manifest as mature technology trends before taking action may be waiting too long,” concludes the report.

If you’re interested in finding out more about blockchain technology, take a look at our Blockchain Issue.