Five Technology Predictions for 2020

An intriguing perspective on imminent technology trends by TEKenable CTO Peter Rose, where he talks about emerging next-generation technologies like super-fast 5G, Blockchain, Artificial iItelligence as a service and more.

I don’t normally do predictions but there are some trends that have sparked my imagination and I would like to share with you. These are not necessarily the most money earning or even popular,  you may not see them in the big IT consultancy reports but they resonate with me.  These are some concepts that will take a leap forward but may not be fully realised in 2020…

5G Drives Sensor Tech

The capabilities of smart phones has until now been limited by available connectivity. The advent of 5G turns that on its head making the smart phone itself the limiting factor. The ability to download multiple 4K movies simultaneously to a smartphone is impressive but not practical so new models of use must will emerge.     

I believe that immersive VR will allow 5G consumers to virtually join a friend wherever they are in full and glorious detail. Imagine streaming a full 3D model of the space around you as you walk through a Mediterranean village and your friends being able to join you on the walk via their VR headsets. Your friends can look in any direction and at anything you passed, even after you have left. 

OpenStreetMap could evolve into Open3DModels with crowdsourced detailed 3D rendering of popular locations stitched together from a multitude of real time streamed scans. Of course, this will require smart phones to have greatly upgraded sensor capabilities and 360 degree cameras with depth measurement capabilities and perhaps linked VR glasses, all technologies that already exist. 5G will encourage a sensor revolution.  

Blockchain Solves Trolling 

One of the major issues of our time is how to manage identity and trust on the Internet.  Most of the bad things that happen in the Internet (think Bullying, Spam, Phishing, Trolling etc) happen because the Internet provides anonymity or at least a very weak means of establishing identity. If the Internet could be infused with a global standard for establishing Identity that would then lead to the capability to assess Trust dealing with a lot of the issues.  

Peter Rose Technical Director
TEKenable CTO, Peter Rose

It is not necessary to remove anonymity to achieve this, anonymity has a great deal of value in the right circumstances, but it would allow people and services to choose who they want to hear from and on what basis. Blockchain has the potential to be the technology that underpins the delivery of Identity and also as a means to control your own personal data and who has access to it when. Blockchain enthusiasts must dial down the evangelism and stop promoting the technology as an elixir for all ills though as it greatly diminishes credibility. 

The Demise of Bespoke Software

Yes, I have over 30 years in bespoke software delivery but Low Code solutions have now reached a maturity that they are very capable of delivering the “Data Capture into a Database, Follow a Workflow Process, Report on Stuff” type of business application with little or no bespoke code required.  

This results in huge savings on delivery effort and time as well as a lower risk of software issues leading to a lower testing requirement and rapid iteration of functionality. Bespoke software is far from dead but is certainly at the entrance to the hospital and becoming much less relevant for more and more classes of business applications. Check out this as an example of a Low Code platform – Dynamics 365.

Cyber Security Arms Race 

The market is awash with products that claim to keep you safe from one threat or another and the bad guys are developing ever more sophisticated attacks but the really scary development is the rise of AI.  AI can now be used to create targeted phishing emails that use your social media and professional profiles to tailor a compelling email just for you. AI can also be used to scan systems for vulnerabilities and rapidly build complex attacks that humans cannot do at speed or scale. 

The solution, AI based defenses, but as companies have limited budgets and cannot buy all the security tools on offer these systems have to become general purpose behavioral model based software solutions that do not address specific threat types, there are just too many threat types, but they must offer a different model of defense that is not threat specific. In the meantime, ask your software providers if they are ISO27001 (Information Security) certified and if they have a Secure Software Development Lifecycle, this should be a basic hygiene factor for procurement in 2020.

Artificial Intelligence – AI

AI is currently being extensively, but somewhat superficially used today.  It is most obvious in the natural language interfaces (think Google Assistant, Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and ChatBots) that are transforming the way that we interact with computer systems and organisations. But it is also prevalent, but hidden, in behavioral analytics driving advertising and increasing eCommerce sales for example. 

AI has moved from an obscure branch of computer science to commoditised services that are now so accessible to all software developers that AI has become a commodity technology. This will drive a much more rapid uptake than has previously been possible.  For example, TEKenable is delivering business reports today that with a click of a mouse can not only show you your data but can explain what drove changes in that data, something unthinkable just a year ago. Check out the Power Platform.

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