ICT Trends: What will 2018 hold for global brands and government agencies?

 The relentless pace of technology change is impacting consumer expectations at a faster rate than ever, making any prediction challenging. However, it’s possible to outline several broad trends that we can be fairly confident will emerge or accelerate in the coming year. Software defined everything (SDE), the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI) are in the midst of shifting from hype to mainstream understanding and adoption. I believe 2018 will be a breakthrough year for each.

Additionally, data security and privacy will continue to be center-stage, a continuation of a trend we’ve seen quite clearly in the past year. From the growing attention paid to it during board discussions to how our personal data is used (and misused) through to the seismic ramifications of data breaches at well-known organizations around the world, the importance of data to companies, and how they treat it, cannot be overstated.

Let’s take a deeper look at these technology trends:

AI and IoT converge

IoT will become part of the fabric of an organization in 2018. The challenge for CIOs and our teams will be how we integrate device management into overall IT infrastructure in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the organization. Imagine the consequences if IT infrastructure can’t handle millions of connected devices – increased security risks, slowed down product capabilities, crippled systems – the list goes on. This is where the adoption of application robots, natural language processing (NLP) and AI automation of processes will come into their own, offering intelligent management of IoT deployments cheaply and efficiently.

Applications managed in real time

With thousands of software defined networking (SDN) deployments now live around the globe, enabling intelligent networking, companies are beginning to explore what they can really do with the security, agility and flexibility of virtualized network services. In 2018, CIOs should start focusing on workload aware networking. This will allow for the consumption of cloud, management of performance, capabilities and security of applications in real time – ever more critical in an increasingly complex content world.

Cybersecurity, fully embedded

Over the next year, we’ll see a sea change when it comes to security, with threat detection capabilities embedded into platforms, supporting everything a business does. We’re talking end-to-end managed security infrastructure for the network, the developer and applications. We’ll also see security taken a step further. Proactive, predictive and/or cognitive analytics will play a game changing role in helping the enterprise harness intelligence from data that moves on a network. CIOs will need to measure security effectiveness in order to integrate potential risks into any enterprise risk assessment.

Digital collaboration becomes table stakes

It’s no surprise organizations have been moving away from aging technologies, but the coming year will see digital tools begin to be truly synonymous with workplace collaboration. In an age where employees already expect seamless access to calendar information, shared documents, and call scheduling across platforms, the focus will be on providing a consistent multi-channel user experience, leading to improved productivity. With the proliferation of different collaboration tools available across everything from instant messaging to real-time video conferencing, there is a real risk of fragmentation across organizations. Businesses, particularly those with global operations, will seek to consolidate and standardize the applications and technologies used.

2018 will not be a year of fundamental technological revolution. Rather, we will see technologies and concepts that have existed for some time reach maturity and finally fulfil their promise. For me, seeing AI and cybersecurity become commonplace drivers of value and realizing greater benefits from technologies such as SDE are much more exciting prospects than any bleeding-edge technology that might emerge in the coming year.