Microsoft Partner Network reflects on technology in 2016 and what it means for 2017

Michael Cottuli

2016 was a year that was constantly moving technology forward. Between the commercial debut of virtual reality, the announcement of a new type of Surface product, and countless advancements in machine learning, we’ve come pretty far. In the latest blog post from the Microsoft Partner Network we not only take a look at the biggest advancements this year, but also what those advancements are going to mean as we enter 2017.

New technologies

  • 3D

Microsoft made a big point of the future of 3D when they unveiled the Creator’s Update this year, and that’s for a good reason: It’s come a long way. Aside from all of the 3D modeling and rendering that’s happening on the next version of Windows 10, 3D printing is also going to be a huge deal. The Microsoft Partner Network specifically mentions the 3D printing of biological tissue to help in medical procedures.

  • AI

We don’t seem to be close to any major breakthroughs in terms of reaching that science-fiction level of artificial intelligence, but machine learning is a huge deal. With Microsoft putting together a “uniquely specialized team of over 5,000 Research, Information Platform, Cortana, Ambient Computing, and Robotics professionals” to work on AI, there’s no telling where the technology could be next year.

  • IoT

The Internet of Things reached a critical point in its growth this year, getting noticed by corporations all across the world as something vital for their strategies going forward. According to the Microsoft Partner Network, “significant development in the data that’s being collected from all these devices has the power to completely revolutionize how we work, play, and even exist.”

  • Adaptive Security

A “hacker industry” has started rearing its head this year, exacerbating the anxieties that most people already had about the safety of their information. As cyber security becomes a larger issue, Microsoft has been making an effort to stem the tide of cyber criminals across the world. It’s hard to see exactly what’s going to happen in the world of cyber security in 2017, but the stage is set for big changes.

New Business Models

Microsoft has never been one to keep their business model stagnant, and 2016 was no exception. The most notable experiment in business model came from Microsoft’s “Surface as a Service” program, which offered customers a wide array of services to enhance their experience with Surface. As the needs of the consumer evolve and companies like Microsoft continue to try new models, we’ll see 2017 mold the future of business.

New Partnership and Collaboration Tools

Probably one of the biggest areas of improvement in 2016 was collaboration. Not only did tools like Microsoft Teams revolutionize team collaboration, but the acquisition of LinkedIn paved the way for a new world of B2B social networking. Throw in the Surface Hub as Microsoft’s next big collaboration-focused piece of hardware, and 2017 looks like it might be the best year yet for collaborators.


This year made countless advancements in technology of all kinds, making steady growth in industries both new and old. With so much more on the horizon, 2017 looks like it’s set to shatter records across the board. We won’t know for sure what the future holds until we’re well into next year, but all of these fields are definitely going to be worth keeping an eye on.