Top 10 Emerging Technology Trends for 2018
What can we expect to emerge in 2018 in terms of technological trends and innovations? In short, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue its advancement into technology investments along with the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and customer-focused applications.
Forrester Research Analysts Brian Hopkins, Bobby Cameron, Ted Schadler and Rusty Warner published a report entitled, “Top 10 Technology Trends to watch: 2018 to 2020 – Ten Trends That Will Help You Maximise the Value of Business Technology”.
Top 10 Business Tech Trends Predicted For 2018
1. IoT technologies shift towards edge devices
“The growth of IoT aspirations and technologies has led to a host of technology innovations in edge devices such as gateway servers, microdata centres, cloudlets, fog fabric nodes, intelligent routers and device firmware,” say the authors.
Firms who already make use of this will engage customers faster and will squeeze new efficiencies out of their current processes. Using edge devices will give these firms ample opportunities for a competitive advantage.
By 2019, many firms will have started to pilot edge devices but may run into security and regulator challenges that slow progress.
The report suggests identifying the IoT business scenarios that your firm is likely to participate in, building out microservice orchestration, as well as management capabilities.
2. Distributed trust systems challenge centralised authorities
According to the authors, blockchain, cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers have captivated but also frightened businesses in finance, logistics and transaction settlements. “These are ‘distributed trust systems’, a system of methods, technologies and tools that support a distributed, tamper-evident and reliable way to ensure transaction integrity, irrefutability and nonrepudiation,” they explained.
This will start to change as the mystery of distributed trust systems fades. The authors estimate that by 2019, a viable blockchain-based market will become commercialised.
Applications of blockchains will go beyond cryptocurrencies to attack all markets with valuable assets. Some exchange markets will start to feel this disruption while other exchange markets will start to form.
The report suggests assembling a working group to chart progress, readiness and scenarios that would produce either an opportunity or a disruption.
3. Automated security intelligence and breach response unshackle security and risk
“The era of manual risk and security management is ending,” comment the authors. Security and risk professionals have long since shied away from automation but struggle with investigating incidents and reacting to threats promptly.
By as early as next year, firms will deploy early stage automated breach detection and response. This will leverage internal and external threat intelligence data. By 2020, this will have accelerated the automation of security breach detection and response.
This will save the team of a chief information security officer from performing repetitive and manual tasks, providing analysts more to time for work of higher value.
The report suggests maturing security processes, documenting these processes and developing a risk intelligence collection strategy.
4. Employee experience redefines apps
Many firms are working hard to improve employee experience in order to see better results in employee engagement, advocacy, retention, productivity and most important of all, customer experience (CX) and satisfaction.
“In the digital age, the workforce expects a technology-driven employee experience that reflects the level of innovation found in their consumer experiences.”
By 2020, firms will start to redesign applications according to their employees’ journeys as they benefit from an enriched and contextual CX.
The report suggests targeting employee journeys that combine multiple apps as well as onboarding new employees.
5. Software learns to learn
Speech analytics, deep-learning platforms and natural language generation is on the increase and has exploded over the last 12 months. Firms are seeking more efficient ways to maintain predictive models and deep learning is allowing software to learn on a continuous basis.
By 2020, models will be able to monitor and restrain themselves in the public cloud. This will mean that software systems will be able to train themselves, instead of being programmed.
The report suggests building your team’s AI vocabulary as well as pursuing cloud for AI.
6. Digital employees enter the white-collar workforce
As a result of automation and AI entering the workplace, the digital workforce will have to transform. This, however, should not cause employees to panic as automation replaces only some jobs, creates others and allows employees to work on more specialised and high level tasks.
The authors predict that nearly half of all jobs will be lost to automation, mainly as a result of software robots that complete progressively complex tasks. They also believe that by 2020, humans will work alongside robots and leaders will manage a part robot, part human workforce.
The report suggests beginning to integrate automation into well-understood business processes.
7. Insights-driven firms outpace competitors
According to the report, the quest to use big data as a competitive edge has sparked a $28 billion industry. A new style of operation is slowly emerging into services and the cloud that approaches data analytics differently. Instead of focusing on data, firms will emphasise insights in software and continuous learning.
“CIOs must understand how this difference lets insights-driven businesses win customers and grow eight times faster than global GDP,” explain the authors.
By 2020, these firms will outpace the competition. The report suggests making an inventory of your analytics projects and identifying candidate systems of insight.
8. Customer experience becomes immersive
The boundaries between human, digital, physical and virtual are already blurring as customer CX becomes more immersive.
“Customer-obsessed firms are integrating systems of insight and systems of engagement that interconnect people, places, and objects with data to improve CX and forge two-way, value-driven relationships,” they say.
We have seen how customers are moving seamlessly across channels and embracing a wide range of interactive interfaces on their mobiles or other smart devices. Firms that are able to fuse this CX will be given a competitive advantage.
The report suggests structuring cross-functional teams for interaction design and Agile development collaboration.
9. Contextual privacy boosts brand value
With data breach on the minds of many consumers, they are increasingly concerned about safety, security and privacy. This forces a transparency in data collection and use practices in firms.
“To drive competitive differentiation and business growth, firms must proactively address customer data management and security technologies that enable contextual privacy,” the authors explain.
By 2020, top firms will start to look beyond simply reducing risk and will introduce contextual privacy in a bid to drive retention and customer loyalty. The report suggests shifting to a data-centric model to ensure that security sticks closer to customer data.
10. The public cloud accelerates business innovation
“The relentless pace of technology and service innovation from mega-cloud providers like AWS, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce means that business innovation is just an API call away,” they add.
The authors believe that we have hit a tipping point for public cloud where most companies won’t be able to build out a data centre to match cloud’s public capabilities or efficiency.
By 2020, systems of engagement will be in the cloud and firms will migrate their systems of insight and record to join them. The report suggests creating a five-year strategic plan for a public cloud infrastructure and moving packaged apps off premises and into the vendor’s cloud.
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