And as we look ahead to 2017, there are still a lot of unanswered Internet questions. Will new regulations expand Wi-Fi service and security? What can we expect from augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR)? How will the Internet of Things affect us?

The coming year has both positive changes and a few challenges in store. Here’s what you can expect from the Internet in 2017.

Big SSL Changes on the Horizon


HTTPS has grown to become a trust factor for users and is a way of demonstrating that you truly care about protecting online privacy. SSL encrypts the link between your server and your browser, so every responsible business owner should be moving in that direction, according to Adding SSL to your business website is easy and affordable, and there is really no reason why you shouldn’t be doing it.

Beginning in January, Google is going to label sites that collect confidential information as “non-secure” unless they’re protected with a dedicated IP and SSL Certificate. An SSL certificate legitimizes your website by keeping form submissions secure and ensuring potential customers that you’re safe to do business with.

Before the changes take place, read up on the new labeling system that includes “non-secure,” “neutral,” and “secure” indicators to watch for, like the little green lock icon that denotes a secure site or the red triangle that signals a potentially broken or unsafe site.

More Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Elements


The popularity of Pokémon GO should come as a wakeup call for all business owners. The potential for adding gaming features to a website is mind-boggling, so expect to see more sites with AR and VR elements.

Creating believable virtual reality isn’t easy, but business owners who embrace the emerging technology will position themselves to drive long-term engagement. The key is personalizing the message.

As UX designer Laura Cortes writes, “We should be thinking of using personal information about the user, such as their music tastes, eating or exercising habits, or even health stats, as variables to personalise an experience and create something that reads and interacts with the human interface.”

More Global Expansion


The Internet will continue to spread into the far-reaching corners of the world with more public access. For example, Iran will add domestic video and increase services for businesses; Guyana expects countrywide hotspots, especially in the hinterland communities to be available in 2017; and Forrester Research suggests broader penetration in emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Mexico.

Widespread Design Changes for the New Year


The new year will usher in more “mobile first” marketing. That means business leaders will focus on optimizing online experiences for mobile devices before websites are designed and built.

You’ll see more flat design features that are perfect for portable devices and smaller screens. Some professionals expect to see an increase in custom images and fewer stock photos, as web designers work to personalize the viewing experience with photos and videos that reveal more about the brand behind the website. Look for interesting fonts, authentic images, and bold colors.

Updates Will Emerge for The Internet of Things (IoT)


Because hackers continue to develop ways to steal personal info, smart devices could need updates to protect privacy. IoT updates will include more options for automated crash reporting and new analytic tools to capture consumer behavior and monitor performance.

Tech advances will continue to include wearable technology and better user experiences. In fact, by 2020 it’s expected that the IoT will touch every aspect of marketing, so according to Dzone, “brands relying heavily on marketing should include IoT security advancement in their annual marketing strategy budget.”

Video Will Reign


While content will still be king, video will reign in 2017. Images are a must-have for any business website. Simply put, they engage viewers better than plain text.

It’s key for product demos, advertisements, and other content delivery. Every year YouTube video consumption increases by 100 percent. Real estate listings with video get 403 percent more inquiries. And 64 percent of people are more likely to make a purchase after seeing a product video.