Technology is changing at an alarming rate — and that means any related industries will also feel that change. IT security and development, for example, will have to adapt to accommodate IoT, connected devices, machine learning and the advancement of AI.
But sometimes there are more sweeping changes that completely alter the landscape. We’re not talking about a little change here and there. No, we’re talking about a complete revamp of modern strategies, policies and campaigns. Like when you bulldoze a property or building to make way for new structures.
Believe it or not, there are quite a few developments that can and will gain ground over the coming years. It means you will need to update your own policies and strategies, but it also means new opportunities will be opening for the rest of the world.
In today’s world, security is a major concern — especially during an official transaction. Blockchain technology is designed to facilitate a transfer of data, reliably, without the need for a third party or officiant. This is because the transfer is secure and no one can tamper with or change the content related to the transaction except the buyer and the seller.
Blockchain is most commonly associated with modern cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which helped it gain popularity. That said, the technology can be used in many ways. Banks and notaries, for example, could use the technology to make trusted transactions.
Many have even gone so far as to claim that Blockchain technology will change the world as we know it. It will alter the core of the IT industry, too. Voting, online and conventional real estate transactions, cybersecurity, retail, banking and finances, and much more are all in for a real change as far as IT is concerned.
More importantly, Blockchain will enable a publicly accessible record of transactions while remaining one of the most secure digital mediums ever.
2. IoT or the Internet of Things
Not long ago, internet access was reserved for computers, tablets, smartphones and similar platforms. However, that has changed completely in today’s world. Now, there are connected appliances, tools, cars and bikes, thermostats, lights and much more. Thanks to the widespread adoption of the internet pretty much everywhere, it has come to, well, things.
This affects the IT industry for many reasons, the most obvious of which is that there will be an endless influx of data from all these new connected devices. Plus, proprietary and useful experiences will need to be crafted by developers. Security will be a major concern, especially with something like computer and self-controlled vehicles. Finally, the systems and networks to facilitate massive amounts of data exchanges will need to evolve and become more capable over time.
Take self-driving vehicles, for example. They employ a variety of sensors integrated inside the vehicle to make real-time calculations. However, the vehicles must also be able to access a remote network where massive streams of data are available and likely coming in from other vehicles around the world. Thanks to machine learning and AI, the vehicle’s control system can review said data to make split-second decisions and perhaps even save the lives of passengers inside.
This all, believe it or not, comes back to the modern IT industry and infrastructures many of us work with daily.
3. Quantum Computing Software
Experts and physicists predict that quantum computing hardware will become prominent within the next 15 to 20 years. It’s the software for these systems, however, that will cause the biggest disruption in the IT industry.
If you need a refresher on Quantum computing, give this Forbes article a read. To understand why quantum software will be disruptive, you have to understand the difference between classical computers and those referred to as “quantum-capable.”
The greatest challenge for quantum computing and developers will be to produce reliable, working algorithms that improve use cases of the platform(s) in question. Furthermore, because quantum computers are so much more powerful, modern security will have been broken by their emergence. Encryption, for instance — even in its strongest and most advanced form — can be cracked quite easily by these new hardware systems.
You can see almost immediately that new strategies, processes and philosophies will be necessary going forward as these exponentially more powerful systems come of age. It’s up to the IT industry, developers and engineers to make all this happen.
4. Autonomy and AI
Alongside the rise of big data, remote computing, machine learning and even IoT comes the widespread adoption of modern automation technology, often controlled and governed by AI. Devices, computers, platforms and even “things” are becoming more and more intelligent and capable of taking action and making real-time decisions faster than any human. This is possible because they have access to endless hordes of data stored remotely in the cloud.
But we’re only scratching the surface with the current state of things. Basic autonomy and AI tools are appearing more common, but it’s the advancement of this technology that will truly alter the IT landscape. Next-level intelligence systems will be able to sync up with both humans and machines alike to achieve amazing things.
Imagine, for instance, what automation and AI can do for the healthcare industry and related equipment. How about a surgical ‘bot that can make split-second decisions to save a patient’s life without ever tiring or losing focus?
Both of these technologies will have a significant impact in nearly every industry that exists, from construction and manufacturing to retail and customer service.
5. Next-Level Cloud and Remote Computing
Cloud computing and remote systems are already incredibly robust in today’s world. Workers can tap into a remote network to conduct operations even from a home computer or office. It’s also possible to do the same with mobile devices and tablets, allowing workers to operate more freely in the field. The 24/7 anytime, anywhere access has made cloud computing invaluable to nearly every industry.
Even more promising is the new approach to software-as-a-service platforms that allow companies to focus on providing proprietary experiences to teams no matter where they are or what hardware they are using. It also offsets many of the responsibilities to a more skilled, more capable team, such as an in-house data security firm.
Cloud technologies will be adopted more heavily by nearly everyone, and that also means they will need to scale appropriately. This gives you some indication of the future of cloud and remote computing. More advanced platforms will emerge, allowing for more functionality, more support and better use cases.
Think of customers entering a brick-and-mortar retail store, tapping into a remote network through a branded app and immediately accessing troves of data and information they never had before. Where they can find inventory or items? What about internal directories or maps updated in real-time to match furnishings and promotions and social communities centered around a brand and its products? The possibilities are endless.
6. Immersive Technology
Many are realizing the full potential of AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) technology. They allow parties to deliver incredibly immersive experiences, both for entertainment and more practical purposes.
Imagine, for instance, in the construction industry, smart headwear that allows workers to see projections of digital content in the real world. Lineman, for instance, could see exactly where cables and tunnels exist underground simply by looking down at their feet — no digging or uprooting required.
It will be up to the IT and development industry to not only craft these kinds of experiences but also push the limits of the technology to new heights. Engineers will need to both slim down and remodel devices so they’re more convenient and accessible. Developers will need to craft software, apps and experiences that support these platforms. Security analysts will need to come up with new and innovative ways to protect the data transfer and access of said hardware.
It’s an industries-wide movement that’s already happening right now.
The Future of IT Is a Completely Different Landscape
You might as well prepare yourself now for a widespread change in the IT industry thanks to many of the technologies discussed here. Of course, what would true innovation be without new technologies and platforms cropping up every day? Expect to see some changes in ways that aren’t even mentioned, particularly with new hardware and systems that are deployed in the real world. We didn’t even touch on wearables, prosthetics and body sensors, neural networks, androids or intelligent robots.
All that aside, the core tenants will remain the same. Crafting useful and practical experiences will be important, as is reliable security, authentication support, large developer communities and, last but not least, the hardware that will make all of it possible.
Nathan Sykes is a business and tech blogger from Pittsburgh, PA. To read more by him, check out his blog, Finding an Outlet.