An Article By, David Tan, Chief Technology Officer
I had the honor of speaking at an event earlier this month put on by CompTIA, the largest technology industry trade association in the world. The session I spoke at was about trends in emerging technology, and what IT companies should be looking for and talking to their clients about. The session grew out of a new CompTIA community around emerging technology, which I serve on the executive council for. I’m always interested in looking at new technologies and what they mean for business, both mine and my customers. This group is a great outlet for me to collaborate with others and gain an even deeper understanding of what we need to be thinking about down the line.
I thought it might be interesting to share the list and give my thoughts on how some of these trends will affect small-to-midsized businesses in the near future. I’ve talked at times about some of these technologies in the past, but looking at them as a whole is kind of interesting, especially through the lens of what is happening in technology specifically, and in business in general.
First the list. Some of these technologies are past the “emerging” phase in that they are almost becoming mainstream. Some are almost too far off to be considered emerging. Either way, though, it’s a glimpse into what will really impact our world in the coming years. Ranked from 10 to 1 in order of least to most pervasive and impactful, the list is Quantum Computing; Blockchain; Biometrics; Drones; 3D Printing; 5G; Augmented / Virtual Reality; Artificial Intelligence; Automation; Internet of Things.
I think the order is the first interesting piece. IoT is anywhere and everywhere so it’s a natural at #1. There’s almost nobody reading this who doesn’t have some sort of connected device in their home. Everything from my TV to my garage door to my refrigeration has an IP address on it and can be managed or monitored remotely. IoT is a core part of business and life so it almost doesn’t even need to be discussed. Quantum Computing, on the other end of the list, will no doubt change everything, but we have a ways to go. We won’t directly see major impacts from that for years, but when we do, look out.
So if we focus on the middle of the list, it actually reveals some interesting trends. Many of the things on the list are essentially incremental improvements to technologies that exist to – or significant improvements. 5G networking will take mobility to the next level for sure. The level of high-speed connectivity options it will offer will make anywhere access on any device the norm, with performance and graphics levels to rival what we get at our desks today. It will be transformational. So too will things like advances in 3D printing. Being able to print in different mediums (metal for example) will completely re-shape the assembly line and manufacturing processes. Biometrics, Drones, AR/VR, all technologies we use today, but all evolving at an incredibly rapid pace and changing the way business is done almost daily.
One of my favorites on the list is Automation, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s an incredibly wide-ranging solution. Automation can be applied to almost every part of almost any business. Second, because it has the possibility of being a simple solution to deploy. It isn’t always, but often times simple automation projects return huge dividends in cost savings, quality assurance and business process optimization. But thirdly, and most importantly, it fulfills what I think is the greatest promise of advances in technology. While it may seem on the surface that it is meant to replace humans, in reality it’s meant to improve and optimize them. Time spent doing mundane repetitive tasks that a machine could do better is time taken away from tasks that are uniquely human and require the special capabilities no machine can replicate. When we optimize this, we really maximize the power of technology.
So do yourself a favor. Think about this list of emerging technologies and think about your business and your life. Think about how you can use them and leverage them to grow and improve. I can promise you that your competition is, so stay one step ahead and let me help you with the discussion!