Every year sees the introduction and predictions of new and emerging technology trends for the coming year. This year is no different. From the creation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) foundations which will undoubtedly impact global business, to intelligent applications, analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and, of course, Blockchain, 2018 is poised for the value of these technologies and developments to be fully realised.
For South Africa, adoption and immersion of these self-same technologies looks positive, however, there is a risk that the uptake may fall a little behind the rest of the globe.
South African tech trends
AI is sweeping the globe and South Africa is caught up in its thrall. Many organisations are taking notice of AI and are leveraging it to improve customer service, automate interactions, streamline business processes and more. Combined with other key technology trends such as analytics and application development, AI will certainly impact the success of sales and marketing initiatives, as well as user interface development.
IoT adoption will also be fueled by AI, becoming more immersive as people seek to bring collaborative intelligence into the workplace. There will be an increased interest in the roll out of connected devices that leverage AI (intelligent things) to gain better insights and improved interactions between people and their technological environment.
Adoption of Digital Twin technology in South Africa is likely to be slow, however, we will see it gaining momentum over the next few years, especially in conjunction with IoT. A digital twin is the virtual embodiment of a real-world system which, linked to that system, promotes improved understanding of its relevance and connection to the overall picture, improving response times and decision making.
A ‘tech trend’ that is of interest to the South African market, highlighted against the backdrop of the pending Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act, is Adaptive Security. Security threats and cyber-attacks have gained momentum over the past year, and the looming of PoPI makes security a concern for the entire business, and not just the IT security and risk departments.
There will certainly be a greater interest in new adaptive security technologies and methods. Having the right security technology mix, alongside and integrated with DevOps and infrastructure architecture, will enable businesses to respond quicker, be more proactive and fend against threats. This becomes especially critical as more and more South African organisations move larger parts of their operations to the cloud.
The Blockchain dominated many conversations throughout last year, as organisations explored the ways in which it can integrate with existing technology, discussed compliancy concerns, and investigated business use cases. Together with AI, this will be the year in which adoption will start having a large impact.
Exploratory projects around the Blockchain will develop into Proof of Concepts, ultimately becoming a real, tangible and integrated part of our technology landscape. The impact is set to be quick and serious, with the Blockchain evolving from buzzword to familiar component of business technology strategies and deployments.
Taking technology forward
Digital disruption is not new, however, organisations will be looking for safer, more value-inducing ways to digitally transcend competition. We will see increased and improved collaboration and the rollout of technology across the entire value chain of business, with an emphasis on the integration of IT and IoT.
These trends will surpass their jargon status as we familiarise ourselves with their relevancy, impact and many uses. Organisations who have already worked them into strategies and are actively exploring or even deploying them will have a head start. However, the time for businesses who have yet to investigate how these technologies can improve and streamline operations, and maximise the profitability of their business, is now.
Quick adoption of technology and the right use case goes hand-in-hand, and South Africa may undergo a learning curve before these technologies are wholly adopted. It will be essential for businesses to assess which use cases will ensure long-term, successful technology adoption, and picking the right technology partner will form a critical part of this exercise.
By Vishal Barapatre, Chief Technology Officer at In2IT Technologies