Telstra’s Chief Technology Office is looking ahead to 2018, nailing down the top five technology trends that will impact global businesses during the year. From the changing realm of cyber security, to the possibilities of real time data and team collaboration tools, businesses of all sizes will feel the effects of these technologies.
- Cyber security
Demand for appliance-based security services should continue to decline as software-based, hosted cyber security solutions emerge. With users connecting to internet-based applications via a variety of mobiles, tablets and laptops, we can no longer simply ring-fence corporate systems from potential attack. The need for behavioral analytics-based systems is pulling security into the realm of Big Data-based solutions. Interconnected supply chains and industry ecosystems will drive Blockchain maturity for trust and verification. Security management will follow a deep learning approach throughout the application stack to improve both quality and speed of detection and response.
- Real time analytics
The complex Enterprise is looking to visualise and make physical world decisions based on information across its entire digital footprint. Multi-channel customer interactions will drive the need to access historical data for real time decision making, while adoption of IoT will increase real-time data flows. A visual representation of this ecosystem (in a dashboard or in a VR representation) throughout the enterprise will enable real time decisions, beyond the network and application performance and across the enterprise supply chain (i.e a warehouse ERP system upgrade window is moved or changed due to weather or emergency services information in a given geography not directly connected to the enterprise). Integrated views will come due to consolidation of data environments which will include third party information integration.
- Containers and microservices
Modern webscale businesses are moving to microservices and containers for compelling reasons. Microservices are small, useful functions with a cloud API that can be combined into bigger services that might run something like Uber or Amazon. Software using this approach scales better, is easier to adapt to new business needs and allows developers to pick the best frameworks or tools for writing each microservice. Interest in microservices has coincided with the arrival of containers as an alternative to virtual machines for running multiple instances of software on a single physical server. While virtual machines each run a full image of an operating system, containers are more efficient and share the operating system so many more containers run on the same server. This suits microservices well, as each service can run in its own container and there will be many more of them than traditional applications. Enterprises are seeing the benefits of microservices and containers, and are working through the challenges of migrating to this model and adapting affected licence arrangements.
- Digital team collaboration
Email originates from the 1970s, and while it is still very popular today, it has limitations. It doesn’t cope well when communicating with dynamically changing teams, attachments are hard to find later, and if someone leaves a company the knowledge stored in their inbox vanishes. Alternatives to email have been created by eager startups and are now becoming entrenched in enterprises, and one such alternative – Slack – is valued at over $5b. Some of the major brands are including similar experiences into their own collaboration suites, e.g. Cisco has introduced a similar product called Spark, and Microsoft has their own offering called Teams. All of these enable teams within an enterprise to send messages to other team members in ways that overcome issues with email, and are particularly suited to desk-based workers like software developers.
- Digital twin
Most enterprises have embarked on a digitisation journey to remove manual processes, connect sensors to key pieces of equipment, collect real-time data about their systems, and automate as much as possible. Full automation is still a little way off, as many existing processes cannot be replaced with simple computer-based rules, and machine learning approaches to addressing automation are still at an early stage. The challenge is then to provide people with the optimal interface for dealing with digitised parts of the company, and the ‘digital twin’ has emerged as a useful pattern for enterprises. In this approach, the real-time data is displayed as a virtual instance of a real machine or process – its ‘digital twin’ – and the human operator monitors or manipulates this instance in a familiar way. This lowers the training effort, allows the operator to be located remotely, and provides a rapid path to value.
Uber is a trademark of Uber Technologies, Inc.
Cisco is a trademark of Cisco Technology. Inc.
Slack is a trademark of Slack Technologies, Inc.