Top Trending Technologies for Enterprises in 2020

We all know that technology is evolving at an ever-increasing rate. But to a lesser extent do people know that, as a result, only those organisations that adopt and embrace new and emerging technologies will be able to compete with their rivals and meet changing consumer demands.

As we move further into 2020 and a new decade, here are the top technologies you need to know about!

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Artificial Intelligence Powers New Age of Technology

No conversation about trending technology is complete without mentioning Artificial Intelligence (AI). Organisations have adopted AI and implemented it on a vast scale and it is now pervasive, with the number of organisations using AI growing 270% in the past four years. Conversational user interfaces like Google Assistance, Alexa and Cortana have brought AI into the home and our pockets through smartphones and the Internet of Things.

But AI’s applications don’t stop there. Enterprises have embraced machine learning algorithms to power new business solutions, including predictive models in banking, healthcare, and insurance to identify new opportunities, generate revenue and – in healthcare’s case – save lives.

Hyperautomation is also a mainstay of the AI trend, with many job functions either currently being fulfilled by AI or soon to be so. Contrary to popular belief, this wave of automation isn’t eliminating jobs. Instead, AI is performing tedious and administrative tasks, thereby freeing up the workforce to focus on more strategic projects.

There’s more to AI than just this, including voice and natural language processing, enhanced analytics and much more. For a full breakdown of everything that’s happening in the world of AI, you can learn from our dedicated AI webinar series, All Things AI. Check it out now!

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The number of organisations using AI has grown 270% in the past four years. It is pervasive!

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Internet of Things & Edge Computing

With the rise of smart devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand into more areas of the home and our lives in general. This has accelerated a new revolution: edge computing, where data collection, processing and delivery are performed locally in a bid to reduce latency.

Now that more smart devices are permeating every sphere of modern life, key applications and services are being moved closer to the actual point-of-use. Gartner predicts that there could be more than 20 times as many smart devices at the edge of the network than in conventional IT roles by 2023.

The main reason for this is the exponential growth of IoT devices, every one of which requires a connection to the cloud to send or receive data. By moving computing to the edge – in other words, closer to the IoT device – organisations can save on data transfers and improve performance as data is gathered and processed within the device itself.

While performance enhancement is one benefit, another is more subtle. The IoT and edge computing empower organisations with improved data collection and processing capabilities, which in turn can be used to train AI solutions and predictive analytics.

In the future, we’ll see organisations utilise this additional information to enhance the brand/customer relationships in new and exciting ways. For more on the future of edge computing, check out Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s thoughts in TechCrunch.

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5G Speeds Unlock Innovation

We are on the cusp of a 5G revolution, with every technology on this trends list set to benefit from the enhanced speeds and capacity of this new telecommunication network. 5G wireless networks have the potential to bring 1,000-fold gains in capacity and connections for at least 100 billion devices and a 10 GB/s speed with low latency. Other projections suggest speeds of up to 20GB/s. That means, in optimal conditions, you could download a 5GB movie in under 2 seconds.

The potential benefits of 5G for business are vast. There is a potentially unlimited scope for IoT enhancement, and 5G could be the backbone of a new range of autonomous devices and technologies, including self-driving cars and smart cities. But to unlock the most that 5G has to offer, telecommunication providers will need to completely overhaul existing infrastructure.

This is easier said than done. Economic and political realities mean bringing 5G speeds to everyday mobile users will take years, with many countries refusing to adopt existing technology solutions like those offered by Huawei due to national security and privacy concerns. Given that Huawei’s 5G infrastructure is both high-performing and cheaper than alternatives, this means we could be waiting longer for a full 5G-rollout.

Nevertheless, to overlook how ground-breaking 5G can be is to forfeit future gains. Organisations are already planning to capitalise on 5G speeds – how can you?

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Blockchain Becomes Practical

Blockchain technology has featured on many trends lists in recent years. But ever since the meteoric rise and subsequent fall of bitcoin, there have been fewer praises sung about the value of blockchain.

