Crystal Ball Gazing at ChannelCon

Corporate commitment to diversity and social responsibility – more so than new innovations –will have the biggest impact on the tech industry in 2017, at least according to an unofficial and random survey of attendees at CompTIA ChannelCon 2016.

By the volume of their applause, voters selected social responsibility over four other options as the industry game-changer for next year. The discussion and voting took place Wednesday in the “Great Eggspectations 2.0” breakfast session at ChannelCon, the premier education, networking and partnering event for the IT channel.

Five industry seers had the opportunity to forecast the technology, theme or trend most likely to impact the industry in 2017. Machine and cognitive learning, virtual and augmented reality and software-define networking were among the candidates nominated by the panel.

But the audience’s favorite was the call for companies to be more diverse and socially responsible. Heather Terenzio, co-Founder, CEO and president of Techtonic Group, a software development company based in Boulder, Colorado, said while may companies talk about diversifying their workforce and becoming more socially responsible, very few of them follow through. Companies that ignore this growing reality will pay a price, she said.

“The only way to get great people is to invest in workforce, diversity and social responsibility,” Terenzio said. “You are not going to get the talent you want unless you have those types of commitments.”

Another future trend that resonated with the audience was the concept of “smart cities as a service,” championed by Tim Herbert, senior vice president, research and market intelligence, CompTIA.

“It’s surprising the number of cities that have pilots underway today,” he said. “There are cities under the radar that are doing some real cool things. But for this market to progress from pilots to full production we have to have more involvement from many of the companies in this room.”

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