Technology is an ever-changing playing field and those wanting to remain at the helm of innovation have to adapt. The consumer journey is charting a new course and customers and companies alike are embracing emerging technologies. As the IT industry trends such as cloud computing and SaaS become more pervasive, the world will look to brands who can deliver with accuracy and real-time efficiency.
To help meet the demands of a technology-enabled consumer base, businesses and solution providers must also turn toward the latest trends and possibilities provided by emerging innovations to realize their full potential. But, where to begin? These are the emerging trends businesses need to keep their eyes on in 2020.
Artificial intelligence holds significant potential for businesses. While we have yet to achieve the full spectrum of capabilities frequently at the center of futuristic cinema, AI is poised as a tool of choice for businesses and solution providers. As is often seen with social media, AI, combined with machine learning, can be a powerful combination. Businesses can use AI to achieve cost-saving benefits, streamline workflows, enable more efficient communications, improve customer satisfaction, and provide insight into purchasing behavior.
Additionally, machine learning can analyze large datasets and provide scaled insight. We are currently just scratching the surface of how machine learning and artificial intelligence can work together to enable businesses. (Think of IT-industry giants such as Google and Amazon.) Current applications provide huge growth potential for solution providers who can fully understand the capabilities of AI and tailor solutions to meet business demands. Businesses can also employ AI to identify new product and service opportunities.
Past discussions of blockchain are often hinged on cryptocurrency, but the real power lies in the immutability and transparency of a blockchain. Due to the fixed and highly visible nature of blockchains, this trend has been widely accepted to have financial applications, and often informs discussions of bitcoin. However, the business benefits are much more far reaching.
The blockchain is an information system that holds promise for supply chain management, enabling transparency into the origin and journey of materials from origin to product. Blockchain technology will also allow for better record management, providing a snapshot of any record from its origination. This could be used to verify orders, purchases, returns, receipt of product, you name it.
Another cryptocurrency utilizing blockchain technology is Ethereum. This cryptocurrency uses smart contracts to ensure delivery of conditions. Smart contracts release data when both participants have met the criteria of an agreement. Smart contracts offer endless capabilities for ensuring agreements are carried out and therefor can help position you as a trusted brand.
Cybersecurity as Critical Business Function
Cybersecurity will no longer operate as an addendum in the world of information technology. As companies leverage emerging trends and move more toward cloud computing, cybersecurity will become a critical business functionality and will be an integral business process.
Data protections and PII are real-world concerns that are steadily creeping to the forefront as media coverage of data breaches affect our trust in brands. Making information security an operational necessity will position a business as a trusted entity and ensure smooth delivery of products and services.
Drones are helping to transform certain verticals, giving an edge over competitors and offering a technologically powered physical connection between businesses and end users. The remote capabilities of drones coupled with AI applications are transforming business in the industrial, public safety, construction, and insurance sectors, just to name a few.
As the drone industry continues to mature, more and more applications are coming to light and businesses are embracing the possibilities. Gartner predicts that drone shipments will increase 50 percent in 2020. Drones offer a unique opportunity to identify actionable tasks with much less leg work. Businesses and solution providers can offer enhanced support and real-time services. As best practices are developed and proper protocols put in place, drones offer real-potential for businesses.
Edge computing is a decentralized model which places computing nodes closer to the source of interaction. Gartner defines edge computing as a model where “information processing and content collection and delivery are placed closer to the sources, repositories and consumers of this information.” This model optimizes technological interactions and reduces latency at the point of origin to enable more effective and real-time data consumption. Edge computing is quickly becoming the most efficient path for localized interactions.
As the world becomes more and more digitized, informed business is the key to success and internet of things provides greater clarity into consumer behavior. The Internet of Things is increasingly offering business opportunities in the form of data collection and analysis. In fact, IoT is the most widely adopted technology in CompTIA’s emerging tech track.
Unlike traditional data collection methods of the past, the Internet of Things is a conglomeration of devices that interact, providing substantially greater insight into how products and services are being applied for everyday tasks. As more devices become IoT enabled, businesses will be able to design products with a greater understanding of pain points.
Quantum computing offers unique opportunities for predictive analysis that extend beyond the capacity of conventional computing. Quantum computers leverage the principles of superposition and entanglement to process information on an exponential scale. While Google came on the scene in 2017 with a promise of the largest quantum computer, IBM has actually made it possible for businesses to leverage this technology.
Quantum computing offers businesses a powerful tool for predictive analytics and big data analysis. As we encounter new problems, quantum computing will help predict viable solutions, though it may not be on the radar for many solution providers or channel partners just yet.
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
When we think of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies (now referred to as XR), we often drift to possibilities in gaming. While those should not be overlooked, there is real potential for businesses and solution providers as well.
XR helps provide context to possibility. Consumers and businesses may know that they need a solution but have difficulty visualizing how a product or service will enable a particular outcome. Businesses can use XR to enhance their offerings and inform effective decision making.
The business applications for 3D printing are endless. The ability to customize a product according to personalized specifications will allow businesses to provide nearly limitless possibilities. In recent years, providing this kind of customization required either significant reprogramming or manual intervention. With 3D printing, personalization is now one more task that can be automated. 3D printing also enables the use of various materials that offer cost-saving and environmentally sustainable benefits.
The speeds accomplished with 5G greatly outpace those seen with previous networks. 5G offers the supporting foundation that businesses can leverage to embrace emerging technologies. When unencumbered by latency issues, businesses can provide greater capabilities and service. Reaching consumer bases via mobile devices and smartphones will soar to new heights as the IT infrastructure for 5G expands and becomes more pervasive.
Looking toward new technology trends is reaching a state of necessity in business as innovation continues to reach new heights. Which IT-industry trend will make the most impact on your business?
For more on these and other IT trends, download CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2020 research report.