5 key technology trends that matter to your business

5 key technology trends that matter to your business

Neill Hughes, Director of Direct Channel

Neill Hughes, Director of Direct Channel

The worlds of business and technology are changing at a rapid rate, with new solutions and ways of working disrupting established ways of doing things. But there are a few new developments that are set to have particularly big impact on the way organisations operate in the coming years.

To make the most of them, you need a clear strategy for implementing the latest developments into your business, as well as strong infrastructure to able to cope with the demands they will place on your network.

We’ve been thinking about five of the biggest trends that you'll need to start preparing for in the near future.

1. Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is currently one of the most-hyped technologies affecting the enterprise sector, and it's something almost every major business will have to engage with in the coming years. What this essentially refers to is the huge network of connected devices and sensors that can provide businesses with data on a vast range of parameters, from smart energy meters to connected cars.

According to Gartner, there will be 6.4 billion connected 'things' in use by the end of this year, a 15 per cent rise from 2015. But by 2020, this will rise to nearly 21 billion. This will put a considerable amount of pressure on existing infrastructure, so businesses will need to make sure their networks are able to cope with the massive increase in traffic.

2. Artificial intelligence

Of course, having all of this data will not be much use unless businesses are able to effectively analyse it to spot patterns and derive insight. But with the huge increase in volume of information, it will become tough for human operators to keep up. This is where innovations such as machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) come in, as these are able to study data and make decisions without human intervention.

Forrester Research recently listed AI as one of the top five innovations that will transform the tech world by 2021. It forecast the biggest impact will be in sectors such as transportation, logistics, customer service, and consumer services, as consumers increasingly interact with advanced 'chatbots' to answer queries, rather than human agents.

3. 5G/Advanced wireless

People now expect connectivity wherever they are, and the high demand for 4G mobile services across the UK is testament to this. But the technology won't stop there. The next phase of mobile connectivity - 5G - is set to arrive at some point around 2020, bringing speeds that could potentially reach up to 1Gbps everywhere we go.

This won't just let you watch high-definition movies on the go, or connect to key business applications with the same high level of service you'd get in the office. Forrester claims that the introduction of this technology will help create the high-bandwidth environment necessary for developments like wireless IoT in the coming years, so could fundamentally change how business connectivity is viewed.

4. Open data

Another trend related to the explosion of data that is expected to be seen in the next few years is how that information is shared and put to use. The concept of 'open data', whereby non-personal or sensitive data gathered by a business is made freely available for use by other organisations, has been gaining traction in recent years, allowing organisations to take advantage of a wealth of information.

This data ranges from census returns to traffic information that organisations can use to create their own applications and services, and as connectivity continues to improve, it can be expected this will grow even more in the coming years.

5. Security/data protection

With more data being created and shared, attention will naturally turn to how this information is secured. With the ever-present threat of cyber crime and hacking attacks, citizens will want to feel their personal information is secure when they share it with businesses. You can read our whitepaper for more information on this.

Therefore, governments around the world are developing tougher data protection rules in order to build confidence and ensure enterprises are taking their responsibilities seriously. Implementing these may be a headache for many organisations, but it's essential if they are to keep consumer trust and avoid the attention of regulators.

All these technologies will have a major impact on how you approach your connectivity and networking solutions. The influx of data that they will require will mean systems will be under pressure to deliver fast, reliable performance. These trends will underpin many key business activities in the coming years, so any bottlenecks or other hindrances will have a significant knock-on effect on the overall performance of your organisation.