Artificial intelligence, software robots, 5G, advanced augmented reality, containers, and microservices… All of these technologies, either by themselves or in combination with each other, could change the business environment as early as this year.
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In this article, we have compiled the ten most frequently mentioned technologies and methodologies that have already played an important role in business transformation this year.
1. Artificial Intelligence
AI is at the top of almost all predictions. Despite fears that machines will take jobs away from humans, so far it has enabled computers to do a wide range of jobs for people. AI solutions can both automatically create searchable metadata for audio recordings and provide cybersecurity by analyzing real-time data sets about the behavior of corporate network components and issuing recommendations to solve problems that arise.
2. Voice Chatbots
In addition, AI is the basis of text and voice chatbots using natural language processing and utterance tone analysis technologies, which, according to experts, will be implemented by 40% of companies in the service industry as early as this year. The high rate of development of speech synthesis and understanding technologies was recently demonstrated by the voice assistant Google Duplex, whose interlocutors did not realize that they were dealing with a machine.
3. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
Along the same line are Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which enables the automation of repetitive user actions. And while initially they were expected to do only “mechanical” work – say, move data from one table to another – recently they have become very “smart” and are ready to perform control functions and even distribute simple, repetitive tasks. Not surprisingly, Gartner estimates that the corresponding segment of the enterprise software market is growing very rapidly – last year it increased 63% to $846 million, and this year it is expected to reach $1.3 billion.
Some experts believe that the introduction of software robots is just the first stage of a more general trend of “strategic automation”: the application of AI to end-to-end automation of “manual” business processes in the enterprise.
4. The Agile Methodology
The Agile methodology, originally used by software developers, is being adopted by business structures as well. Interaction in geographically distributed teams is provided by means of conference communication, which is experiencing a new rise. Not long ago MIT conducted a survey in about three hundred companies to find out what technology tools help to create the best working conditions for employees, and the first place in the answers was surprisingly taken by video: investment in video technology contributes to innovation, coordinated interaction and productivity growth.
In the future, augmented and virtual reality technologies will make video-based interactions even more immersive, MIT predicts. Accordingly, it is very likely the resumption of growth in the popularity of unified communications, which previously suffered from reliability problems. The new solutions no longer have the same shortcomings as before, and there are new and convenient opportunities for interaction, including in content sharing mode.
Also among the influential technological trends, experts mention DataOps. The term itself has first proposed just five years ago in an IBM blog, and today it is understood as a process-oriented methodology for organizing the work of groups of analysts and data scientists, aimed at improving the quality of analytical information and accelerating its acquisition. In addition to organizing principles that draw ideas from Agile development, DataOps relies on data management with machine learning and artificial intelligence tools. Today, according to Gartner, DataOps has been implemented by less than 1% of addressable market participants, but analysts are convinced that these organizations are guaranteed a big competitive advantage.
6. 5G Networks
There is a lot of hype and expectations around 5G networks, although the standards are not yet finalized, and it could be years before nationwide deployment. Nevertheless, individual organizations are already planning strategies to implement 5G communication systems, which promise transmission speeds to and from the subscriber at up to 20 Gbit/s and up to 10 Gbit/s respectively, as well as the ability to maintain the connection when traveling at speeds of up to 500 km/h.
7. The Use of IoT
5G standardization promises an increase in the use of IoT and edge computing and a corresponding dramatic increase in the data streams available for analysis, which enterprises will have to prepare for by deploying robust inline processing architectures. According to CompTIA, about a third of companies believe IoT strategies can drive revenue growth by increasing production, monetizing data, and selling products as services.
8. Containers and Microservices
There is growing interest in containers and microservices as technologies that enable the rapid development of highly scalable software systems, especially cloud-based and designed for IoT solutions. In particular, Kubernetes, an open-source system that automates container deployment and management, is being widely adopted.
9. The Use of “Digital Twins”
This year indicates that the use of “digital twins”-products, processes, and systems that can monitor the state of “original” physical objects and predict potential problems before they occur-is beginning to be widespread. The consensus is that digital twins of organizations will begin to emerge in the coming years to monitor companies as a whole, rather than their individual systems.
Finally, as for blockchain, there is also a lot of buzz around it. There are fewer and fewer opportunities to make money from initial coin offerings (ICOs), but the use of distributed registries in the supply chain, the financial industry, and beyond, including open-source platforms such as Hyperledger Fabric, is growing.