I was reading a great story on ZDNet recently that looked to identify some of the enterprise technologies likely to set the innovation agenda for businesses this year.

Not surprisingly, there was a lot of overlap with the Transforming Customer Contact White Paper that Sabio produced in January – where we examined the key technologies accelerating today’s consumer service expectations.

However, looking at ZDNet’s commentary in more detail, it was interesting that their piece placed a number of innovations in its ‘Horizon’ category, despite clear signs that development in these and other areas is now accelerating dramatically.

Take the use of commercial drones, for example. Earlier this month, Wal-Mart – the world’s largest retailer – announced that it was just 6-9 months away from using drones to check warehouse inventories in the US. Wal-Mart estimates that warehouse checks that currently take a month to carry out manually, could now be done in a single day by drones.

ZDNet also referenced technologies such as machine learning/AI and instant app composition as still emerging. Again, I suspect that the sheer pace of innovation is driving things forward faster than even ZDNet can imagine. Earlier this month, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos revealed that the company now has 1,000 engineers dedicated to developing the natural language performance and AI capabilities of its Alexa speech platform. Perhaps as interesting is the work with its partner organisations to embed Alexa speech technology into third party products.

Similarly, ZDNet sees instant app composition as disruptive but still emerging. Having seen the recent demonstration of Viv – a next generation AI assistant developed by the team that initially developed Siri, Apple’s digital assistant – it’s clear that AI is really powering a new era of Intelligent Assistants. Viv aims to move beyond the generalist AI offered by services such as Siri, to handle more complex requests and then execute them – where possible – through integrated third party partners.

ZDNet quite rightly suggested that ‘we remain in an all time high state of opportunity’ when it comes to technology in the enterprise. However, as Bill Gates wrote some 21 years ago: ‘we always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten’. While this has generally held true, the ZDNet piece got me thinking that maybe we’re now being a little over-cautious when it comes to the initial two-year period…