The business world finds itself being rapidly transformed by digitization. Ever more forcefully, new technologies demand their seat at the table. Firms find it ever harder to maintain an overview. A recent study by IT service provider Dimension Data shows which innovations will indeed be decisive for success in the new year. The outcome is that tomorrow’s technologies are not new concepts. Yet what will become interesting is when individual technologies are no longer put to use in isolation but rather they are combined. This could decisively speed up development in many areas.
The technologies of blockchain, machine learning, robot technology, artificial intelligence and wireless technologies will fundamentally change business and society in the next year. This is what IT service provider Dimension Data concludes, having recorded the global IT trends for 2018.
The results point to blockchain having the greatest potential for companiesꞌ future. The technology behind the bitcoin crypto-currency already reached a high level of popular awareness in 2017. Soon it could crucially change the finance sector and also other areas of business. Jan Willem Dees, Dimension Data Germany’s CEO, predicts a formidable future for blockchain in business: ꞌWe had already forecast for 2017 that the existing centralized transaction models would come under pressure. We were right in this. The capital markets in the USA, as well as in Europe and parts of Asia, have turned their attention to the blockchain platforms. This commands respect if you consider that finance ranks among the most conservative of all sectors, very strongly focused on compliance requirements.ꞌ
Dees also points out that the Internet of Things (IoT) will develop further due to the blockchain developments. ꞌThe internet of things generates million of very small-scale transactions, brought together by distributed sensors. To master dimensions like these, a peer-to-peer approach is needed. Only blockchain is now offering this,ꞌ Dees notes. So blockchain can improve significantly the security of internet-compatible equipment, in particular. Ever more often, cyber-criminals misuse non-secure IoT devices for their attacks. At the same time, up to now manufacturers have little incentive to invest in protective mechanisms. Blockchain could dramatically raise the security level in the internet of things, because it counts as being not open to manipulation and yet the transaction costs are low.
Because massive changes are to be expected in 2018, also in wireless technologies, the internet of things could be about to have its breakthrough. The expansion of WLAN networks means that ever larger data quantities can be processed ever more quickly. This makes it possible both to connect numerous items of domestic equipment via the internet and to integrate blockchain technologies in a practical way.
The path back to the top
In 2018, firms long established in the market, that in recent years had to battle with the speed of agile young companies, will successfully reposition themselves in the market. Above all, this applies to those firms that have proactively pressed ahead with their digital transformation. Where IT infrastructures were modernized and work sequences were automated, important market shares can be reconquered.
ꞌIn my view, many companies long active in the market and who by now have successfully transformed themselves will reconquer their place at the top over the medium term. Unlike often less experienced competitors, they have greater credibility, a longer corporate history and a stable client base,ꞌ Dees notes. ꞌThese firms benefit from the values built up over decades. At the same time, they must invest in innovations so as to match customersꞌ future aspirations. Successful use of new technologies and digital services can bring companies a considerable distance forward in a short time. For this they must skilfully link up the cultural shift with corporate traditions. Because the speed of innovation is permanently increasing, it is really hard for firms to catch up on developments neglected over a longer period. What is called for, in the years to come, is a permanent commitment to staying ahead in the digital business world.ꞌ