The beginning of the 2020s has already proved to be revolutionary for various reasons, not least for advancements in technology. The coronavirus pandemic alone has proved how healthcare planning and rollout can benefit from the newest technological developments. The competition to demonstrate safe commercial spaceflight may soon supercharge the aeronautics industry. As businesses become increasingly digital, IT consulting services are being flooded with queries on making the most of the newest trends to deliver on insights, drive revenue and boost growth. But this decade is only starting: what are some trends that may shape the future of the information technology industry?
No discussion of the future of technology can begin without a mention of artificial intelligence and machine learning. What was once the hold of science fiction is quickly becoming a daily fact for businesses across sectors: machine learning processes and suggesting improvements quickly revolutionize the technology industry. In fact, artificial intelligence and machine learning are so crucial and so increasingly widespread that they are to thank for a lot of the other trends below!
Yet another science-fiction concept – real wearables, are transforming the way we live our lives. The wearable technology industry began with fitness trackers but has quickly expanded to any gadget that can help live longer, feel safer and be more efficient. As the technology gets more sophisticated and consumers become more comfortable with it, we may even see wearable tech interacting with augmented reality to create new, impossible experiences available to the average person.
The Internet of Things
Wearable tech would not exist without the increasingly interconnected network of smart devices, the Internet of Things. From smartphones to smart speakers to smart refrigerators, more and more everyday objects are becoming vessels to gather and transmit data, learning more about how to improve the lives of their owners. As with many trends on its list, they help each other out: the data gathered by smart objects contributes to Big Data and machine learning systems, furthering technological development at the same time.
Big Data is another buzzword that flies around businesses looking to drive development. Big Data refers to the vast amount of data being generated every second worldwide, and it is increasing every day. Thanks to this enormous amount of data, AI systems can learn processes at lightning speed, and personal devices can seemingly anticipate the needs of their owners. As we become an increasingly digital species, the amount of data we generate will only increase, making this an even more critical factor in shaping the technology industry.
A few years ago, only a handful of people had even heard of blockchains, let alone knew how they were helpful. With the popularization of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the concept is becoming more widespread, especially amongst innovating technology businesses. For the uninitiated, blockchains are a method of storing and protecting more secure data than ever. It has applications in a huge range of industries, from finance to healthcare and beyond.
Cloud computing is hardly a new trend: chances are you already have some data stored on a cloud platform, whether you are a tech genius or not. Cloud computing has already helped change the way businesses handle and access their data, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. The next stage of this is edge computing: using smartphones and similar personal devices to process data. This relatively new field is showing immense promise in changing the way we access data, yet again.
This umbrella term includes virtual reality (where entire experiences are created digitally), augmented reality (where digital systems supplement real life), and mixed reality (somewhere between the two). What was once the stuff of fantasy is now realistic and achievable for consumers, and if the trend continues, it will only become more sophisticated, practical, and affordable.
Returning to the realm of science fiction, digital twins are the growing trend of creating exact replicas of real-life objects in a digital space. This is more than a simple model: the idea is to make like-for-like copies that look, act and even feel the same as the real deal (with a little help from augmented reality). The applications of such technology could be hugely beneficial to professions where real-life experimentation and development carries with it great human risk. For example, digital replicas of complicated or dangerous machines could be used to train engineers in how to build and maintain them.
If you have been on the internet in the last year, you have probably interacted with a chatbot, even if you haven’t realized it. Digital customer interfaces controlled by artificial intelligence systems are already starting to filter into many businesses’ websites and online stores. As consumers become more accustomed to dealing with chatbots, either through text or voice activation, their technology can become more sophisticated and refined, and therefore more useful.
Natural Language Processing
Just as we talk more to our machines, our machines are learning to listen to us. Natural language processing describes the process through which machine learning technologies understand human language, be it through text or voice recognition. The more artificial intelligence systems can understand language, the more they can replicate and help improve it. The impact of this technology could be huge, affecting everything from the creative arts to international relations.
Of course, in order for most of these developments to truly shape the future of IT, they need to be able to function quicker and more efficiently than ever before. For that, 5G is here to help. The next generation of wireless cellular technology can pave the way for faster and more stable communication. Like artificial intelligence and machine learning, 5G provides the groundwork for a host of other innovations to revolutionize the way we live our lives.