Five industries facing imminent turning points

Predictions, expectations and almost-certainties. Whatever sector you work in, chances are this month you’ve been reading an article written by someone who professes to have the ability to look into the future, see through the veil of the unknown, and come up with some sure fire points that show just how your job will change before the end of the next 12 months...

Pish-posh, some might say. People can no more read the tea leaves than they can use hindsight to avoid making poor decisions. Nevertheless, those who know their industry well enough will understand that with some careful assessment of where things are and what they know is just around the corner, there’s every chance they can make some pretty accurate statements about what we should all be bracing ourselves for as the weeks begin to unfold.

Still not convinced? No problem - I’ve come up with the following list of industries that are likely to be disrupted in 2017. Better yet, I’ve explained exactly how, why, and, where possible, included a comment from the experts. From blockchain technology - cited by some among the most significant developments since the birth of the internet itself - to web development, drugs, and print publishing - all of which are set for big changes.

Publishing

Print is dead, as so many have been saying for so long. My response would be "long live print". In recent years, as Augmented Reality technology has become more accessible and affordable, several publishers have been experimenting with what can be done with AR and print, culminating in Design Exchange magazine’s last issue, which featured the technology on the cover, within its articles, and adverts. Automatically streaming video content to supplement the written word, ads that showcase products in dazzling detail, and a cover that animates itself were among the highlights.

"Everyone has been saying the publishing industry needs to change to keep up with the digital age, I believe AR and VR are now offering this change by mixing the physicality of print with the digital world," explains Design Exchange founder and publisher, David Morris. "As the first design magazine in the UK to use augmented reality in this way, we aim to continue to disrupt the publishing industry in 2017 by breaking the mould of what print is supposed to be through interactive editorial, 3D / AR advertising and more."

Web development

Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, is the latest trick in the SEO book. Put simply, this is an open-source protocol that allows for the creation of web pages that load up almost automatically on mobile devices - instant browsing, to put it another way. Digital marketing expert Daina Renton quotes Barry Adams, SEO consultant at Polemic Digital, as saying, "Keep a sharp eye on AMP for eCommerce and the way AMP results will be highlighted in SERPs. Already we see Google highlighting the advantages of AMP to its users - if this takes a stronger hold, AMP could well become the new de facto standard for mobile web pages."

Music distribution

If you don’t know what blockchain technology is, get ready to learn something new today, and prepare to hear a lot about it this year. Experts claim this is the most important development since the birth of the internet. Put simply, blockchain is information shared across multiple sites, users, devices and locations. It cannot and never will be centralised, but instead instantly updates publicly.

The result means when people use blockchain the information cannot be hacked, corrupted, copied or falsified. For the music industry, that means start-ups like Peertracks, Ujo Music, and Mycelia are building solutions to allow artists to truly cut out middle men, networks or platforms, and avoid pesky pirates - hence everything from record labels to Soundcloud feeling rather nervous right now.

Cloud storage

Another result of blockchain technology, companies like Storj, Siacoin, and Filecoin are now allowing businesses to rent out their unused cloud based storage space to others, for a fee. The result, according to Nasdaq.com, is "a decentralized, crowd-sourced cloud storage solution that is substantially less prone to cyber attacks and data loss".

Drugs

Forbes has predicted that 2017 will be the year of the "marijuana tech boom". With evidence to show that usage rates have barely changed since decriminalisation, and revenues from cannabis in US states like Colorado skyrocketing, nobody is expecting the laws to revert back to the pre-legalised era. More so, experts and stoners alike are already getting hyped about ideas like fully automated grows, perfectly calibrated lighting, and high tech software that can control the germination and cultivation, ensuring the required regulations for clean, high quality medicinal marijuana will be easy to meet.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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