Digital transformation initiatives have been shaping the business landscape for the past two decades. The Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and cloud computing all contribute to the modernization of business processes and the emergence of “people-centric smart spaces.”
As technology progresses, your business must prepare for the changing tech environment by learning and re-learning about trends and how you can drive significant disruption and opportunity in the coming years.
As the year draws to a close, let’s take a look back at the significant IT trends in 2019:
Digital experience (DX) meets user experience (UX)
Improving overall user experience has become the foundation for solid digital transformation. Slowly but surely, companies are adopting technologies not just to cut costs but to focus on user experience. For example, people used to dial numbers on rotary phones, then press numbers on keypads, then do the same thing, but on touchscreens. Now, to call someone, you can just deliver a voice command like "Call Mom," and you smartphone dials up her number, hands-free.
Whether it’s migrating to the cloud or providing specialized mobile apps to employees, the trend is at a constant rise and has proven to help workers do their jobs — thus providing employee satisfaction and increased productivity.
Remarkable digital transformation investments
In 2019, businesses did not hold back with their technology investments. According to findings, industries such as discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, and retail have adopted smart technologies with the goal of improving workplace efficiencies to gain a competitive advantage.
The role of CIO evolved
The chief information officer (CIO) has evolved from a role that was focused squarely on technology into a critical business capacity. Because technological innovation is vital to maintaining a competitive edge, the CIO has become one key leader in the enterprise. Additionally, the CIO is now seen as someone who champions new technologies such as robotic process automation and mobility solutions so organizations can achieve optimal business outcomes.
The 5G buzz
Technically, 5G is available now but only in select cities. This next generation of mobile internet connectivity is predicted to offer connections that are multitudes faster than average, with download speeds of around 1 GBps. The network will help power a huge rise in IoT technology, as it will provide the infrastructure needed to carry huge amounts of data.
For instance, the healthcare industry will see an increase in telehealth, a healthcare provision offered remotely, due to 5G. Telehealth can serve as the conduit for quicker prioritization of care delivery, triaging each case, and improving communication by capturing, storing, and using patient data for better medical decision-making.
Hybrid cloud tops digital transformation trends
Many companies realized in 2019 that going all in on public or private clouds is not the best solution, which is why a combination of both has become more popular among organizations. Businesses have started adopting the hybrid cloud to improve security and to streamline operations. From being just a buzzword, the hybrid cloud is now a reality.
The rise of the bots
AI is making its way across enterprises. Chatbots are being used in healthcare, finance, real estate, eCommerce, and other industries. It’s becoming so common that some customers are used to interacting with chatbots. In the future, we will see consumers interact more with chatbots than human agents.
The growth of augmented reality
Augmented reality (AR) was initially marketed as a consumer technology but has recently seen a rise in adoption by enterprises in 2019. It has become especially useful in industrial sectors where workers are able to access information and images. Organizations are deploying more AR apps to their teams to complete many tasks. For example, AR’s capability to digitize product prototyping in 3D is being used to easily spot manufacturing errors.
What’s next in 2020 and beyond?
AI will continue to grow
AI will achieve more tasks faster and perform orders such as recognition of images, speech, patterns, and decision-making. Findings show that five out of six Americans use AI services in one way or another. This includes navigation apps, streaming services, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps, etc.
For organizations, AI will continue to be used to schedule trains, assess business risk, predict maintenance, boost energy efficiency, and enhance other money-saving tasks.
Machine learning will shape processes and operations
Machine learning is a subset of AI that discovers patterns and insights from data. Businesses will use machine learning for data analytics, data mining, and pattern recognition. By 2022, the machine learning market is expected to grow and will continue to be deployed in all kinds of industries, creating a huge demand for skilled professionals.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will boast developments
Similar to AI and machine learning, RPA is another technology that automates jobs and processes such as interpreting applications, transacting, dealing with data, and replying to emails. It automates repetitive and menial tasks including the work of financial managers, doctors, and C-suite executives.
Edge computing will make work easier
While cloud computing has indeed become mainstream, it still has some setbacks in terms of handling increasingly large amounts of data. Edge computing helps solve some of those problems by bypassing latency issues. That is, instead of having to get data to and from a far-off data center, businesses can have their data processed in micro data centers that are closer to or “on the edge” of where computing needs to happen.
For this reason, edge computing can be used to process time-sensitive data in remote locations with limited to no connectivity to a centralized location. IoT will enable the use of edge computing as well.
Major improvements are coming to blockchain
For the past few years, businesses have been implementing their own blockchain strategies. In 2020, developers will look into enhancing the benefits of a decentralized ledger technology while taking into consideration platform, interfaces, infrastructure, network, and security and analytics.
In the healthcare sector, blockchain’s ability to keep an incorruptible, decentralized, and transparent log of all patient data is becoming paramount to protecting the sensitivity of medical data.
Older foundational technologies will continue to be at the center of most digital transformation initiatives, especially in the enterprise. These up-and-coming trends will dominate discussions and inform the trajectory of technology programs in 2020. If you wish to stay ahead of the curve, Charles IT can help you do just that. Call us today to learn more.