Tech in 20s

Let us start with a quick rewind on the decade gone by that gave us the technology breakthroughs unlike past years.

From smart phone to smart cars to smart cities, technology became a force to reckon with, changed paradigms of disruption and demonstrated to the world what is possible in the realm with emerging technologies.

 

We experienced “uberization” of businesses, virtualization of markets, “googled” our way to amplify experience and added many more such verbs to our vocabulary. Phones replaced cameras, computers, maps, and “touched” our lives like never before.

Consumerism and customer centricity developed a whole new meaning and we saw creation of innovative products and business models that not only disrupted age-old methods but ushered in a digital era with unmatched consequences. We no more need a shop to retail, a bank for financial transactions or a queue to book tickets.

The age of digital transformation and business innovation saw every industry experiment with new technologies. Cloud computing and big data opened the possibilities. The world economy saw a generation of startups turn into unicorns and the term ecosystem got a new meaning. Robotics and artificial intelligence emerged from being mere buzzwords to industrialization across domains.

With all its power and possibilities, cyberspace also emerged as the fifth dimension for warfare. As crime became cyber, data leakage, deep fakes, phishing and other cyber threats manifested themselves in a manner that led to invoking of data privacy and protection acts across the planet.

There have been hypes, hyperboles and understatements. Fear of job losses due to automation, to cyber currency potentially challenging the world economics, to everything-as-a-service, we saw it all. In the new hyper connected, digitalized and smart automated world, the jury is still out on the merits and vulnerabilities we have created for ourselves.

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As we cross to 2020s what does the decade look like from the technology perspective?

From good-to-have to the central point, technology is turning mainstream. Analysts, tech organizations and all industries are placing key bets as we see the technology landscape mature and unfold. From smart automation, artificial intelligence, infrastructure virtualization, to blockchain, there is a remarkable shift in how we build layers of technical architecture. Digital integration and DevSecOps have helped in finding agile and scalable engineering solutions that innovate on top of the best in class available platforms, as against reinventing the wheel.

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With all its tech promises, the decade just began on a somber note, a fact-check on how connectedness can spell boom and doom simultaneously. As the world struggles to stay ahead of COVID 19, it is also a testing time for digital era, how seamless and digitalized our operations are, how well we have scaled our digital footprints. In these trying times we will be able to see how well we are digitally connected though distanced socially. Each business is introspecting regarding their digital readiness to meet the present.

Whatever the forecasts may be for the decade from the technology standpoint, one thing is certain that the world will not be the same place again. Ramifications of the COVID 19 havoc will have each leader reflect on how we conduct our businesses, how connected, agile and dependable our supply chains are, how quickly we can recalibrate our operations in such scenarios. Innovation, backed by digital transformation, will be a key focus area for leaders to address.

Moving from current times to near future, technologies are focused on creating not just more intelligent solutions, but smart knowledge workforce. Boundaries between tech savvy and non-tech savvy are shrinking at a fast pace. What will manifest in coming years is the homogeneity between tech skills and domain knowledge. And business use cases that exploit technology like never before.

A brief description of how the value shift will be visible on various technology trends is represented below

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As we create citizen developers, augmented developers, and citizen data scientists, technology will be simplified, and adoption will be far more democratized. No more limited by availability of niche skills which are privy to a small community, the focus would shift towards creating business value.

Decade of 20s is when all the technology advancements, experiments and digital interventions shall start to form a plexus of intricate connections and business models unlike what we have experienced so far. As the unlikeliest partners join hands to form alliances, an involuted ecosystem will develop that may provide endless possibilities.

What will therefore be, the focus areas for leaders in next decade?

strong>Trust. Compassion. Human Intelligence.

Responsible digitalization will necessitate plugging of pervasive gaps created due to short cuts for data exploitation. Trust and Assurance, therefore, would manifest beyond the regulatory and compliance needs. With increased digital footprint across domains, digital ethics and the bedrock of trust-enabling-enterprise-wide architecture will propel the organizations to new heights who can capitalize on this opportunity.

Assurance itself would translate beyond compliance and validations. Key ask from quality engineering would be to help organizations stay trustworthy through transparency and seamlessness with proactive checks and balances.

Artificial intelligence will turn a page with a turn of decade. After a decade of experimentations and exploring art of the possible, AI will step out from the realms of narrow AI to explainable AI and federated learning, as we move towards general artificial intelligence. Responsible AI would not just be key to higher transparency and better data governance, but also help create solutions with lesser biases and higher inclusion, thus providing more accurate and actionable insights.

Beyond Design Thinking at the center for vastly empathetic products and solutions for consumers, compassion will be more about concern for the planet. How judiciously we use our resources and provision for a better future will become a mainstream social responsibility. A case in point are the data centers. On cloud or on-premises, the focus would shift on sustainable IT by optimizing infrastructure through requirement-based scaling to better manage carbon footprints. From converged infrastructure to hyperconverged infrastructure, firms shall invest in optimizing resource usage and more automated data center management. Success in future would be to scale as required, not as desired.

Pertinently, in the age of AI, we will not be able to ignore human intelligence. More we inch closer to quantum computing and humanoids, the better we understand and appreciate super strength that we are born with. We have already adopted design models from anthills and kingfishers that also have inspired bullet trains. Crowdsourcing capabilities of honeybees are enabling creation of swam intelligence solutions, that are powered by collective intelligence of humans. From capability building, to crowdsourcing to decision making and forecasting, swarms are incubating in labs of the world to explore and harness the power of human intelligence.

In a nutshell

Many tech interventions and experiments will move out of incubation labs and exhibit their potential. If 2010s were fast paced in terms of technology adoption and industrialization, 2020s will be more pragmatic in approach to tech adoption and mature digitalization with a keen eye on consequences, a decade of responsible digitalization.