IT and businesses are inter-twined. Neither can function without the other. And after this turbulent wave of COVID-19, the relationship and inter-dependency between them has only grown deeper and stronger. Organizations have adopted digital transformation into their core strategy to leapfrog their competitors. The recent change in global landscape of business operations as well as human interactions has paved the way for technological innovations that help in maintaining seamless business continuity. The change has brought a need in organizations for a remote workforce, touch-less interactions, omni-channel customer engagement, end-point security, future-ready talent pool, and so on. So, let’s take a closer look at the top 4 trends of 2020, and its impact on IT and businesses world-wide.
- Extended Reality
Extended Reality (XR) technologies are actively adopted in entertainment to create more immersive digital experiences. XR most commonly includes virtual, augmented, and mixed reality.
Virtual reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment using headsets that blend the real world with a virtual one. Unlike VR, Augmented Reality (AR) overlays digital objects onto the real world via smartphone screens or displays, and creates a semi-artificial environment. Mixed reality (MR) is an extension of AR, where users can interact with digital objects placed in the real world (playing ping pong on a virtual holographic table).
This is the closest one could get to an immersive real-life-like experience sitting at home. Industries such as retail, fashion, and consumer durables could benefit from such technology. The pandemic has already led to a sharp dip in physical visits and purchases at brick-and-mortar stores, making brands invest in other ways to engage with the customer. Imagine sitting at home and enjoying dress trials, checking paint options for your walls, checking if the book shelf fits perfectly on the side-wall, and so on. It will also be beneficial for human resourcing and quality to conduct virtual trainings and courses without investing in training space or equipment.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI technologies are already used by 77% of consumers. A number of technological innovations such as data processing, and face & speech recognition have become possible due to AI. It is a vast area that includes AI platforms, chat-bots, machine learning (algorithm category consisting of various libraries and frameworks), deep learning (using artificial neural networks), and analytics.
Adoption of AI chat-bots is growing in industries such as online retail, healthcare, telecommunications, banking, finance, and insurance. One of the chat-bots’ specific purposes for business is automation and customer convenience. AI has led to rise in the use of machine learning in computing. AI has contributed significantly in creating a framework for cloud computing. Many IT industry giants are already betting huge on AIaaS (Artificial Intelligence as a Service) with new line of services such as digital assistance, cognitive computing, machine learning, business intelligence, and so on.
These services can have significant impact on day-to-day lives of the consumers. With the help of vital statistics from health-care organizations, AI can help identify patterns and predict the desired outcome of a given situation in a focused environment. AI can also help in tracking of smart devices, thereby, creating a footprint of individuals. It can help marketers and advertisers with predictive data on what one is likely to do in a given event. This will help marketers to show relevant ads to consumers at the right time that could help them fetch better returns for their marketing dollars.
Digital transformation means compartmentalization and conversion of business processes into data. This data is prone to vulnerabilities such as data theft and cyber-attacks. These attacks can cause irreparable damage to business. It might also put the enterprise’s reputation at risk.
With the evolvement of new technologies and data-capturing devices, the amount of possible cyber threats has proliferated. These attacks are ceaseless and are growing in their frequency and sophistication each day. Protection of computers, networks and clouds is commonly provided by the means of next-generation firewalls, DNS filtering, malware protection, antivirus software, data security, and email security solutions. Besides running day-to-day business operations and ensuring seamless business continuity, organizations with large amounts of data must also ensure data security, safeguard privacy, minimize risks, and be vigilant against cyber-attacks and incidents. IT companies are constantly coming up with proactive measures to curb future cyber threats with data security and access management solutions.
- Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoT) devices enable internet connection, beyond computers and smartphones, to other electronic devices such as printer, wearables, etc. with the possibility of remote-data-access. They are integrated with various sensors, inbuilt technologies, and functional software that are inter-connected. IoT devices are mostly a part of smart homes, wearable technologies, safety monitoring and waste management in smart cities. This technology will enable us to predict and treat health issues in people even before any symptoms appear. This has already led to innovations in the pharma industry known as precision medicine where medicines and treatments are created basis individuals, their lifestyles, their genes, etc. as against one-size-fits-all approach.
IoT also fuels edge computing, bringing data storage and computation closer to the businesses, enabling bandwidth savings and shorter response time. IoT will transform the user experience profoundly. As most of the time is spent at home, thanks to, remote working and the need for a convenient lifestyle, IoT will help in creating smart homes that could contribute to more data on personal preferences, vitals, diet, entertainment, and more.
Needless to say, digital technology trends can reduce human interactions, increase productivity, initiate automation, and simplify lives. Organizations need to understand the importance of this technology paradigm shift, and leverage it to create digital ecosystems and become future-ready enterprises.