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Technology predictions for 2018

Technology predictions for 2018

Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) are currently three of the biggest business trends.

Today, if someone is not using these in their operations, they are likely losing the competitive edge.

Just to give you a sense of 2018, here are a few technology predictions:

Managing data sprawl while balancing cloud costs will be an issue

Scalability will be the key word for the year as enterprises continue to seek insight from their growing pools of data but also attempt to limit the costs of cloud growth.

Cloud has always been linked with scalability.

Earlier, enterprises used to rent a part of a server (shared hosting) and host their website.

If their site became popular and got more traffic, they would move to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or a hosting service like dedicated server hosting.

But as the Internet gained popularity, businesses became increasingly dependent on their websites.

This required more resources, which led to companies buying up a VPS or dedicated server, just in case the traffic goes up.

Also, servers were no longer just hosting websites but spread across business functions. As the volume of data grew, costs grew.

With the cloud, the business model has shifted from buying fixed cost server resources to lower-cost cloud services that provide flexibility to access their data resources as and when they require.

There are many solutions to control and monitor cloud costs.

AI can also be used to track and predict usage and issues that increase scalable costs.

Such advances mean that cloud can certainly become scalable in the future.

AI will wave its magic wand over business processes

While AI has already led to greater efficiencies in sectors such as customer service, thanks to the creation of chat bots, these types of efficiencies will soon be applied to business services that stretch across the entire breadth of the business.

According to data scientist Andrew Ng, "AI needs to be a company-wide strategic decision. Companies that don't strategically invest in AI will slowly lose market share to companies whose core businesses are built around AI".

There are a lot of benefits to AI as it enables prediction, planning and automation of a variety of tasks.

The four latest trends affecting enterprises are: large-scale machine learning, deep learning, human-enhanced AI and autonomous systems.

These trends may lead to less expensive and more powerful hardware and end-to-end data platforms that maximise the value of data in motion and securely store, manage and perform complex processing of data at rest.

IoT will move beyond industrial into mainstream use

The infrastructure for industrial IoT already exists - think sensors on rigs for oil and gas or in a plant for manufacturing.

But this will transform into a bigger IoT ecosystem over the next year, which touches many parts of our day-to-day lives.

Beyond fitness trackers and health monitors, we will see a rapid proliferation of connected devices and related data generation.

Organisations will need to plan for these waves of data, building out their data architecture and even creating new lines of business in advance.

While we are still in the early stages of consumer-focused applications, their adoption rate will only continue to grow.

Chief technology officers are readying their organisations to manage multiple and hybrid cloud footprints, while also ensuring that they are fully equipped to manage their needs around data governance and regulation.

The writer is chief technology officer at Hortonworks, 
a data company.

Technology