Predictions 2017 – Tech and More

January 2, 2017

Richard Stephens

We live in a connected online world – everyone would agree with that. But what is the correlation between being permanently online and cybersecurity? Given that so many of us now live in the cloud, are we taking enough precautions with our data – with data affecting our clients and contacts? 

I have been experimenting over the last couple of years with Google’s Chrome OS on a variety of devices – actually, the platform is getting better and better. Google is porting Android apps across to it, more and more Chromebooks are appearing aimed not just at the education market (where it is already strong in the US) but at business plus Google Apps are getting stronger (though still far from perfect). It’s a great platform in many ways and I do some at least of my work on it. But then I think – this is a thin client, it is always connected and doesn’t really work that well offline, so just how safe am I with all my various cloud accounts? 

So I think 2017 will be about embedding more work cloud devices like the Chromebook in our lives and the consequent worry about security breaches they will inevitably bring in their wake. Expect more and bigger cybersecurity attacks. 

Richard Stephens FBCS FCIArb Fellow of the Society for Computers & Law, The Law Office of Richard Stephens – LORS. 

Charles Christian

If ‘data is the new oil’ then 2017 is the year people will realise cybersecurity is the new padlock and chain to protect it. Without adequate security much of the infrastructure of the digital age is at risk: the web, the Internet of Things, the Cloud, BigData, social media, communications, enterprise databases, privacy, data protection – the whole nine yards, all exposed to failure and unwelcome attention. Yes, you can insure against cyber risk but that really is closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. 

Charles Christian is Editor at Large for Legal IT Insider and Editor of the Gonzo.News tech blog.

Clive Davies

The Age of the [Smart]phone

Star Trek communicators have become reality in the form of so called smartphones, though we can’t yet say ‘Beam me up Scotty’ like Captain James T Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. It will come though. Scientists in 2016 in the Canadian city of Calgary effectively teleported, if not a person, a light particle over 8.2 kilometres utilising a phenomenon known as entanglement (which in case you didn’t know describes how sub-atomic particles can be linked even if they are separated by a large distance).  

On a more modest level, in 2016 I used Apple Pay for the first time, in a coffee shop as I recall. My prediction is that over 2017 we’ll stop calling them smartphones – which in practice we don’t anyway – and use them more and more in really clever ways for payment and for greater interaction with our environment and for entertainment. Credit cards and cash will become a thing of the past replaced by digital wallets. We’ll go beyond selfies to augmented reality – utilising cameras on phones to get an information overlay on a scene in front of us. In-built projectors and flexible screens will enhance our ability to watch sport and entertainment. Maybe one day even holographics? It’s going to make that train or plane journey more exciting – and impress or annoy your fellow passengers in equal measure.  

AI (artificial intelligence) will play its part. Google and Facebook already employ ‘deep-learning software’ in the cloud to run processes such as facial and voice recognition. This could move onto smartphones in the near future.  

And occasionally, just rarely, we’ll use them as a voice, text or WhatsApp medium to ‘phone home’ like ET and say, mundanely, the train’s running late again. 

Clive Davies is Senior Counsel at Fujitsu and a Fellow of SCL. 

Andrew Haslam

Within the UK eDisclosure market I foresee a number of strands coming together that will accelerate the change in market composition and offering. 2016 saw continued consolidation within the ranks of the suppliers, for those that are left, the mantra of ‘Go big, Go Niche, Get out’ will apply, and I think a number of the smaller firms will struggle to survive. Margins on processing and hosting will evaporate faster than the proverbial ice lolly in the Sahara, that pressure being exacerbated by the Q1/Q2 launch of kCura’s cloud based Relativity One.

The litigation support companies with sufficient resources will up the provision of consultancy based offerings, exemplified by a rush towards ‘managed services’ of all shapes and sizes.

Microsoft’s Office 365 is quietly winning clients in all industry sectors, and we are starting to see disclosure emerging from that environment, ensuring that the majority of cloud eDisclosure offerings will be in Microsoft’s Azure environment (based in the UK, not Dublin).

Finally the small green shoots, that are eDisclosure aware lawyers, will continue to sprout throughout law firms, as the use of the range of analytical tools, up to and including computer assisted review, consolidates its hold within best practice.

In summary, law firms will form more formal partnerships with eDisclosure suppliers using cloud based review software, with a close collaboration between external consultants and increasingly competent eDisclosure lawyers.

Andrew Haslam is the eDisclosure Project Manager at Squire Patton Boggs. These are his personal opinions and are not the opinion or policy of his employer.

Paul Gershlick

As the NHS buckles under the strains of increasing demands from an ageing population with multiple needs, there is only one thing that can save the system (other than huge wads of money that the country does not seem willing to agree to): efficiency, and on a scale never seen before in the NHS. And there is only one thing that can enable the efficiency on the scale needed – an urgent massive uptake in the use of IT and big data across all aspects of the system. I cannot say which way this will go. So I am hedging my bets with my prediction this year – either a massive uptake on IT and use of data within the NHS, or the system crumbling. I know which I’d rather see happen, but I fear the uptake will not be enough for what is needed.

Paul Gershlick is a Partner and Head of Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences at Veale Wasbrough Vizards:

Kevin Gidney

The buzz around AI will cool off in favour of actual applications and business solutions built on practical AI platforms. The AI buzz was in full swing in 2016, around what the technologies could possibly do to improve or make obsolete certain functions and jobs. But the challenge has been what does it really mean (as very few people can articulate the concept very well), and how can someone use it for business benefit? This is typical of a ‘hype cycle’, but in 2017, the buzz will cool off and we will start to see broader adoption within organisations, particularly in data analysis and deriving insight from data. A major transition will be with solutions that utilise AI, but are built for business users (not data scientists or highly trained users) and specific applications. 

Kevin Gidney is Founder & Chief Technical Officer, Seal Software 

Zyen Ubeid 

2017 will see a focus on legal education – implementing technology into the traditional way of teaching law. Gamification, Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Mobile Apps, and Online Platforms will all be at the forefront when discussing ways to enhance legal education. Over the next decade, learning methods such as Problem-Based Learning (PBL) will undergo technological enhancement, implementing platforms like Virtual Reality Learning Environment (VRLE) to make the learning process more engaging and encouraging more communication between teachers and the students. 

Zyen Ubeid is a law student at the University of York and co-founder of a recent start-up, OneFirmVision.