2018 has been an unprecedented year for the tech industry. Multiple disruptive technologies have advanced from game-changing concepts to essential tools for business success. As we round out 2018, let’s take a look back on the most influential technologies and how they’ve impacted the marketplace, as well as what skillsets will be the most valuable going into the new year.
Despite cryptocurrency losing steam, one of the technologies created in its wake is continuing to grow in popularity: blockchain. Up until now, the original and largest use of blockchain was in completing payments and money transfers, ensuring the effective transfer of billions of dollars around the world. Today, companies in numerous industries are finding new applications for this technology, harnessing the potential to impact countless sectors. Additionally, blockchain is useful for monitoring supply chains, operating retail loyalty programs, controlling digital IDs, sharing data, protecting copyrights, voting digitally, and more. A study from Stanford University found that of the 193 organizations leveraging blockchain, 20% of them stated that it’s providing a solution that would not otherwise have been possible. Additionally, 86% reported that blockchain is providing material improvements over existing solutions.
Throughout 2018, as CIOs remain fatigued by the mounting costs of managing infrastructure, the rate of cloud adoption has continued to rise. A recent survey of 550 tech companies revealed that 73% of organizations have at least one application or a portion of their enterprise computing infrastructure on the cloud. The study also found that a substantial portion of tech spending is consumed by cloud computing with an average of 30% of IT budgets allocated to the technology.
Over the course of this year, cloud environments have matured and grown more complex, which has generated a need for organizations to view cloud providers as a portfolio. By diversifying their cloud portfolio, companies decrease the risk of experiencing major outages, such as the Amazon Web Services outage in 2017 that resulted in their customers losing hundreds of millions of dollars.
The rise of artificial intelligence has been a hot-topic for some time, and while it will still be a few years before AI reaches peak performance, this top technology made incredible strides this year. AI has begun to affect our lives in tangible ways, and we now have more effective fraud detection, improved customer service, and strengthened data security. Even seemingly simple problems like lengthy commute times are being solved by dynamic AI-powered predictive technology.
In manufacturing, predictive maintenance has become a must for manufacturers. Studies show that manufacturers waste an estimated $50 billion annually on unplanned downtime, 42% of which is caused by asset failure. Using advanced AI algorithms, companies can now formulate predictions and address asset malfunctions before they present an issue. We’ve only scratched the surface of AI capabilities, but artificial intelligence has already become indispensable to businesses as well as our day-to-day lives.
Big Data Analysis
Initially, the primary focus of big data was on collecting as much data as possible, with little consideration of how it would be organized or stored. Massive data lakes that gathered millions of pieces of data were created with the mindset that it would ultimately be useful. Now, with years of unanalyzed data sitting in storage, it’s clear that this approach is unsustainable for many organizations, causing IT and business leaders to re-strategize.
In 2018, companies have been working to leverage their data, making it valuable and actionable by putting it into context. That context helps to discover relationships between the information, so it can actually be utilized. The evolution of AI also plays a significant role in this progress – allowing organizations to analyze large quantities of data more quickly and accurately than ever before.
Looking Towards the Future
The top technologies of this year pushed boundaries and paved the path for innovation moving forward. With 2019 just around the corner, recruiting IT professionals with these tech skillsets will be more valuable than ever. These technologies are continuing to evolve and finding candidates with knowledge and experience in these areas will prove to be vital for any businesses hoping to excel in the new year. So, what are you waiting for?
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