As we enter the final years of the millennium’s second decade, we dive further into this era of digital convergence. We see a more pervasive integration of intelligent systems in daily life and a resulting heavier reliance on the support of technology, both in home and business operations. Whether it is simply due to the now prevalent use of the Internet of Things (IoT) or because of the increasing magnitude of power necessary to run extensive programs across an entire organization, new software trends are emerging daily to the IT scene.
A further intertwining of people and digital services characterizes all that is new in network technology in 2018. The latest developments are bound to disrupt current operations and lead to an era of increasing intelligence and digitization across the business world.
A General Outlook on 2018 Technology Trends in Business
As the year progresses, enterprise across the board will see nearly every aspect of normal operations shifting based on a number of developing intelligent technologies. We can expect to see the rise of new business models that lean into the growing trends of AI and automation, the crossing of physical and virtual worlds, and more intricate networking or meshing between sets of people, businesses and devices.
With the three overarching leanings toward intelligence, digitization and connection in mind, let’s take a look at four recently emerged areas of tech that we can see soaring in 2018 and beyond.
1. Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning
AI has exploded across industry lines, thanks to the widespread GPUs that make parallel processing possible. While AI-geared algorithms are prevailing in top apps and services, many organizations are still learning to adapt machine learning in a way that enhances company production. Even though many businesses are still in the stages of gathering data and testing beta technologies, it is a common prediction that eventually enterprise leaders will see intelligent and automated processes as a crucial element of typical business management.
Artificial intelligence has been met with a variety of responses. However, now, with the introduction of deep learning, even those new to AI concepts can see that it is less about installing robotics to replace human hands than it is about creating assistive tools that accomplish tasks and process information at a scale that human effort can not.
In 2018, the practical uses of AI in everything from manufacturing to healthcare and beyond are reaching ever-increasing heights of potential. It’s all about figuring out how to put artificial thinking into practice to create helpful systems, especially regarding cybersecurity and intelligent Things.
2. Adapting the Internet of Things for Business Use
This may be the age of wearable tech and self-driving vehicles, but it is also a time of smart sensors, robotics, devices and other systems that contribute to efficient production. Using intelligent technologies in everyday operations can help gain data on a variety of subjects, such as health concerns and consumer behaviors. This information and the combined forces of the IoT and AI will have enormous effects on future business structures, and 2018 is one of the crucial stages of this revolution.
In addition to extending network connectivity beyond computers and smartphones, the IoT is predicted to grow in adoption across personal and business settings. As the trend continues, by 2020, there will be 26 times more intelligent Things connected than people. It has also been predicted that with digital representations of these physical smart Things, also known as digital twins, analyzing the productivity of these IoT devices and diagnosing maintenance issues will be streamlined, leading to billions of dollars in savings on operational costs.
3. Edge Computing Network Design
While cloud technology has made waves in the past, today, we see a rising trend toward cloud-to-the-edge platforms. An edge pattern to network infrastructure shines brightest when confronted with the common computing obstacles of overcrowded bandwidth and poor connectivity. What edge computing can do is offer a solution that minimizes latency by keeping computations close to the endpoints of the system.
AI, IoT and edge computing are all areas of technology that have already expanded and been vastly explored in recent years. Interweaving the three has led to new methods, such as using AI as a method of making IoT devices more secure. Additionally, in data centers, deep learning is one of the tools being used at the edge of networks to decrease the mass of data transferred and increase network speed.
These technologies will continue to grow exponentially in prevalence through 2018 with the growing emphasis on cybersecurity and productivity, and we can expect to see some breakthroughs in these IT hot topics before the year is up.
4. Blockchain Transaction Tracking
We would be remiss without mentioning blockchain as a growing technology trend related to connectivity and transparency. The rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has only been possible because of the platform that blockchain has provided. As an online ledger shareable within a specified network, this record-keeping technology has disrupted the need for centralized control over exchanges, blazing a trail toward free and unregulated enterprise, and not just in the world of Bitcoin.
With the permanent paper trail that blockchain offers, there are several ways that businesses can take advantage and use this technology to its full potential for improved operations. A few examples include using the reliable records for audits, investigating the supply chain to diagnose and solve quality assurance problems, enabling smart and transparent contracts, and streamlining confirmations and validations on trades.
Overall, what has transformed blockchain into a growing trend is the appeal of eliminating the middleman or central trading authority, like a bank, from necessary business dealings. It has become a valuable platform for storing transactions and tracking the ownership of a variety of assets that has been unprecedented.
New Network Technology and Wireless Trends in 2018
While the wave of incoming tech advances propagated by AI and IoT seems to dominate the headlines, there is one area of enterprise that will fuel a powerful change in dynamics, and that is in emerging trends in network technologies.
