At the start of a new year, it’s time to start looking into the future and how technology can help shape our businesses in 2020. Let’s take a quick look at what we at Orca think will be hot topics in 2020.
1. RPA and Automation
Robotic process automation (RPA) might sound futuristic and out of the reach of many businesses, but it’s nearer than you may think. And it’becoming more affordable to implement, with tangible return on investment. RPA is the use of technology to reduce and ultimately eliminate the need for users to perform repetitive tasks. There are many rules-based, business activities that are ripe for RPA. For example, many daily book-keeping tasks such as accounts payable, credit checks and salary processing that could easily be automated. The fundamental aim is to free up internal resource to concentrate on higher-value tasks that really add value to your business. Forbes takes a look at how RPA will bring benefits to organisations in 2020.
It’s been a while coming, but 5G has already been rolled out to major cities in the UK and will be more widespread across the country in 2020. And it’s not just about speed. The higher bandwith and lower latency delivered by 5G means that the broad scope of services that can be delivered is really exciting. AI, VR, IoT and augmented reality will be more accessible to everyone with a smartphone. 5G will enable us all to take advantage of technology like never before.
3. Edge Computing
Edge computing is a different type of Cloud computing to that which most users understand. The basic premise of Edge is to take the computing closer to the source of the data. The benefits are evident with IoT devices. For example, Amazon Echo devices – or Alexa, as we’ve come to know her, has a large amount of data to process when you ask a question. Therefore, rather than process the entire query in the Cloud, the Alexa device will compute locally, reducing the amount of data being sent back and forth to the Cloud servers at Amazon.
4. Security and Privacy
Unfortunately, things aren’t looking any better in regards to security and privacy in 2020. Phishing and targeting of individuals are likely to remain a primary threat to everyone. Ransomware and malware will remain a serious risk and with the retirement of support for Windows 7, we are likely to see a marked increase in attacks and exploits in very early 2020.
The increased adoption of cryptocurrency will also result in increasing cryptojacking. This is when an unauthorised user accesses devices to mine cryptocurrency and using your businesses technology resources.
State-sponsored attacks will also be more prevalent with an increased focus of using AI to initiate automated attacks, it could be an interesting year ahead. ZDNet takes a look at who might emerge as a threat in 2020.
It’s not just about cryptocurrency although Bitcoin was the first application of blockchain technology. Blockchain is transparent, distributed ledger technology – which makes it highly suitable for recording transactions securely, as it’s open, yet difficult to tamper with the blocks of data. There are many potential business applications for blockchain and it’s already starting to be adopted by some organisations. And it’s more than a ledger to be used to automate bookkeeping. Although the ICAEW has looked at the impact of blockchain on the accountancy profession. Supply chain management, where there can be many strands of complexity and multiple transactions is an example of where blockchain can effectively applied. And Blockchain is the foundation of a joint venure in the shipping industry between IBM and Maersk that seeks to transform global distribution networks. There are bound to be other large organisations that will publicly announce their adoption of blockchain, which will, over time, filter into wider business applications.