In part, that’s because many organisations don’t know what to do with this unique technology. If you’re not aware, blockchain is a type of distributed ledger wherein each new entry creates a new time-stamped and encrypted block in the ledger that cannot be erased or retroactively altered. Records are shared between all participants in the network, making hacking almost impossible.

Unfortunately, blockchain’s potential has been hampered by its connotations with cryptocurrency. But now we’re starting to see the practical uses of blockchain creeping through.

For instance, some organisations are looking to use blockchain to trace assets, which could help track food-borne illnesses back to the original supplier. Elsewhere, smart contracts are taking what was once a physical act and turning it digital. So-called smart contracts self-execute once the terms of the agreement between parties have been met.

Current projections suggest that blockchain will be fully scalable by 2023.

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Gartner suggests that over 50% of all enterprise-generated data will be produced outside of traditional datacentres or a single centralised cloud by 2022.

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Distributed Cloud Takes Over

Organisations across the world have been migrating many of their core functions to the cloud for several years now, but there is a new evolution in cloud computing underway.

With the distributed cloud, we are seeing a new distribution of public cloud services to locations outside of the cloud provider’s physical data centres, while remaining under the control of the provider. Gone are the days of centralised public cloud, with cloud providers now undertaking more responsibilities including cloud service architecture, operations and delivery.

In practice, the distributed cloud empowers cloud providers by allowing them to store data anywhere. Cloud providers can address latency and regulatory issues by storing data at the nearest relevant data centre, and guarantee crisis recovery and near-zero down-time by storing backups across multiple data centres.

Cloud computing has evolved rapidly in the past few years, and we’ll continue to see more organisations seize the opportunities the new distributed cloud methodology affords business. After all, Gartner suggests that over 50% of all enterprise-generated data will be produced outside of traditional datacentres or a single centralised cloud by 2022, and 75% by 2025.

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New Sectors Adopt Tech

Not a new technology, but the expansion of technology into new frontiers. More and more organisations and sectors are coming to appreciate the need for technological solutions to everyday tasks. They also understand that to shun technology is to give up their competitive edge to their rivals who do adopt new technologies.

As the year and decade progress, expect to see more organisations adopt technology and for sectors that traditionally avoided tech to embrace it in abundance.

From construction to hospitality, fintech to medicine, charity to retail, those sectors that already utilise technology will see new gains, and those that are playing catch-up will unlock new opportunities.

If you takeaway one thing from this trend, let it be this: be aware that your rivals could embrace new technologies that could help them outcompete you. It’s your responsibility to keep ahead of the pack and strategise for emerging technologies now.

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Introducing Human Experience Platforms

Further to our section on AI from earlier, we’ll end on one of the most exciting technology trends around today: human experience platforms.

Enterprises are looking today at how they can enhance the lives of both their employees and their customers through technology. Until now, computers have been able to perform tasks but not understand or react to human behaviour. No more: AI is changing this, with “affective computing” ensuring that humans experience more emotional connections with technology and, therefore, brands.

This trend isn’t confined to technologies like autonomous vehicles. For instance, Deloitte reports that one “global restaurant chain is tailoring its drive-through experiences based on changes in the weather” and using AI to do that. Elsewhere, “retailers are integrating AI-powered bots with customer segmentation and CRM systems to personalise customer interactions while at the same time capturing valuable lead-nurturing data.”

Human Experience Platforms are the natural progression of this trend. It involves designers approaching projects with humans in mind from the outset, looking to adopt the best AI technology to achieve goals. This is instead of technologists building a new offering and retroactively attempting to find a human problem for it to solve.

In the future, digital interactions will therefore have a more human connection. Organisations are designing highly customised experiences around individual user behaviours and expectations. For instance, voice stress analysis and microexpression detection tools are helping machines to detect emotional signs in humans and coordinate an appropriate response. Overall, we’ll see enhanced brand/customer relationships as organisations prioritise emotionally intelligent human experiences.

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