IT leaders outline their top trends for 2018

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2017 was a year of slow progress for much of the IT community. Where 2016 saw real innovations in cloud computing and the IoT, 2017 was much more about taking on responsibility for implementing these technologies, turning innovation into functional business realities.

Now, as 2017 draws to a close, CIOs and IT leaders are preparing for a new year of innovations that will need to be managed and installed in a cost-effective, and most importantly, secure way. But just what are the biggest innovations that IT professionals should be expecting to see shape their roles in 2018? Here are four predictions for 2018 from some of the UK’s leading IT professionals and technology CEOs:

Machine learning will drive communications

Bradlee Allen, Product Marketing Manager EMEA, Fuze

“Working in the communications space, 2017 was all about cloud adoption. Both employers and employees now expect to be able to communicate in-browser and at the click of a button, with the cloud providing a vital step in achieving this. While Fuze’s research suggests that many CIOs and IT teams still haven’t finished their transitions to the cloud, in 2018 they are already looking for new ways to improve the communications experience.

“One way of achieving this – that we at Fuze are already focusing on – is through a combination of big data and machine learning. Every day, thousands of terabytes of communications data pass through UC platforms. This data provides a near endless source of subtle information about how users prefer to communicate – whether through simple preferences such as starting a call with the webcam off, or more complex notions such as how users adjust their body language on video calls. By adopting machine learning technologies, communications companies could anonymously analyse such information, finding unique patterns that could help drastically improve the overall user experience. I predict that this combination of big data and machine learning will provide the driving force behind some of the biggest communications advances in 2018.”

AI will start to justify itself to the business community

Heather Richards, CEO, Transversal

“Artificial Intelligence hype will pass its peak. Many projects have been box-ticking exercises in an AI arms race. 2018 will see the C-suite demand a more demonstrable return on investment. 2018’s biggest winners will be the projects where Artificial Intelligence augments people’s ability to recall or research information and process data. Some of the biggest industry opportunities are in customer support applications where you need to make access to information quicker and easier, either for the customer or for the service and sales teams speaking to them. These applications are a long way removed from robots and chatbots and will move Artificial Intelligence closer to its goal of automating data and knowledge retrieval in 2018.”

Edge computing will complement the cloud 

Neil Bramley, B2B Client Solutions Director, Toshiba Northern Europe

“With data proliferation coming from the rise of IoT and the predicted capabilities of 5G in 2018, Edge Computing will become ever more vital. For organisations that handle large amounts of data, deciphering what to send to the cloud can reduce backlogs allowing it to perform the heavier tasks whilst Edge Computing technology allows increased mobility and real-time processing thus increasing efficiency at both ends of an organisation’s IT chain.

“Wearables, such as smart glasses, will work in harmony with Edge Computing, helping to both streamline processes within organisations in ever more remote or mobile environments. Take the NHS for example, utilising a wide variety of end-point devices such as smart glasses to access locally stored data, healthcare providers can collect and analyse patient data from the edge in real time whilst interacting with patients.

“Enabling healthcare providers to dramatically increase their efficiency when consulting with patients, whilst more data can be sent to the cloud for further diagnosis.”

The dark web will open up new threats for CIOs

Patrick Martin, cybersecurity analyst, RepKnight

“One of the biggest threats facing CIOs in 2018 will be that of the dark web. The dark web is a growing marketplace for the sale of stolen corporate data, like company credit card information, ID documents and employee login credentials that often have elevated access to other sensitive company information with a level of anonymity and protection. One third of the dark web is already made up of the sale of stolen corporate data (with the other two thirds being the sale of guns, drugs and other illegal products).

“Organisations must have a way to detect the sale of their data on the dark web if they really care about information security, GDPR, their staff and their customers. In 2017, we saw a number of famous cyber breaches that lead to the sale of data on the dark web, like the celebrity Instagram hack, and in 2018, this problem is only set to get worse — and we’ll almost certainly see even more high-profile attacks that results in dark web-related activity."

When it comes to enterprise IT, these innovations and challenges represent only the tip of the iceberg. In 2018 we should expect to see a whole host of new and advancing technologies helping to supplement and improve both office environments and worker experiences. As these advancements begin to impact the workplace, it is down to CIOs and IT leaders to manage this change, encouraging technological disruption without disrupting the flow of work itself.

Bradlee Allen, Product Marketing Manager EMEA, Fuze
Heather Richards, CEO, Transversal
Neil Bramley, B2B Client Solutions Director,
Toshiba Northern Europe
Patrick Martin, cybersecurity analyst, RepKnight 

Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa