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Prognostication: 2017

My thoughts about media and technology trends for 2017 as Chair of the IDEABOOST Investment Advisory Group.

Along with December’s holidays, the end of the year traditionally brings a predictable flood of prognostications and crystal-ball gazing from pundits and digerati. After such a tumultuous 2016, it may be advisable to exercise extra caution when trying to chart a reasonable set of expectations for 2017.

But chart we must, at IDEABOOST, which sits at the intersection of media, technology, finance and culture. Why? Because the entrepreneurial focus of our accelerator and related programs are all about the future – what opportunities will flourish in the near- and long-term future? What new markets will emerge that solve problems and disrupt old orders? What kind of innovations could propel a company’s success?

In recent years, accelerators around the work are betting on hot markets like the Internet of Things, big data analysis, SaaS platforms, financial technologies, and mobile apps --- reflected (perhaps coincidentally) among 2016 IDEABOOST investments.

Computer science and technology will power vast changes in the world’s business infrastructure with the growth of advanced machine learning, intelligent apps and devices, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain/digital ledgers and currencies, mesh systems and voice interfaces, and a host of new digital platforms. (See this post from Gartner and another from Forbes for more detail.) Buried within these “categories” are huge industry-disrupting developments like commercial drone and autonomous vehicles, peer-to-peer funds transfer, automated fish farms, and many others.

Technology is not the only force that drives new opportunities – demographic and cultural trends are powerful factors as we move into the era when Millennials take over from past generations and ethnic and sociological diversity continues to characterize populations in many countries. Marketers need new ways to reach consumers whose preferences differ wildly from past practices – hence the rise of on-demand marketplaces, niche social networks, peer-driven media platforms, fitness-focused products and services, and greater hands-on control for tech-savvy populations.

The entertainment and media industries as we have known them -- movies, television, games, journalism, out-of-home media --- will continue to experience dramatic change, as we see the rise of new media brands and franchises, new business models, and new media formats and platforms (like virtual reality and augmented reality). Incumbents are delivering significant investments in startups to capture a share of entirely new industries, the shape of which is being formed in virtually real-time.

Along with production and distribution players, these new markets need tools to help with advertising, marketing, audience measurement, predictive analytics, content and customer management, and much more.

IDEABOOST will play a role in building this new ecosystem, in Canada and beyond, and will do so, we hope, with support from a growing community of investors, entrepreneurs, mentors and visionaries – perhaps you.

Here’s to an exciting and prosperous 2017.

This post first appeared on the Canadian Film Centre's website

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