Part two: 6-10
More techno trivia
Welcome to part two of my scene setting for the year ahead; the hot techs clamouring for your attention in a very crowded environment. So far, we’ve covered the rise of AI, the role of Software-Defined Everything and the proliferation of connected devices, VR and AR, and the emergence of bio-tech. I haven’t even mentioned edge computing yet, cloud pushed to the edge, highly distributed computing. Well, I have now, and as I said in the last blog if I were to offer a whistle-stop tour around all emerging and about-to-consolidate new technologies it would burst the blog and by the time I’d finished, one or two technologies may already have been superseded.
Pace of change contextualises my top ten. So too does the general concept of openness and collaboration; technologies coming together, as well as people. All these technologies have connections and relevance to each other. This is not to say they’re essentially inter-dependant, but they can be. The trick for the enterprise is not to run out of breath before the race has even been run. There are no well-trodden paths yet but there are experienced guides who can help you get where you believe you should be going.
Competition is fierce in a techno-enabled world. So is the pressure to make the right moves at the right time; neither over- nor under-investing. I spend much of my time helping business leaders to make the optimum choice; I’m always around for a chat on that basis if you ever feel the need.
- Community validation
Kicking off the final five with an approach to financial matters that would have looked like utter insanity ten years ago; blockchain. Shared and Distributed ledgers like Blockchain will evolve further across different mediums and become available to all types of use cases and industries. You only have to look at Bitcoin as an example which essentially weeds out traditional agencies like Banks and Clearing Houses and becomes an industry in itself.
One Bitcoin is now valued at around USD$17, 400. Just five years ago it stood at less than $1. While its valuation tends to be volatile and it’s not yet widely accepted as a payment type – it does shows how this type of technology can transform an industry.
Other industries have understood the message that the idea of distributed ledgers delivers. In the transport and shipping industry, the concept has been harnessed to improve visibility and bypass freight forwarders and large shipping and logistics supply chain companies. It will also lead to greater transparency about the origins of goods, driving more ethical trading globally.
- Data Regulation
I know what you’re thinking; how does an essentially red tape issue make it onto a list of technologies defining the way we do business smarter? Fundamentally, this is all about what makes ‘smart’ possible in the first place. Observing patterns of behaviour, histories, preferences and heaps of related lifestyle and demographic indicators – the driving force of data analytics – brings all sorts of hefty considerations around privacy, security and the rights of the individual. Hence PCI, HIPAA and now GDPR are becoming a front-rank agenda item for every organisation.
Expect more governments and industry governing bodies to introduce requirements to comply with protection of private, financial and health related information – how it is exchanged, how it is processed and stored, how and for how long it is retained. Readiness for these regulations is now essential and there’s no need to mention the fines just to stress the point (although 4% of annual turnover, per GDPR, is a compelling incentive to comply).
Regularity measures are essentially driving towards everything becoming anonymised, while still being relatable to the owner. Enabling technologies to address these requirements will be ML/AI and Blockchain, touched on in blog 1 , likely to build into a whole industry themselves as the requirements evolve.
- 3D Printing
While 3D Printing may seem like a technology that is realistically only for the Industrial & Retail Manufacturing and Design space, we are starting to see real use cases for it in Healthcare. 3D Printing is now making the manufacture of replacement bones and even heart valves an easy process.
As adoption and innovation around this technology increases we’ll see many existing companies who currently rely on external parts suppliers harnessing the capability of making the parts themselves; bringing down costs and removing a step form the supply chain. When this technology starts being affordable for consumers, we will see families printing products they need for their homes and daily lifestyles rather than purchasing from traditional retailers. Why go buy a ready-made product, when you can purchase the material and 3D Print at home items that match your style, not the manufacturers?
- Security Injections and Security of Everything
Ransomware is only the beginning for the new type of issues that will plague organisations and the many angles and attack vectors these issues will present to organisations and consumers directly. As the security challenge intensifies, it’s likely that solutions will get easier through Machine Learning and AI.
Cyber Security dominates boardroom agendas as every part of the business is now exposed to attack by hackers whose techniques are becoming ever more advanced and sophisticated. Organisations will need to use more adaptive, faster and smarter technology, and highly skilled people, to combat these ever-increasing threats to destabilise a business or hold its information or assets at ransom.
It’s astounding to think that many organisations, despite evidence to the contrary, still live in a false reality that mobile devices and certain types of operating system on laptops and in the corporate datacentre are not prone to viruses. A virus is the least of our concerns now; that’s yesterday’s challenge. It’s time to contend with today’s threats and recognise that the people behind them can often be as innovative as we consider ourselves to be. Anyway, what is a virus these days?
So, to the crowning glory of the new world of harmony through technology: Cloud. Use cases from cloud providers will continue apace, with Amazon leading the way with its push for more and more service consumption, providing greater reductions in cost and simplifying how many businesses can get operational with these services.
Everything as a Service is burgeoning, with thousands of providers in the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS spaces delivering services to every conceivable type and size of businesses. Whilst Hybrid will remain for some time – which is helping Microsoft to continue to grow and re-invent itself – we will start seeing Hybrid technologies that enable easier and more seamless migration and co-use of on-premise and Cloud technologies working together especially for those legacy Applications that are not yet cloud ready.
Lots to think about then, as we hurtle further into 2018. I hope the year brings all that you hope for; the agility and manoeuvrability to achieve great things and, above all, excellent health and plenty of laughter along the way.
Have a good one.
Cheers. Tommy Kolega, CIO, Viadex.
 Back in Roman times, ‘trivium’ meant the place where three roads met (tri via). Roman armies were always going into fresh, unexplored, and often hostile territory. They would leave small notes at these junctions for other legionnaires to learn from, such as “Axe-wielding nutcase Celts ahead”, or “Fresh bread at tavern in 73 miles”. Legions would learn from the mistakes or insights of others. So this blog, and the last one, offers some insights that I hope elucidate the many options any enterprise would be advised to be looking at further.