It has become something of a holiday tradition to declare that the world is getting worse with every passing year - just remember the flack 2017 received. But with 2018 drawing to a close we’ve decided to put all that behind us and have instead been looking ahead to 2019, where we can see some positive developments for the tech industry. Here are our predictions for the coming year:
Keeping an open mind – a forest of collaboration for 2019
Taking a lead from the Redwood trees, some of the tallest trees in the world, collaborative working will drive the industry forward in 2019. Despite their height, these trees grow their shallow roots outwards in the ground to intertwine with the neighbouring trees, thereby creating a strong supportive network. The surge in open source will empower people to emulate the Redwoods by enabling them to connect with different platforms and work together. It will become less about what platform you’re using and more about what can be achieved with it. This will bring about a particularly significant shift in how the mainframe is perceived.
Almost 19 years ago, IBM was the first major computer power to embrace Linux, which today translates to a staggering 90 per cent of mainframe customers leveraging Linux on their mainframe. With the recent launch of open-source frameworks, the divide between modern applications and the mainframe will be reduced through the increase in accessibility.
Languages and tools like Node.js, Python, Java and Git, can all be used, allowing developers, especially students fresh from university, the chance to code on a platform which they might not be familiar with, or even perceive as ‘bygone’. This will be a big bonus for those large organisations whose businesses depend on powerful older computers and which have struggled to find developers with the skills to program them. Open data and open source will be the driving force for future innovation, encouraging the next generation not to shy away from the mainframe and creating an opportunity to bridge the skills gap.
Furthermore, the advancement of open source is democratising the tech industry. The collaborative nature of this kind of development means new companies are forming around well-known open source technologies, opening the industry up to smaller start-ups. These newer companies often focus heavily on growing the community and working to make software better, leading to more innovation in the tech sector. Not only this, but big companies have had to operate by this principle as well, through publishing code that allows smaller organisations to integrate more easily with their services. Just like the Redwood trees, the tech community is stronger together.
Bypassing the roadblock
Once hailed as the saviour of the Irish border issue and secret weapon in the fight against world hunger, Blockchain has had a tough couple of months. ‘Too slow’ the banks said, ‘no use for a distributed ledger’ the nay-sayers criticised. But the new year will see Blockchain finally come into its own with the manufacturer crowd. While its supporters might have to accept that it may never be adopted across the board, Blockchain will certainly make its mark in the supply chain – processes like B2B transactions, ordering, invoicing, payments, stocking, etcetera, will benefit hugely from implementing the technology.
A recent report from Cap Gemini showed that although only three per cent of organisations are deploying blockchain at scale, 87 per cent are in the early stages of implementation or carrying out proof of concept projects with the technology. Perhaps it was always written – the two ‘chains’, a match made in cyberspace.
Modernisation for Innovation
The motto for 2019 is modernisation rather than replacement - legacy systems are finely tuned to the way businesses operate and can often execute tasks or transactions more smoothly and efficiently than any other system, particularly if they are home grown. Organisations have made a considerable investment in developing and maintaining these systems and should not let that investment go to waste by embarking on the expensive and risky journey of recreating systems on another platform. However, the capital tied up in mainframe maintenance is better used to modernise it and take advantage of new technologies.
Modernisation helps businesses to unlock the value in their existing applications and improve IT infrastructure to enjoy the many benefits of connectivity without the expense, risk and disruption of replacing their valuable ‘legacy’ systems – there’s life in the old dog yet.
35 billion connected devices
Having been ‘the future’ for years, the Internet of Things is continuously making leaps and bounds - GSMA Intelligence forecasts that there will be more than 25 billion "internet of things" connections by 2025. Guy Tweedale, regional VP at Rocket Software would go a step further: “We expect the number of connected devices to surpass 35 billion in the next six years. With the increasing popularity of smart devices, especially in areas like transportation, the figure might even be higher.”
Thanks to the introduction of 5G, devices like parking meters and traffic lights finally have enough power to bring about real breakthroughs in the near future. Moving away from pure data collection to performing actual functions based on external data inputs, congestion will be eased, and road accidents reduced – cities will get smarter. However, the more devices get connected, the more we have to prepare for cyber -attacks which are expected to increase in number and severity.
While it might not be available to the general public in 2019, or possibly anytime soon, quantum computing deserves a spot on this list as it is one of the most exciting future developments of our time. Using quantum mechanical phenomena such as superposition and entanglement, quantum computing takes advantage of the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time, allowing to solve problems that are impossible for classical computers to tackle.
Currently only running on a small 20-qubit quantum computer via the IBM quantum experience project, should quantum computing become widely available, the effects are going to be revolutionary. The entirety of security, pharmaceutical and financial industries will be changed dramatically, and lives saved through e.g. atmospheric mapping in real time to avoid hurricanes. In the future, tragedies caused by the late evacuation as it was the case during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, can be circumvented. Due to the processing power of quantum computers, the two-to-three-day hurricane forecast will be as accurate as the generally spot on 24-hour forecast today. The future might be tumultuous, but we’ll be equipped to weather the storm.
Guy Tweedale, VP Sales for EMEA, Rocket Software
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