This year is likely to see low-key innovations, but their widespread use will improve lives and incomes, even if the technologies are not spectacular or attention-grabbing The big innovation stories of 2017 are so familiar to us that we sometimes forget how significant and unexpected they were. By this I mean both global as well as Indian examples of ideas that either, reached the edge of realisation or actually crossed over into market availability, rather than being tantalisingly just out of reach.

As an example of this last category of ‘not-quite-there’, we should consider virtual reality. Despite tremendous hype, and the intuitive feeling that it should obviously appeal to us to be immersed in our own virtual worlds, virtual reality (VR) and its cousin augmented reality (AR) made slow progress.

Their use cases seem relatively far away, although there are some quick wins that are obvious, for instance in gaming, real estate, training and so on. But there is no ‘killer app’ for them, at least yet.

The Gartner Group, in its ‘hype cycle’ chart for 2017, showed them past their peak hype, and declining. First, let us review the innovations that had the most impact in 2017: 1.

Blockchain and the meteoric rise of its first application, crypto-currencies like Bitcoin 2. Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and China’s unexpected rise in these areas 3. Read more from…

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