The one certainty in technology is that it will change. Businesses try hard to keep up, and 44% of them expect to increase their tech spending in 2020. SMBs need to understand what is changing to allocate their IT budgets intelligently. They need to plan their infrastructure, software, and service upgrades with an eye to years ahead.
No one knows the future for sure, but IT is moving in the direction of more speed, less latency, greater system autonomy, and increasing security challenges. Only prepared businesses can hope to compete successfully.
Two significant changes appeared in 2019 that will have major effects on wireless communication. They will make it faster and more reliable, reducing the need to run cables.
Implementations of the 5G cellular standard are already here, and they will become widespread in 2020. It delivers higher speed and lower latency. The 600 MHz band is a faster version of familiar cell tower technology, while millimeter-wave 5G provides gigahertz speeds and a shorter distance to connection points. The millimeter band has applications for local networking as well as public voice and data networks.
Wi-Fi has gotten its first major upgrade in five years, with Wi-Fi 6. It provides significant improvements in speed and security. Public networks without passwords can now be secure.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
The use of AI and ML in business has been growing for years. The biggest current trend is their use for decision making, under the name of hyper-automation or robotic process automation (RPA). They will never replace human decision-makers, but they can carry out policies intelligently, reducing the need for human intervention on routine decisions.
AI is becoming an issue in computer security, as well. It comes up in three ways:
AI assets that require protection
Improvements in threat detection and smart firewalls
The use of AI by criminals to find and exploit vulnerabilities
The initial hype for blockchain solutions led to a wave of disillusionment. The idea remains sound for many use cases, but development is slow. In some of these cases, such as supply chain tracking, a critical mass of adoption is necessary for blockchains to become widely useful.
Many of the dubious ICOs have already been shaken out. Some issues, such as the reconciliation of transparency and privacy, need more work. Adoption should gradually increase over the next few years until it becomes standard practice in some areas.
As in past years, the arms race will escalate. It is difficult to predict what the next big threat will be since surprise is central to the strategy behind the attacks. We can extrapolate to some degree from recent trends.
Businesses have heavily adopted cloud services, leading to cloud security issues. While these services relieve their customers of many security concerns, the customer needs to maintain high standards, especially in authentication and data sharing. Many businesses are unfamiliar with the new issues and, consequently, neglect essential practices. Users may store data improperly or share it carelessly.
AI, as already mentioned, will be an important tool for both sides in the battle. Businesses will need to stay aware of the latest threats and defenses. Employees need to learn to use new technologies safely.
Businesses need to stay alert and adapt to new technologies. This does not necessarily mean adopting every innovation as soon as it comes out, but managers have to know what to expect and what opportunities are opening up. Falling too far behind makes it difficult to compete.
You have a finite IT budget and need to decide where to use it. Should you upgrade or wait? Should you focus on innovation or enhance your existing infrastructure? Total Computer Solutions can help you plan your IT strategy for 2020. Sign up for our upcoming webinar, State of IT 2020 or contact us for a free IT roadmap consultation.