The relationship between people and machines is about to change forever. 2018 promises to be an exceptional year in terms of accelerated growth and progression of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing, to name a few. We’ve worked with machines for centuries, but going forward, I am expecting these partnerships to become more interwoven and immersive than ever before.
As the end of the year approaches, it is always a good time to reflect on the past and plan for what the future may bring. So, I’ve sat down, analyzed the data, and documented my thoughts on what I think will impact and accelerate digital transformation next year and beyond.
Mega-cloud & cross-cloud services coming soon
Most organizations have already integrated cloud-computing into their businesses as part of a digital transformation strategy, but with the growing trend of IoT and the demands of machine-learning growing daily, I think technology will need to shift up a gear quickly.
Huge developments in software, analytics, and processing power in the realms of Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality, means that organizations will need bigger reserves to securely store and manage their IT infrastructure. But current cloud applications are too small and expensive to support such a huge amount of data. So, meet the mega-cloud!
The mega cloud will offer an integrated view of an organization’s entire IT environment and will be built on a collection of clouds (public, private and hybrid) rather than one singular solution. This intelligent, holistic system will be able to embody the progress that a business is achieving and make way for new, exciting technologies.
I for one, am very passionate about cloud computing and I see immense potential in organizations embracing its capabilities to drive innovation. I also strongly believe that the mega-cloud will be the next big thing and it has the capability of disrupting the IT world.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will do the ‘thinking tasks’ at speed
In case you haven’t realized, AI is not going away – it’s getting bigger and better! In fact, I believe that in 2018, we will see the birth of the AI employee. As many industry commentators have already been predicting for years, AI will not only start to replace jobs, but it will also create new ones.
As organizations begin to shift their perspectives on machine-learning and strategize for the future, they will also start to harness the power of AI to initiate data-driven “thinking tasks” for them. This could mean that a CIO can ask their datacenter whether it’s a good idea to move the company’s SAP environment elsewhere, and the AI would respond by autonomously running billions of queries in just a matter of seconds until it finds the right answer.
The prospect of harnessing AI in business decision-making responsibilities genuinely excites me, as this means we can dramatically cut the time we spend scoping, debating, scenario planning, and testing every new innovation from six months to 30 seconds! But this will also mean that AI has the power to decide what is a good and bad outcome…
So, going back to how AI will create new jobs in 2018, I expect that we will start to see a rapid new demand for IT professionals who are specialized in training and fine-tuning AI. These skilled practitioners will help set parameters, determine how AI gets embedded into organizations, and define the rules of engagement, thus epitomizing the value of human-machine partnerships. Exciting stuff, right!?
A deeper relationship with customers
Speaking of relationships, the next few years will be a critical time for many businesses. Last year, 45% of businesses admitted they could be obsolete within 3-5 years and 48% said they don’t know what their industry will look like in just three years’ time. In such an intensely competitive environment, it’s never been more important to put the customer experience first.
The future of customer service will pivot on perfecting the blend between man and machine. So, rather than offloading customer interactions to first generation chatbots and predetermined messages, humans and automated intelligent virtual agents will work together, as one team.
In my role as Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of the META region, I plan to focus my energies on exploring new ways to leverage machine learning to better identify and support customers’ needs, so that Dell EMC can continue to lead and disrupt our industry with highly personalized services.
Forecasting a security storm
We’ve seen a persistent stream of damaging malware attacks batter businesses around the world (most recently the Equifax hack), and with the rise of IoT devices and robotics, cybercriminals will soon have many more entry points. The more we rely upon technology in the next era of human-machine partnerships, the more we’ll have to lose in the event of a breach.
But hopefully, the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that are coming into effect in May 2018, will inspire businesses to re-evaluate their security measures and step-up their protective measures rather than creating a perfect storm for cybercriminals. After all, with the rise of the Internet of Things, it is not improbable for hackers to penetrate the corporate network of a manufacturing firm per se, and instruct a robotic arm to draw a couple of millimeters off. This minuscule defect would be small enough to be left unnoticed, but significant enough to compromise the entire chassis of a car, resulting in casualties, a costly vehicle recalls, and irreparable reputational damage.
While this is both an exciting and challenging prospect, the opportunities that lie in the potential of AI are unlimited and the future of technology is without a doubt exciting! Are you ready to disrupt your industry and enter a world of amazing new possibilities in 2018? Reach out to one of our consultants if you would like to discuss your digital transformation strategy or get advice on the latest IT technologies.