The following is a guest post from John Roulat, partner of the Connecticut practice of Fortium Partners, one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing providers of technology leadership services.
You’ve all heard of them. Blockchain, IoT, AI, Big Data, 5G and more. This post is not really about an in-depth review of these technologies but more a view of what to expect as they start to converge. FYI – it is coming faster than you think.
5G the Super Highway
5G is a new communications standard for cellular communication. It will provide much higher data capacity than we have today. Its speed is impressive enough (download a 4K movie in 1 to 2 minutes), but the real story behind it is the ability of the new standards to support many more connections and to support those connections in near real time. Think of 5G as a high speed and high capacity highway for data.
5G networks are currently being installed in a few major cities. Expect to see them entering the market globally in the next two years followed by the rapid introduction of consumer devices built to take advantage of their powerful capabilities. Although backwards compatibility is expected for your current 4G devices it is likely that true use of the 5G will require reinvestments in your wireless communications technology.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT will be one of the major convergence technologies which will leverage this data highway. Devices from cars to coffee pots will given capabilities to communicate to various recipients. It is expected that autonomous vehicles would communicate in near real time with traffic control systems. The growth of these devices is expected and the world is preparing for it with a new internet numbering standard (IPV6). That new standard can handle 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 individual addresses. That’s not a typo. It’s 340 trillion trillion trillion. With high speed communications you will be able to offload computing from the device to the cloud.
Does your organization need to start considering if it needs to start its own IoT or look for these opportunities? Keep in mind that speed to communicate will require some companies to put services closer to the edge for faster responses (Edge Services). Speed and consistency will determine the winners. You need to know how cloud providers can meet the challenge. Investments in cloud services that can support these activities or adjustments to your data centers will likely be required.
The next part of the convergence could be considered “The Commoditization of Human Interfaces”. Fancy term that allows an inexpensive and standardized device to interact with humans for speech and sight. You see it today with Siri and Amazon’s Echo for speech. Autonomous vehicles are ushering in the software and hardware ability to see, hear and react.
Eventually vision technology like speech will be commoditized and end up on a chip for integration to just about anything. Add some tactile sensory feedback and you will see, talk and touch through the internet(a gamers paradise). This is happening quickly. Today Amazon is aggressively offering a developers kit to integrate Alexa technology to interested parties.
Could your product or service benefit from voice interactions?
How will we manage this volume of data? This much data will require new ways to interpret the value it represents for activities such as preventative maintenance, customer activities, product development and the recognition of potential trends. This is where Big Data and AI come into play. The big data space is coming into focus concerning tools and processes and so is AI to a lesser extent. They are both evolving quickly. Many consider the race to AI as a critical development to gain global advantages.
In addition, you will start to see the general use of Blockchain technology to deliver solutions for contract management, food tracking and various transactional activities. Expect Blockchain solutions to be generally available in the next year with competing solutions. We are a few years away from real standards but Blockchain, in its various forms is a game changer.
Big data and AI are not mandatory for some of convergence activities that are coming. However, any company with vision will need to prepare and develop a path to ensure readiness. Blockchain is something we recommend you understand and watch as the market develops. One recent example (and there are many more) uses Blockchain as a form of identification supporting purchases against accounts for locations where institutionalized ID systems and credit are not available. The persons private key is their ID. If you are not currently testing these technologies we suggest you do so.
Cloud providers have these readily available but the knowledge required will take some time so the earlier the better.
These technologies and others are advancing not on a yearly basis but monthly. What we have tried to show here is that individually they are transformative but as they converge it creates a new paradigm for solution and value delivery. Investments in testing and knowledge development should be considered for your organization.
Does your organization have a plan or at least the most rudimentary road map for these changes? Will you be able to have your company, its employees, services and products ready to take advantage?
That’s where Fortium Partners comes in. We can assist you in the process of determining how your company can take advantage or at least prepare for these changes. For more information, please visit us at www.fortiumpartners.com