2017 was an eventful year for digitisation. This buzzword moved into the mainstream and more businesses investigated and implemented digital transformation projects.
Digital transformation looks likely to dominate global business strategy in the years ahead. By 2020, 60% of enterprises are predicted to have fully articulated an organisation-wide digital transformation strategy, research reveals. In 2018, we expect the following digital transformation developments to influence the enterprise and your IT infrastructure:
The IoT morphs into the BIoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to be a major focus for CIOs in the year ahead. Research house Forrester predicts 2018 will be the year the IoT moves from experimentation to business scale and becomes more specialised to address the needs of specific industries.
However, Forrester also predicts that the security issues associated with the IoT will lead to more IoT-related attacks, such as the Mirai DDoS botnet that disrupted high-profile sites such as Twitter and Netflix in 2016.
And, according to Experian's 2018 Data Breach Industry Forecast, "Vulnerabilities in Internet of Things (IoT) devices will create mass confusion, leading to new security regulations. In 2018, we'll see cyber criminals take this to the next level by hacking the IoT to create real-world mayhem. The interconnectedness of IoT devices make them prime targets for advanced hacks and ransomware. Imagine what people would pay if their smart thermostat or their connected vehicle were taken over?"
For the IoT to see widespread adoption, these security concerns must be addressed and the traditional IT infrastructure overhauled. This is where the technology behind cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, could provide a solution in 2018.
Because blockchain creates a digital record across hundreds or thousands of computers (as opposed to a traditional, centralised database) to store and manage information, it could bolster the security of IoT devices by reducing the risk of hacking.
The Blockchain Internet of Things (BIoT) looks set to take hold in 2018. Analyst house IDC predicts that one-in-five of all IoT devices will have basic levels of blockchain services enabled by 2019.
Businesses start to wrestle with AI
As the IoT takes hold in 2018, Gartner predicts the emergence of an “intelligent digital mesh” where people, devices, content and services become entwined.
The sheer amount of information created by the IoT (and this so-called intelligent digital mesh) means efficiencies must be realised across all industries, applications and your IT infrastructure. Machine learning and artificial intelligence could both help business make sense of and capitalise on this deluge of Big Data the IoT releases.
However, managing and integrating AI (as well as other phenomena such as cloud computing and Big Data) into your enterprise will not be easy. A new Forrester Research report, Predictions 2018: The Honeymoon For AI Is Over, predicts that in the year ahead enterprises will realise AI and other cutting edge technologies require hard work to plan, deploy, and govern them correctly.
Edge computing enters the mainstream
Edge computing optimises cloud computing systems by performing data processing at the edge of your network and near the source of the data. This reduces the communications bandwidth needed between your sensors and data centres, which is a necessity for those devices that need real-time responses and data processing.
While edge computing will gain dominance to process real-time data over the next year, the most sensitive corporate data will still be managed in the cloud. However, as the IoT and 5G rise in popularity, so will edge computing. According to research from Gartner, “around 10% of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside a traditional centralised data center or cloud. By 2022, Gartner predicts this figure will reach 50%.”
5G: One to watch in 2018
Just as the amount of data produced by the IoT will force data to the edge, consumers will also demand increasingly faster networks, which can be realised with the emergence of the 5G network.
Things will hot up for 5G in 2018, with US telecoms provider AT&T announcing plans to roll out its mobile 5G network later this year. Verizon also plans to offer wireless home broadband in up to five cities in late 2018 using 5G technology.
Although we are unlikely to see a worldwide 5G network or 5G phones roll out in 2018, businesses should prepare for the impact that widespread connectivity will have on the enterprise, your IT infrastructure and the way consumers will want to use the internet.
Virtual Reality 2.0 starts to snowball adoption rates
Virtual reality (VR) has struggled to catch on since the first consumer headsets hit the market more than two years ago.
However, the Oculus Go headset and other affordable, standalone VR devices are due to be released in 2018. The reduced price tag and lack of heavy-duty hardware associated with these devices mean this year could be the year VR takes its first steps toward the $38 billion industry some analysts predict it will be worth in 2026.
The number of new and maturing technologies will continue to grow in 2018. So, it’s important for companies to keep up with this rapid pace through widespread digitisation across the enterprise.
If you’re not in the cloud, you’ll be isolated from such innovation. Simply put, companies that fail to prepare for such changes won’t be competitive in their markets in 2018 and the years ahead.