Six tech trends you need to know about in 2018

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Organisations are constantly seeking to improve the speed and quality of service they deliver to their customers.

It’s easy to understand why: consumers expect instant results, and this year organisations across both the public and private sectors will be pulling out the stops and harnessing technology in order to improve their customer-centricity.

2018 promises to be an interesting year for technology. Already 2018 has seen the fanfare of CES in Las Vegas and news of a vulnerability affecting billions of computers and mobile devices around the world. But what technology can companies expect to see in the limelight over the coming months? Yemi Olagbaiye, Head of Client Services, Softwire, provides a run-down of six tech trends everyone will know about this year.

Artificial intelligence – A Force for Good

Artificial intelligence (AI) is all around – from the spam filters in email accounts to online image-recognition services and the like. Having proved so successful in these primarily commercial settings, 2018 will be the year when AI will be increasingly used for the good of people, society and the environment.

AI could, for example, could soon be used to analyse enormous volumes of medical data and spot early signs of treatable diseases. Computer algorithms can do this at speeds no human can compete with, meaning more people can be screened more quickly. At the same time, using AI for screening would free up the highly trained healthcare professionals to spend more time treating those who need it most.

The Rise of the Chatbot

Many consumers have used chatbots and been left frustrated after they have failed to deal with their queries. But thanks to developments in AI, there are genuine and rapid improvements taking place, both to the range and quality of service chatbots can deliver, and to the speed at which they can help resolve customer issues.

More and more organisations are starting to include chatbots as part of their customer service provision, with more and more success stories. Take for example a recent case that saw a consumer solve a problem with their bankcard whilst abroad in just 30 minutes, using only an AI supported chatbot.

IoT Breaches

With the Internet of Things (IoT) still a relatively new phenomenon, the understanding about how to secure these growing networks against different forms of attack isn’t generally as mature as it needs to be. And with businesses racing to get their IoT products and services to market as quickly as possible, lots of kit is being rolled out without fully considering security. This is the reason why companies find themselves in situations where compromised IoT devices have been used for giant distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks – and there are warnings of more to come.

Cybersecurity takes Centre Stage

Barely a week seems to go by without news of a major security breach, or some vulnerability that organisations are scrambling to patch. But every security incident serves to strengthen the fact that systems need to be built with security as a key consideration.

Increasing awareness of the potential implications of a breach – means cybersecurity will be given much more prominence throughout the lifecycle of products and services. There will be a growing demand for project, programme and portfolio managers who specialise in running security-conscious projects. This will ensure the right approaches permeate through every part of the development process and cover every element of the system, from the connectivity infrastructure right up to the user interface design.

Refocus with Replatforming

Technology – and customer expectations – are moving at such a rate, that many legacy IT systems no longer enable organisations to respond quickly enough. Many have tried bolting on new features and tweaking things here and there, but technical debt is building up.

At the same time, virtually every industry is being disrupted by new businesses entering the marketplace. Unhindered by decades of legacy technology, these disruptors have shown how easily they can whisk customers away from the established players.

This is why lots of organisations are biting the bullet and going ahead with major replatforming during 2018. This will enable them to achieve the levels of agility they require to match customers fast-changing demands.

Head in the Clouds

With so many services driven by data, and so many new streams of information flowing into businesses, the question of how to store it is coming more into focus. Expanding capacity on-premises at the rate data volumes are growing isn’t sustainable.

The only feasible solution is to put things in the cloud. However, in certain sectors in particular, there’s a degree of resistance, with concerns over security and data sovereignty. While not every piece of data can be stored in the cloud (regulatory requirements may preclude it, in some cases), when used correctly, cloud storage can in fact be more secure than keeping data on-premises. And there are ways around the data-location challenges, too.

2018 will see increasing numbers of organisations coming round to the view that to make the most of the data available to them, the cloud will need to become their default choice for storage.Organisations are constantly seeking to improve the speed and quality of service they deliver to their customers.