The top tech trends for businesses that you should know – Pete Kinder, CTO at Wax Digital

This article was contributed by Pete Kinder, CTO at Wax Digital

Gartner’s 2020 CIO Agenda survey found that 40% of CIOs have reached their limit when it comes to implementing digital initiatives that drive business change; a rise of 23% from the previous year’s survey. Digital transformation is clearly a top priority for many organisations, and those that don’t embrace it risk lagging behind competitors. 

The long list of emerging technologies hasn’t got any shorter. Here are just some of the technologies with the potential to transform forward-thinking businesses.

Hyperautomation

This uses machine learning, complex software and specially designed automation platforms to make processes and operations run on their own. Hyperautomation understands the range of tasks that can be automated, what’s required to put this into action, and how individual elements of the activity should work together to achieve the desired outcome. Whether it’s by managing contracts or fixing IT failings, hyperautomation frees up valuable time for people across the organisation, enabling them to focus on other business-critical tasks.

Human augmentation

Soon it won’t just be science fiction where we see technology integrated into people. Human augmentation is currently being trialled and tested, meaning that in a few years we could see employees have cybernetic implants and enhanced mental abilities. For example, tech entrepreneur, Elon Musk has tested Neuralink, an integrated brain-machine interface, on a chimpanzee. The animal was able to control a Windows 10 machine with just its mind. Rolled out on humans, that could mean employees being able to carry out certain tasks through mental capabilities. Tech developers must ensure that they don’t compromise on ethical and privacy concerns though.

Edge computing

Edge computing means running fewer processes in the cloud and localising them, such as on a user’s computer, or an edge server. Since it allows information to be interpreted by local devices, data can be managed more efficiently through this approach, saving time, money and bandwidth compared to cloud computing. Not only that, businesses needn’t worry about the security of their data while they’re in a far-flung location, and will instead, protect their on-premise solution. 

5G will play a part in edge computing’s rise in popularity. Once the wireless internet connection becomes more widespread, offering quicker download and upload speeds to more areas in the UK, businesses will become keen to keep their data on-premise.

Artificial intelligence (AI) security

In October 2019 alone there were nine major instances of data breaches in the UK, meaning cybersecurity should remain a priority for businesses and public sector organisations. Personal data now must be handled with more care than ever thanks to GDPR, only adding to businesses’ fears about noncompliance. AI security will be increasingly used to bolster cybersecurity with organisations such as Darktrace offering enterprise security monitoring systems with AI embedded into them. These solutions learn how the organisation works and how employees operate, before quickly identifying and improving weak points in the network. IT professionals needn’t do anything, saving time for them and removing the risk of human error.

Autonomous things

Thanks to edge computing, autonomous devices like driverless cars can make split-second decisions, without the need for expansive on-board computing systems. The number of autonomous things will explode over the next decade, and become more widely used in logistical operations. For example, the Amazon Scout, the eCommerce giant’s drone which delivers products to homes, has already shown that they can be used as a distribution platform; self-driving forklifts will allow warehouse operations to be automated too. There’s huge potential for technologies to speed up and streamline supply chain operations, making them more efficient and productive.

Transparency and traceability

Two thirds of adults worldwide believe that corruption is widespread in business, according to management consulting company Gallup with concerns about data-sharing policies and privacy violations a key reason for mistrust. Environmental matters are also high on the list of worries for consumers, with market research company Nielsen finding that 66% of consumers would rather pay more for sustainable goods. Businesses must strive to be more ethical in all their operations and have evidence to prove it. Technology can be the gatekeeper to making this happen. 

It all begins with reshaping procurement processes. Using eProcurement software, businesses can ensure that they select suppliers that are sustainable, and that other suppliers further on in the chain are environmentally-friendly too. If organisations can trace anything purchased to the point where raw materials are harvested, they can identify if suppliers are failing to adhere to green credentials, and monitor instances of modern slavery. Best practice can be shared with the wider business to demonstrate the business’ commitment to ethical issues, helping consumers build trust in the brand. 

There’s a whole sea of technological advances coming to the forefront. They aren’t just buzzwords – all of them have the potential to make business activities more efficient, precise and secure. Organisations should monitor each of them and see how they can apply it to their own operations to spearhead business success.

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