The only constant is change — particularly with technology, where the pace of digital disruption happens at breakneck speed. So much so, it’s hard to know if you should jump on (or off) the bandwagon. But organizations can take advantage of this change if they can anticipate coming trends, said Gartner VP and analyst Daryl Plummer during the recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018 in Orlando.
That’s why you can — and should — use predictions to strategically plan for the future. Of course, predictions are just that, but staying on top of what’s happening will help you prepare and budget for these trends in your 2019 plans.
Artificial intelligence infusion
What hot trends are here to stay? Virtual reality, on one hand, has been a bit slower to take off than anticipated. However, augmented reality is finding its place within industrial applications relatively quickly.
But, like the ‘one ring to rule them all’ in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, artificial intelligence (AI) is the one technology fuelling other key IT trends. AI is being infused into most business operations, from the supply chain to financial services, and IDC predicts worldwide spending on AI will grow to US$52.2 billion by 2021 (at which point it will be used by 75 per cent of all enterprise applications).
By 2019, IDC predicts 40 per cent of digital transformation initiatives will use AI services, and recommends “every industry and every organization should be evaluating AI to see how it will affect their business processes and go-to-market efficiencies.”
Even if you’re not sure how AI will fit into your business, it’s worth exploring — particularly because it’s expected to pervade almost every industry, even creating new categories of technology, according to Gartner. In its top 10 strategic technology trends, the research firm noted that AI will drive new capabilities in autonomous ‘things,’ including drones, robotics and vehicles.
It will also be used for augmented analytics, as big data continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Rather than replace data scientists, however, Gartner expects AI will work alongside humans to make their job easier through features such as automated algorithms. This could help to derive more value out of your big data.
Cloud computing moves to the edge
Tying into automated ‘things’ and augmented analytics is edge computing, where processing is done on the edge of the network rather than in a data centre or cloud. Many ‘things’ can’t afford latency — like autonomous vehicles that must analyze data related to traffic or road conditions in real time — which means the edge of the network is going to become increasingly important.
It may be time to start building out your infrastructure to support edge computing (which includes more storage and compute power at the edge), as well as architectures such as 5G that will ramp up over the course of 2019.
But just because we’re moving to the edge doesn’t mean cloud is dissipating. Instead of talking about public, private and hybrid clouds, we’re now talking about connected clouds or multi-cloud, an approach that involves using different clouds for different purposes, or different cloud providers rather than one. Indeed, this will become the preferred strategy among 69 per cent of organizations by 2019, according to 451 Research.
“Basically, what’s happening is that companies are realizing that going all public cloud, private cloud or data center isn’t the best option. Sometimes, they need a mix of all or both. Thus, connected clouds are continuing to develop to meet companies’ changing needs — whether they want to cloud-source storage, networking, security, or app deployment,” writes Daniel Newman, Principal Analyst of Futurum Research, in an article for Forbes.
Improved access to data
New networks will also be critical on the edge, but also for cloud. As we eventually see a worldwide shift from LTE to 5G, cloud users will be able to access data faster than ever. But the benefits extend beyond speed.
“Instead, we’re literally talking about a network experience that rivals — or even bests — corporate LAN connectivity to the desktop,” writes Andrew Froehlich in a column for Light Reading. He goes on to say this will “completely reset our cloud computing experience from mobile devices,” and help augmented reality and edge computing truly take off.
All of this, ultimately, is about digital transformation. It’s not about deploying new technologies for the sake of having the latest and greatest, but about changing the way we fundamentally do business — the way ride-sharing apps changed the transportation industry.
Not all of these technologies are enterprise-ready — some may fail and some may suffer setbacks. So set realistic expectations, ensure you have the right skill sets in place and come up with a game plan so you can unlock the value of what’s to come.