Businesses are changing the way they used to run a decade back. They are adapting to the fast-paced competitive environment by changing their business models and leveraging cutting-edge technologies. While 2017 witnessed the rise in interesting technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; 2018 brings much more in store for companies looking to disrupt and be the game-changers of the industry.
In this blog, we attempt to uncover 2018’s technology landscape:
1. Adoption of Digital Twins across industries
Digital twin is just a digital replica of a physical asset. It is a virtual replica that is integrated with a physical asset for seamless exchange of data and analytics. With an increase in the internet of everything, digital twins will surge to a new high. Moving forward in 2018, more companies will converge the physical and virtual world throughout the product lifecycle. The virtual counterparts will be able to predict the health of equipment, downtime and in turn help in reducing the costs. In 2018, this technology will be applied to a host of industries and not just to industrial IoT. In retail for example, augmenting a customer’s experience can help in personalizing experience, better in store planning and so on. While in short term it will benefit in asset management, in long term it will help to inject operational efficiency thereby improving the end user experience.
2. Rise in AI based decision making
Artificial Intelligence has been setting stage itself for sometime now. According to Statista, the market for robo advisor will be USD 255 billion by 2020 and USD 70 billion for AI analytics. According to a research report by IDC, 75% of technology teams will use AI in one or more business applications or services by 2018. Experts feel that AI will be applied to multiple industries for enhanced decision making. E-commerce companies might be able to leverage AI to provide personalized pricing based on past purchase history and online behavior. We have already seen multiple financial institutions using AI and robo advisory for portfolio management. This will continue to grow in 2018. Experts have also predicted increased use of AI powered chatbots that will help customers take faster decisions. In one of the predictions, Tim Elliott, Innovation Evangelist at SAP mentioned that in near future all products, services, and business processes will be self-improving.
3. Mixed reality for improving digital experience
While Snapchat spectacles and Google glass were talk of the town a year back, brands have realized the importance of immersive experience. Many companies are focused on offering mixed reality combining physical and virtual worlds. Microsoft has recently launched mixed reality headsets that can stream VR games, run universal apps and do so much more.
4. Blockchain usage will not just limit to BFSI
Blockchain has continued to be one of the most sought after digital technologies these days. According to the state of blockchain report by Coindesk, aggregate valuation of blockchain token rose 4X, almost above $100bn. While 2016 and 2017 saw an increase in blockchain adoption by financial institutions and banks, the technology will also be leveraged by companies across other industries in 2018. Blockchain will be of a great use to track data exchange between autonomous vehicles in automotive whereas it will be extremely useful in improving health care records in healthcare. Blockchain will also be used by education institutes and organizations to secure data of students. Sony Global Education, for example, has partnered with IBM to develop a new educational platform that uses blockchain to secure and share student records.
Oaken Innovation recently demonstrated the idea of a blockchain-enabled tollbooth enabling Tesla cars to automatically pay on the toll booths. Car and tollbooth both have ethereum nodes triggering M2M transaction. Renault is piloting a digitized car maintenance program using blockchain to log all car repair jobs at one place. Toyota along with MIT Labs is exploring blockchain technology in full throttle.
Enterprises using public cloud to store data are often vulnerable to attacks due to centralized storage, but they will soon start leveraging blockchain to decentralize storage and make the data more secure. In fact, Blockchain is also leveraged by IMF and other government departments globally. Dubai has been the frontrunner and it is expected that it will be the world’s first blockchain-powered government by 2020.
5. Edge Computing - While edge computing is already adopted by some companies, it will see a further rise in 2018. Edge computing places the data and services away from centralized points to logical extremes of a network. While edge computing does not replace Cloud, it does make Cloud smarter with analytics that edge devices capture. The main objective of companies investing in IoT apps would be to follow on-device approach to compute and analytics. With devices performing the compute tasks, it lowers dependence on Cloud and simultaneously reduces latency for critical applications. Security is one other benefit that edge brings along. With devices storing the sensitive data, vulnerability is reduced manifolds.
Global companies are constantly in a chase to launch technology led products faster to market. Technologies such as Cloud, Big Data, Analytics, DevOps, Blockchain, AR, and AI are transforming the tech ecosystem and helping businesses build disruptive products faster. 2017 witnessed many product innovations across industries such as healthcare, retail, finance, education, entertainment, and manufacturing to name a few. Most of these technologies will continue to dominate in 2018 along with new advances such as digital twins, mixed reality, edge computing, among others.