Technology Trends That Will Lead The Way In 2021
As we enter the new year, several promising technologies are poised to lead the way by improving how businesses and consumers use and experience the digital world. Here are some of the most important technologies and the practical solutions they will provide in the year ahead.
The fifth generation of the mobile internet is going to bring the kind of speed most people associate with Wi-Fi to uploading and downloading data from remote locations. This will lead to sharp improvements in the way applications can be written, deployed and interacted with by mobile users. This also includes the development of data-intensive applications and the Internet of Things (IOT) — physical objects with sensors that connect to and share data with the internet, autonomous vehicles and similar projects. Faster data transmission combined with increased bandwidth will be a powerful catalyst for innovation.
The Distributed Cloud
Distributed cloud technology brings the public cloud closer to private networks and specific locations. It will blur the lines of how public cloud apps interact with private cloud applications, making that process more seamless with less latency, requiring less bandwidth and redundant data and storage components. How does the distributed cloud fit in your company?
There’s an increasing focus on using data-driven policing and finding different ways of dealing with data breaches and cyberattacks. At the same time, consumers are much more aware of vulnerabilities, how breaches happen and the impacts associated with them.
As businesses become more digital, the growth rate of the data and content being created is significant. According to Gartner, nearly 70% of businesses will engage in personal data archiving, a rapid jump from 10% in 2018. As a result, data-driven technologies will be a big growth area. This increases the importance of ensuring new technologies are being developed that protect data as businesses grow their digital footprint.
At the same time, security companies are building analytics to identify attacks in progress or breaches that have already happened. They are also looking for data and assets on the dark web so that the owners of that data can react as quickly as possible. How is your cybersecurity focus continuing to evolve and rise to the challenge, especially when considering IoT and AI advancements?
Artificial Intelligence Services
Artificial intelligence is rapidly gaining a foothold in the corporate world, with over half (54%) of financial services firms planning to increase investments in AI, according to my company's Next-Gen Technology Survey. That’s expected to lead to a huge increase in the number of goods and services that are connected to the internet and woven into the IoT. The infrastructure and base code to develop AI is very difficult to manage and expensive. Cloud providers are increasingly providing AI as a service, so it’s no different than using a public cloud provider to stand up a Unix or Windows OS.
There will be growth in AI platform services that you can subscribe to that promise ease of use because they’re already configured and up and running. Users of the service can then focus on writing their own unique code to solve their business problems. This is changing the way we write AI code and getting it to market quicker. It’s about ease of use, speed to market and agility, and it’s almost mutualizing the commodified, nondifferentiating pieces.
As AI becomes more common, the need to protect AI-powered systems will grow. As AI generates more code, this increases the amount of surface area for hackers to attack, particularly with highly connected systems in smart spaces where the IoT is especially active. One important aspect of the IoT which security experts need to keep sight of is that it increases the number of vulnerabilities an organization must deal with.
AI will increasingly be used to enhance system security. Machine learning will be used to understand patterns, uncover attacks and automate some cybersecurity processes while augmenting the actions of human security analysts. Part of this process includes anticipating how AI might be trained to penetrate a system and to identify and protect against these efforts.
Blockchain is a database and processing system that does cryptographical record-keeping, maintains appropriate security, and ensures that transactions are kept and validated. We’re now at the stage of its maturity where companies are looking to get apps using the technology out in the marketplace. Some of the most relevant uses are asset tracking, claims, identity management, payment systems and settlement systems. Blockchain has the potential to enhance trust, provide transparency and enable the exchange of value across business ecosystems. This could reduce costs, speed settlement times and improve cash flow.
People now generate so much data that there is more of it than data analysts can make use of with current technology. As data analytics becomes more of a priority, companies are looking at how people interact with their available technology. Companies that want to understand how their customers make spending decisions are looking at what social media apps they visit most, what their profiles say about them and what kinds of pictures they post.
There is a tension between consumers who enjoy customized products built through access to their data and their privacy concerns. Consumers are increasingly aware that their data has value to businesses, and it’s especially important to them that their data is managed appropriately. Having this transparency and traceability is important for how companies manage data. Companies are realizing that giving customers “privacy by design” can make them more privacy-friendly. This creates a value proposition based on that trust. As companies look at opportunities to monetize data, is there an opportunity for individuals to monetize their data, too?
2021 will certainly be another year of firsts and unknowns. That said, leveraging maturing and technology trends to proactively address key business problems should be near the top of all technology leaders’ to-do lists.