2017 Tech Predictions: Paul Skelton, Connected Home+Business


Not only does Connected editor Paul Skelton believe he is psychic, he also refuses to admit when he’s wrong (because he claims he never is). Here are his predictions for 2017 (or 2018 should they not occur).

  1. The Amazon-ification of an industry

Fervour for Amazon will hit an all time high in Australia and New Zealand after the company releases its full range of ‘smart home’ appliances into the local market. Starting with Amazon Prime, news will quickly follow that Amazon Echo, Dot and Fire TV will also be unleashed upon an unsuspecting public.

And so will begin the Amazon-ification of the smart home industry.

The integrator community’s love affair with Alexa will burn so bright that there will be a small increase in the popularity of ‘Alexa’ being adopted as a newborn baby girl’s name.

This love affair will continue until Google releases Google Home, at which point the hashtag #teamalexa will trend globally on Twitter.


  1. No more curve

Samsung and/or LG will finally admit that the advent of curved TVs was simply a prank that went too far. In fact, it was a game of ‘chicken’ between the company’s R&D and marketing teams that saw both sides refuse to flinch.

Despite this Samsung will continue its dominance of the display market, undoubtedly releasing a new range of TVs that will be even better than the current crop.

Nobody will be upset by the discontinuation of curved displays, except for those TV mount manufacturers who will be left with excess stock and those consumers who succumbed to the misguided hype.


  1. Building a network

Speaking of TVs; the small margin that is available to integrators installing displays will all but disappear. Further, margins on other AV devices will also shrink to the point where being a dedicated ‘AV guy’ is practically unsustainable.

For that reason, 2017 will be the year the ‘network’ overtakes the market.

For many years now there has been chatter about this occurring, and some companies have found great success in refocusing their businesses around the network, but this year most of the companies who are delaying making the change will have their hand forced.


  1. Improved encryption of IoT devices

The Internet of Things (IoT), which has recently been renamed the Internet of Everything (IoE) but could also be called the Internet of Stuff (IoS), is making further headway into the integration sector. While 2017 won’t be the year where everything falls into place, there will undoubtedly be a bigger push towards improved encryption of IoT devices.

Arguably the IoT’s biggest downside, the vulnerability of connected devices will be all but eradicated by some very clever software engineers. Will these devices ever be completely secure? No, but very few networks really are.

Expect to see a lot more ‘common sense’ IoT applications as the novelty of plants that tweet wears very thin.


  1. The great distributor reshuffle

Remember about four or five years ago when it seemed like every major supplier changed its Australian and NZ representation? The industry was hectic and keeping track of the changes became increasingly difficult.

Well, all signs are pointing to 2017 being another year of change, which I’m calling the Great Distributor Reshuffle.

Whether suppliers are unhappy with their local market share (either through a lack of representation or, perhaps more likely, unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved here in terms of sales), or distributors being a lot more strategic and competitive when it comes to chasing agencies, I am predicting that the first six months of 2017 will see a lot of change in the distributor market, including quite a few surprises that will leave people reeling.

About Paul Skelton

Paul Skelton

Multiple award seeking journalist and magazine editor Paul Skelton has been involved with the electrical industry for the best part of a decade. Email him at paulskelton@build.com.au.

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