Technological advances have always been at the heart of every competitive business, from Gutenberg’s printing press to the slew of Apple consumer products that have conquered the globe. However, it’s safe to say that the impact of technology on our daily lives and the way we do business has never been greater than it is today.
In just a few short years, the world of business has transformed immensely — and the pace of change does not seem to be slowing down in the near future either. As every industry becomes more and more global, there are plenty of benefits to reap for everyone involved — but only as long as key decision-makers fully utilize the tech trends of the near future. So, what are some of the technologies that will be transforming and disrupting business in the next couple of years? We’ll take an in-depth look at the major ones right here.
Paradigm shifts in cybersecurity
As new technology brings an entirely new level of programmability and predictive capabilities, the world of cybersecurity software solutions must follow suit. The combined use of machine learning, analytics, and other AI-infused technologies with large-scale sets of data and metadata will result in more predictability and higher security standards than ever.
The ever-increasing amount of data collected by businesses and cybersecurity companies makes it increasingly easier to recognize patterns and shut down any possible attack vectors before they materialize. In a large part, this is due to the rising programmability of all elements of our infrastructure.
Big data analytics
While many of the technologies that we’ll examine will reach maturity in the next couple of years, big data analytics has already proven transformative enough for many major businesses and industries.
And cybersecurity is far from the only application of these advanced analytical capabilities — by going through big data in a more meaningful way and capturing more insights than ever, many business-critical opportunities and risks become readily apparent.
Indeed, big data analytics have already changed the way we approach complex governance, social, and environmental issues like sustainability — and it will continue changing how we think about business in general.
To make the most of this change, businesses will definitely need to abandon the idea that all data has to be kept in a centralized, palpable, on-site location. The data centers we’ve all been used to for decades are quickly becoming obsolete as new applications are designed to be scalable — which means they’re created with a cloud-first mindset.
This brings us to another major change that’s already noticeable and has picked up steam in the past decade — application infrastructure making visible strides towards cloud-native apps. In the past couple of years, new development methods, code reusability, and the wide confines of the cloud infrastructure have allowed the global dev community to create more applications than in the previous four decades.
Of course, that’s not to say that other computing models will die out instantly — container-based computing, physical servers, and virtual servers are all evolving in interesting ways as well. However, serverless computing on the cloud just brings more cost savings and agility than any other model; making it the most interesting choice for businesses looking to remain competitive.
And as enterprises experience this paradigm shift in infrastructure, they’ll have to make choices regarding their approach to product development. The COVID-19-triggered shutdowns have accelerated a long-standing trend of shifting to remote work — and industries that design, ship, and manufacture products will have to quickly “get with the program” when it comes to developing cloud-based technologies.
In just a few years, it will be completely reasonable to expect intelligent algorithms optimizing manufacturing assembly lines and reaching new heights of output and product quality. And the companies that fall behind in adopting these new technologies will be left out in the cold.
Internet of Things
The previous decade has seen a lot of tech-related buzzwords come and go — but of the ones that have stood the test of time, the “Internet of Things” has perhaps proven to be the most resilient. Today, the managing, development, and maintenance of increasingly widespread IoT applications and devices is fast becoming one of the most prospective tech frontiers.
And this is not just important for hardware and software development companies. With everything from a toaster and a fridge to our cars having smart, autonomy-infused features — all consumer product companies will have to become intricately familiar with the ins and outs of IoT tech.
Of course, all of this is being facilitated by advancements in audiovisual technologies that have produced sensors of an unprecedented precision. When combined with machine learning and other promising AI fields, IoT sensor tech could prove to be the next great growth area in consumer economics.
Most IT leaders recognize that 5G is a potential economic disruptor even today — all it needs is more demand for practical applications. As of now, telco companies are the ones pushing for 5G adoption most aggressively; they’ve invested billions in 5G infrastructures and marketing, and they hope to see more revenue from it in the coming years.
However, more applications that uniquely capitalize on 5G benefits are in development than ever before — and 2021 has been a prospective year for private 5G networks. The hyper-local nature of 5G is a natural match for plenty of localized services — and private 5G will become increasingly useful for mobility-heavy situations and mission-critical applications.
Importance of data
It’s been almost thirty years since Bill Gates prophetically stated that “content is king” — and this statement has never seemed as much of an axiom as it does today. We’ve already gone over the incredible new capabilities all enterprises have in terms of big data analytics. However, obviously enough, all of that is useless without big data on which to apply those capabilities in the first place.
Luckily, digital platforms, social networks, and IoT devices (Alexa and Google Home, we’re looking at you) are gathering vast amounts of data — and more and more each year. This has also resulted in a rising demand for B2B application programming of interfaces and platforms that transform these heaps of data into valuable business insights.
The race is on to see who can gather the most information from the highest number of different data points, gain the most accurate insights, and utilize them — all with the minimal possible cost. In the near future, businesses that prove themselves most capable of leveraging data from various touchpoints will be the most well-positioned to customize their services and products in response to shifting market landscapes.
When it comes to technologies disrupting business, there aren’t many that have garnered as much mainstream interest as blockchain. And while cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin) run on blockchain technology, and that technology was originally developed for them — crypto is far from the only commercial application of blockchain.
In reality, the concept of distributed digital ledgers is poised to completely transform the way we do business — as well as how huge corporations interact with their consumer base. Once blockchain networks enter mainstream use, the technologies based on them could radically change accounting and legal adjudication. Smart contracts based on Ethereum, for example, already have the capability to eliminate third parties and middlemen from a huge swath of everyday transactions.
However, there’s a long way to go before blockchain could realistically be adopted on an everyday level. The volatility of the blockchain-based cryptocurrencies has colored the whole technology as unpredictable and unreliable among many government officials and key decision-makers — even though the reality of the matter is substantially different.
Trust in enterprise and government applications of blockchain will need to be shored up first — with a clearer set of unified standards, the computing power necessary for public chains, and the lack of fear of public exposure.
Also, the potential combination of artificial intelligence and blockchain may significantly alter the landscape of transactional businesses in the future. With AI capable of quickly interpreting and analyzing vast heaps of data in a reliable manner, and blockchain as a decentralized, immutable space for perfectly encrypted data — the possibilities are practically endless.