The information technology landscape is continually shifting and evolving. Innovation pushes our focus in new directions on a near-constant basis, but specific trends tend to get an outsized amount of attention.
In 2019, interest in machine learning exploded, as everything from chatbots to shopping algorithms looked for an increase in intelligence. Blockchain, once the exclusive domain of cryptocurrency, began finding other applications. This article focuses on the most pressing trends in IT today.
We’ve been automating physical labor since the dawn of the industrial revolution, and while robotics is greatly enhancing our capabilities in that area, machine learning developments are now allowing us to automate cognitive tasks.
Machine learning algorithms are able to sort through massive datasets, looking for patterns that would escape the average human. The technology also allows computers to handle tasks that we once the exclusive domain of humans. Technologies as diverse as online advertising, chatbots, speech recognition, weather prediction, autonomous vehicles, and healthcare delivery systems all use machine learning to enable quantum leaps in the intelligence of their systems.
Virtual reality has been around for quite some time, and while it has only recently started truly coming into its own, the market is far more interested in augmented reality (AR). Augmented reality doesn’t engulf you in a virtual world. Instead, it overlays information and virtual objects onto reality.
Retail stores can use AR to overlay interactive product information and demos over top of the products shoppers are looking at. Wayfinding is an excellent use of AR. Consumers could walk into a large store and see virtual paths light up in the air in front of them, guiding them directly to the items they’re looking for. Designers and engineers could interact directly with virtual versions of the projects they’re building. Tourists could use AR to learn more about the places they visit. AR is a technology with an almost unlimited number of applications.
The IoT, the Internet of Things, can generate huge volumes of data. In the home, you have smart devices, security cameras, home sensors, ovens, cars, and more. Businesses have security systems, tech core sensors, door locks, cameras, and a host of other networked devices. Edge computing is a new way of efficiently processing all of the information that these always-on sensors and devices create.
Consider a large business that has security sensors and cameras throughout its facility. These are all collecting data, which needs to be processed. It isn’t efficient to send all of it halfway around the globe to a cloud-based data center.
Instead, edge computing handles local data sorting, passing only the most important information on to the cloud for processing. “Edge” refers to the fact that the processing occurs at the edge of the cloud, closer to the location where the data is generated. Edge computing allows IoT mesh networks to scale in size and complexity without suffering the performance hit they would take if they had to send all of their data to the cloud.
Blockchain got its start with Bitcoin and quickly rocketed into public awareness with the proliferation of cryptocurrencies that followed. Blockchain is a decentralized method for authenticating, recording, and storing huge volumes of transactions.
These records are immutable and cannot be falsified. Plus they are completely transparent. Anyone, at any time, can review any piece, or the entire history of a given blockchain, including every transaction that has ever occurred. And because the blockchain is distributed across thousands or millions of computers, there is no central authority, meaning transactions costs cannot exist.
These features were necessary for distributed currencies such as Bitcoin, but computer scientists are finding new uses for the blockchain. Imagine a real estate market that allows investors to purchase property or tiny pieces of property without incurring purchasing fees. Tickets of all stripes, from concerts to trains, could be facilitated by a blockchain. This would create an indelible record of every ticket ever sold.
Blockchains eliminate costs and entirely eliminate fraud. It is physically impossible to alter a blockchain or feed it a fraudulent entry. Consumer safety stands to benefit greatly from the blockchain revolution.
At GOBI Technologies, we’re on top of the trends that transform businesses and continuously expanding our offerings and capabilities to cope with market changes and help our clients navigate complexities.