As history is our witness, those that don’t innovate with the times often get left behind. Previously, people questioned whether the internet would take off and thought that mobile phones would never replace landlines. But, as most of us can see, these, and other technologies, have revolutionized the way businesses work and changed our lives.
We’re in an age of rapid innovation. You may be familiar with today’s buzzwords: blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), 5G. But how will these technologies, and others, like hybrid cloud, change the way we do business in 2020? If you’re on the frontline of innovation, here’s what to look out for.
The start of a decade, the beginning of new tech
Here are five tech trends that will affect the way we do business in 2020.
Trend #1: 5G
The fifth generation of mobile internet connectivity. Think super-fast downloads of your favorite box sets, low latency cloud computing and social robots. 5G was introduced in 2019, but 2020 will be the year of super-fast. As we increase available bandwidth, industrial machines, robots and autonomous vehicles will be able to collect and transfer more data than ever, meaning they’ll integrate into our workflows and lives sooner.
The latter, driverless vehicles, is particularly important. Volkswagen has optimized traffic flow for 10,000 taxis in Beijing for 2020, while Google’s sister company Waymo has recently completed a trial of autonomous taxis in California, where it transported 6,200 people in its first month.
But don’t get too comfortable – China has already started developing a 6G network.
Trend #2: Quantum computing
Following on from 5G, quantum computing – supercomputers, mostly – are on the cusp of becoming a reality. It’s vital for the next generation of AI, especially when research shows the amount of computing power needed to train today’s AI devices is rising seven times faster than before. Quantum computing can have positive business effects; Google and Volkswagen are already experimenting with it to accelerate battery development in self-driving vehicles.
Other firms are making moves. Airbus is experimenting with quantum computing to improve fuel efficiency for its fleet, while NASA is using it to improve the way they solve aeronautic problems. A marker that if a business invests in quantum computing wholesale – which will take some time – we’ll be able to innovate new technologies at hyperspeed.
Trend #3: Blockchain
You’ve no doubt heard about it, but it’s not the easiest technology to understand. Blockchain is essentially a digital ledger that securely records and stores transactions, which are encrypted and can’t easily be changed. We’ll probably start to see the results of industry-wide investment in blockchain sooner rather than later: corporates leading the way include FedEx, IBM, Walmart and MasterCard. According to a Gartner survey, 60 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) are expecting to deliver blockchain development in their company between now and 2022.
Admittedly, adoption remains relatively low at the enterprise level, but that’ll soon change. Especially with the arrival of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra. The real trend, however, could be the power of blockchain to protect the internet of things (IoT) connected devices.
IoT means numerous devices will become connected sooner than we think, which could lead to a myriad of security challenges. But blockchain could be its secret guardian. It will help devices make automated micro-exchanges. For example, you could set up a scheduled payment to a video streaming service, and blockchain tech will make the payment quickly and safely.
Who knows, we might even see brand new job openings; as blockchain uptake increases, designated crypto-traders (tasked with forex trading cryptocurrencies for companies) or crypto community managers (managers for blockchain projects) could become hot new roles in tech.
Trend #4: Data policing
More of a heads up, this one. As businesses become more digital, and exposed to more data, laws and policing will become tighter than today. According to Gartner, by 2020, the backup and archiving of personal data will represent the most significant privacy risk for 70 percent of organizations. If your business is one of them, it’s time to think about how you can best protect that data. Why? Because you probably don’t want to end up on lists of data breaches like this.
Trend #5: The distributed cloud
The research is in: by 2022, 75 percent of data will be created outside of a centralized cloud system, which has no location and is accessible by those who have the right credentials. However, the distributed cloud is more localized. It’s at an early stage, but mostly it means cloud services in specific locations will benefit from quicker connections where cloud systems are closer to the point of contact.
All that glitters is not gold
Evolving technologies bring ground-breaking possibilities and new ideas but also new security vulnerabilities and threats. Amongst these are cyberattacks that will leverage training-data poisoning (when hackers cause an AI system to fail by feeding it incorrect data), AI model theft or adversarial samples to attack AI-powered systems.
Two key elements will be needed to protect business innovations as AI becomes more commonplace. You’ll need to invest in critical employee cybersecurity training and machine learning will be used to automate the cybersecurity process which will, in turn, identify cyberattacks and defend against them.