The Roaring ‘20’s: high-tech trends for this year

Remember ’60’s television shows, such as where “Danger, Will Robinson,” became part our syntax as a mild-mannered family and an evil Dr. Smith got “Lost in Space?” Or the Jetson’ flying cars and Astro the dog’s treadmill walks? (The latter is probably true in the 21st century.) Or what about “Back to the Future” protagonist Marty McFly cruising around Hill Valley on his hoverboard?

Today, we live on a planet where cable customers are cutting the cord – literally – as streaming services via ultra-high-speed internet rage forward and social networks keep us connected to the outside world.

As we enter the third decade (or last year of the second decade, depending on how you look at it), technology has given us tangible items like Lyft, Uber, Air BnBs, and computers in the palm of our hands with smarter phones.

Personal digital assistants like Siri and Alexa help us organize our schedules, blast our news and music, and teach us how to make a new recipe for dinner.

Literal road maps and dictionaries have been replaced by digital navigation – both down the road or around a word.

Twenty-twenty is sure to be a game changer, and not just a catch phrase that Barbara Walters uttered each week.

To ease our sometime lazy tendencies, hyper-automation has elevated duty-tasking to another level. Technological advances have given us Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine learning (ML) to automate processes (not just tasks) in ways that are significantly more impactful than that of traditional automation capabilities.

The combination of multi-machine learning, cutting-edge software and finely tuned automation tools, hyper-automation requires a combination of tools to help support replicating the job minus the human (more or less). This trend kicked off with robotic process automation but will see growth with the combination of process intelligence, content intelligence, AI, optical character recognition (the technology that recognizes text with a digital image) and other innovative technology.

The way we look at our keyboard and monitor is also changing. Multi-experience deals with the enormous shift from a two-dimensional screen and keyboard interface to a much more dynamic, multi-modal kind of annexated world where we’re immersed in the interactive tech. Think of it as living and working in Sensurround.

AI enabled conversational platforms have changed the way in which people interact with the digital world, with virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. This is not your gamer’s gaming device. This shift in both perception and interaction will result in the future multi-sensory and multi-modal experience. Entranced? You should be: In the next ten years, this trend, will be known as the ambient experience.

Then there’s the process by which access to technology rapidly continues to become more accessible to more people – called the Democratization of technology, which means providing people with easy access to technical or business expertise without the expertise. Historically, automation was managed and deployed by IT, but the emergence of robotic process automation has changed that with the emergence of digital workers.

We are now seeing a new generation of “citizen developers,” such as business analysts, who are closer to business challenges and can program and automate digital workers to assist them in their work. This trend will focus on the four key areas of application development, data and analytics, design, and good old-fashioned know-how.

Human augmentation explores how technology can be used to deliver cognitive and physical improvements as an integral part of the human experience. This augmentation is leveraging technology to increase human capabilities both physically and cognitively. Companies like Boston Dynamics have already developed a wide variety of human augmenting devices that can be used in factories or on the battlelines.

Consider that we’ve taken our smart phone technology and made it wearable. For example, new apps include the use of these wearables to improve worker safety in the mining industry. In other industries, such as retail and manufacturing, wearables could be used to increase worker productivity and increase human ability.

With data breaches now as common as today’s weather report, consumers are increasingly aware that their personal information is valuable and vulnerable and are demanding more control. Many are recognizing the increasing risk of securing and managing personal data. Beyond that, governments are implementing strict legislation to ensure they do. Transparency and traceability are critical elements to support these digital ethics and privacy needs.

As many more organizations deploy AI and take advantage of machine learning to make decisions in place of humans, many folks believe this is cause for greater concern. We’ve also seen the celluloid version of a robot uprising – hence the need for fully explainable AI and AI governance.

Distributed cloud is a term that refers to how the cloud is shifting. Most have thought of the cloud as being location independent – it’s just somewhere out there, floating around. Just ask a Mac. But now with distributed cloud, the physical location of where those data centers are roaming (or not) becomes increasingly important.

The cloud now expands its territory and becomes a distributed cloud, which is the distribution of public cloud services to different locations while the originating public cloud provider assumes responsibility for the operation, governance, updates to and evolution of the services. This represents a significant shift from the centralized model of most public cloud services and will lead to a new era in cloud computing.

Twenty-twenty anticipates great opportunities and greater challenges. It’s vital to always remember that embracing change and adopting new technologies and trends will guarantee that your organization remains competitive in the market but also more at risk. As creatures of habit, some of resist change or certainly fight innovation but when it comes to business practices, transformation can mean a growing business. It’s time to fish or cut the technological bait.