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The top five technology predictions for 2020

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa)

Technological innovations are continuing to influence how businesses and society operate in daily life. We now expect on-demand services that are delivered quickly and smoothly and in reaction, companies are devoting considerable investment in technological innovation in order to meet these expectations and see off competition.

From gaming to networking, below are five predictions that will shake up the technology landscape in 2020.

Waking up to the SD-WAN hyperbole

Companies are jumping on to the SD-WAN bandwagon like there’s no tomorrow. One of the latest buzzwords floating around the technology innovation space, SD-WAN has seemingly managed to cement itself as a must-have technology for companies to become agile and improve performance. Broken down as a software-defined approach to managing the wide-area network (WAN), the technology can optimise the user experience and public cloud applications, as well as reducing costs with transport independence across the likes of MPLS and 3G/4G LTE.

The majority of this is marketing hype. Yes, there are some excellent applications of the technology but in 2020 the SD-WAN bubble will burst and people will start questioning what SD-WAN actually is and at the same time, begin to understand their own business requirements and the solutions they need instead of the ones they think they want. Marketers have done an excellent job of promoting SD-WAN as a ‘new concept’ but it is simply an automated version of networking that has wrapped together four common components into one. With people misinformed and wasting thousands of pounds, it’s about time that the hype behind SD-WAN gets exposed so everyone can start making the right decisions.

Google Stadia won’t last beyond 2020

A project that should be lauded for its ambition but criticised for its logistical naivety, Google Stadia has generated global interest as it launches as the first streaming video game service. Instead of a physical copy or a massive file download, Stadia relies on Google’s cloud infrastructure to render the games, allowing users to play through hardware such as TV streaming sticks, phones and PCs, foregoing the need to purchase expensive consoles.

Unfortunately, amidst rumours that Amazon is also developing a cloud gaming service, Google Stadia will serve as the demonstrable figurehead of the fact that the internet isn’t ready to cope with high-pressure, high-volatility platforms. This will be even more of an issue in the UK, where 5G capabilities are severely lagging behind and the internet is not primed for the ultra-time that gamers appreciate. With society now becoming unwilling to accept even the smallest of delays, Google Stadia will struggle to get the pick-up it needs to be commercially viable.

Shaking up the cloud platform industry

What is multi-cloud? Ask a range of industry experts and technical professionals and there will be varying definitions. Confusion reigns on whether it is defined as a number of cloud-offered services within a greater eco-system or whether it refers to the use of different cloud service providers in the same space.

The latter misuse of the term has slowly become the consensus and is stopping companies from making informed decisions about what solutions they need to make the most of cloud for their business. More education is needed to explain that different applications need different storage solutions. During the early rush into digital transformation, companies dumped everything into a single cloud provider and are now left questioning if they can move assets out into more suitable platforms. Companies should take a step back and think ahead to which - and how many - future home(s) they should be considering for their applications and data.

The signs of a digital Armageddon

It seems that lessons still aren’t being learnt from the WannaCry episode of 2017 which shut down the NHS, affecting healthcare for millions of people in the UK. The reliance on the internet will prove to be a downfall when the next digital Armageddon happens. Seen as a cheaper resource to many alternatives, the internet is still a great platform to use for connectivity but detrimentally, it is seen as the answer for everything from a comms perspective.

Sooner or later, something catastrophic will happen and important assets or data may become unrecoverable; it could be a total removal of an entire bank’s history or the theft of people’s data from within a justice system. By putting anything on the internet, no matter how encrypted, you open a door to seven billion people. A digital Armageddon will be the kick needed to make people sit up and fix the problematic over-reliance on the internet. 

The race to dominate the public cloud space

The public cloud market is growing larger by the day as more technology giants launch their own cloud platforms and features. In recent years, Amazon Web Services (AWS) have dominated this industry and currently have around 40 per cent of the public cloud market share revenue which has dropped significantly. Microsoft are quickly gaining traction in the space and in 2020 will be primed to seriously challenge Amazon’s hold on the market share. During a relatively quiet decade in the 2000s in comparison to their success in the 1990s, Microsoft lost out to the likes of Apple and Amazon who opened themselves up as companies with open ecosystems and prioritisation of customer experience.

Microsoft’s new CEO has set a new game-changing approach for the company and opened up the business to be much more agile at a corporate level. This approach has bred successful results for Microsoft Azure including a partnership with Salesforce. More importantly, the U.S. Department of Defence awarded Microsoft a ten-year, $10 billion contract to transform the military’s use of cloud; many in the industry had believed that rival Amazon had been a shoo-in for the project. These deals only bode well for Microsoft’s Azure increasing market share of the public cloud space.

The year of 2020

It’s clear that companies are striving to be as ambitious as ever with both cloud and gaming technology making significant advances in recent months. However, what’s also obvious is that the industry needs to clearly define this ‘new technology’, understand what it can achieve and its benefits, and then figure out what is actually feasible when it comes to logistical implementation.

Justin Day, CEO, Cloud Gateway

Justin Day is CEO of Cloud Gateway. He has worked in IT for 17 years in private and public sectors including telecommunications, finance and major corporations like Aviva and Vodafone.