Technology is changing the way people do things and even how we run our businesses these days. If we don’t keep up with these trends we might just see ourselves out of that job or business and this is not what we want now, right? So we are going to be looking at 5 predicted technology trends that we should know about.
- Big Data
“Data is everywhere, and growing at an ever-increasing rate”, this is no longer news and we need to get on top of it. We create an exceptional amount of data as we live our lives daily. From social media to the digital footprint we leave as we use services like Jumia or Instagram or public Wi-Fi. Every second, about 900 thousand people hit Facebook and 3.5 million of us search for something on Google.
This is happening so rapidly that the amount of data which exists is doubling every two years, and this growth (and the opportunities it provides) is what we call Big Data.
The sheer value of this data means an industry as well as an enthusiastic, non-commercially driven community has grown around Big Data. Whereas just a few years ago only giant corporations would have the resources and expertise to make use of data at this scale, a movement towards “as-a-service” platforms has reduced the need for big spending on infrastructure. This explosion in data is what has made many of today’s other trends possible, understanding how to use and manipulate big data to grow businesses is a plus to any individual.
- Smart Things
Previously, in a world that seem so distant now, only some certain computers could connect to the internet but voila! Today the story is now known as “Internet of Things”, because it isn’t just an internet of computers and phones anymore! Practically more devices from wrist watches to tvs can connect to the internet now. This trend explores the role of programmers and device engineering, businesses in this line or people building a career along this part greatly explore more future trends.
- Artificial Intelligence
Not literally as in take over the world (yet). But they will certainly have our attention. The field of cognitive computing revolves around machines which are capable of “thinking” in a similar way humans do – particularly when it comes to learning. Of course, being computers they have certain advantages – in other words, teach them to learn, and they will do so at an incredibly fast rate, with a greater degree of accuracy than any human would be capable of. The result is that they will inevitably become more knowledgeable, capable and able to match solutions (data) to problems.
Today’s artificial intelligence systems are either specialized (designed for one task) or generalized (designed to adapt to any task) – though true generalized AI is still a distant goal. They use methods such as computer vision to enable machines to “see” – recognizing objects visually and classifying them accordingly, or natural language processing to communicate with us in a human-like way.
- Talking to machines is becoming second nature
The way we interact with machines has evolved from operating levers and valves, to using control panels, keyboards and touchscreen interfaces. Thanks (again) to the amount of data we have, we are now at a point where voice controlling machines feels natural and is often the most intuitive option we have.
It’s been predicted that by 2020 half of online searches will be carried out by voice – and 30% of them will be made using devices which have no screen at all. This year, BMW will roll out new cars with Alexa pre-installed, just as Ford has done.
In business we will become increasingly used to using AI assistants to manage day-to-day schedules and put information in front of us when we need it. Going beyond that, there are opportunities to drive sales well as move to a more data-driven customer experience model, through the use of chatbots and natural language-capable marketing tools.
- Blockchain will transform the way we record and access certain types of data
Blockchain – the distributed, encrypted and public ledger behind virtual currency Bitcoin – has uses beyond making early adopters in virtual currencies filthy stinking rich. Experts say that it represents a leap forward in information storage and security. A blockchain is really just a digital file in which blocks of information are linked together (“chained”) and secured using private key cryptography, ensuring only those with appropriate permission can edit the sections of the data they are entitled to.
Because copies of the file are stored on multiple computer systems (distributed) and kept synchronized through the consensus of the network, they potentially enable innovative solutions to problems involving tracking and ledgering transactions in a digital world. In fact blockchain has the potential to change the very foundations of our economic system, though this is likely to be some way off. In the meantime, anyone capable of fitting blockchain technology to current business problems is likely to find their skills in demand.
2018 will be an exciting year for technological innovations that will leverage big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning AI, speech and natural language interfaces, and blockchains tools to transform and improve the world we live in. As with Big Data (and remember it’s the amount of data they have access to which is bringing machines close to what we think of as “intelligent”), AI can seem a daunting prospect. Have no fear, though – again, thanks to the explosion of open source and “as-a-service” options, today it is a viable prospect for organizations of all sizes. Skills and expertise in this area are sure to be in high demand in 2018.