When it comes to corporate networks, it appears that 2018 will mark an era of shifting habits and priorities to keep operations running smoothly and safely at all times. Part of the drive behind these changes comes from the threat of security breaches, but much of it also has to do with ever-intensifying competition and the widening availability of better gear and bigger networks that enable companies small and large to get ahead.
1. A Surge in IT Spending
Because of all of the extra value put on stable and secure networks, we can predict that companies will be willing to spend more on IT services this year. Across the globe, the economic force of IT services is growing in revenue, because even small businesses recognize the pervasive need for top-of-the-line network technology to climb to and remain at the forefront of their respective industries.
In a recent report, 44 percent of companies expect their IT budgets to increase in the coming year. The respondents predicted this budgetary jump to average 19 percent, thanks to the rising dependence on technology in their workplaces. They also claimed that likely any increase in company revenue would be reinvested in new tech as it emerges, especially hardware, to give them that extra competitive edge.
Another survey of IT professionals found that networking, specifically, is bound to be a financial priority from now on. Over half of the respondents indicated that their organization would increase spending by up to 10 percent more in the wireless and wide-area networking realms of IT alone. However, in both reports, around 40 percent of those surveyed expect their IT budgets to go without experiencing any changes at all.
2. Prioritizing Network Security
Nothing is as strong a motivator to invest in IT services than network security. Cybercriminals are craftier and more sophisticated than ever, and with IT infrastructure having extended into virtual, cloud-based platforms, a lot of valuable company and client data is left vulnerable to security threats.
Apart from implementing traditional firewalls and controlling user access, organizations are reaching for more robust cybersecurity strategies, which poses an excellent opportunity for developers to bring new defense approaches to the table. Incorporating AI to create intuitive, efficient systems will allow businesses to use smart machine capabilities to detect threats early and use proactive strategies in defending their information.
The importance of network security can’t be emphasized enough. When it comes to industrial IoT devices, compromised data could lead to unforeseen circumstances, such as equipment failure, injury and the theft of personal information. A potential security drawback to improving AI technologies is that the masterful use of artificial thinking could give skilled hackers a dangerous edge. For this reason and others, not only will it be crucial to develop insightful cybersecurity programs, but to also keep a close eye on other growing areas of tech.
3. A Boost in Bandwidth
After security, a high-speed connection ranks second on the list of highest networking priorities for 2018. On days with heavy network activity and production pressures, it is becoming increasingly crucial for an Ethernet connection that can support the weight of business operations without letting users down. Today, organizations use a much higher number of wireless devices, engage with more massive web content and typically cart information back and forth from cloud-based datacenters, and this bustling traffic can quickly lead to inconvenient lags and crashes.
Between 2016 and 2021, global IP networks are expected to have tripled in traffic. To stay at the forefront of the IT industry, strategic competitors will invest in increased bandwidth as it becomes available from here on out. Advanced video content, the introduction of IoT in the workplace and other trends on this list will only continue to add to network traffic as the year goes on, and it will be essential for businesses’ Internet speeds to match.
4. Upgrading Company WLANs
When it comes to wireless trends, nothing has become more standard than extensive wireless local area networks, or WLANs. WiFi in 2018 is undergoing a massive evolution to support spreading usage and requests. With a wave of new upgrades to the standards of wireless technologies, predictions stand that WLANs will serve as a critical catalyst for unlocking new digital connection possibilities.
As companies expand their networks, their investments over the next year will follow suit. IT professionals claim their organizations will increase access points and mobile devices while incorporating more intensive efforts to improve their wireless security and IT services that will keep their WLANs running smoothly, such as network management.
It isn’t just locally that WLAN is gaining new surges of momentum. It is true that North America currently dominates the global WLAN market, whereas cloud technology has pervaded tech in other developed regions of the world. But with industrialization, increasing populations and expanding IT companies across the globe, we have seen tremendous growth in this industry recently as other countries follow in North American footsteps.
Moving Forward With Smart, Secure and Connected Systems
In light of changing network priorities, there are a number of new tech advances heading our way in 2018 that will influence the way business is done from now on. Artificial intelligence may take the crown this year as the trend that will have the most extensive impact across the board since it has the potential to reach into any aspect of a given industry and revolutionize what has been standard until now.
In the world of network technologies, 2018 will give us a glimpse into new network structures and security measures to keep important data safe while also permitting its transfer between necessary parties. Balancing a higher level of connection with more intensive cybersecurity efforts may become a challenge, but it is one to which many aspire to rise. In the meantime, we will eagerly anticipate the global impact of these efforts and look forward to seeing just what these transformations have in store.
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