By Anna Hanson, Sales Director at ByteSpeed
It’s that time again: every December, the tech industry starts buzzing about what trends we can expect to see in the new year. 2020 is going to be no different — in fact, this might be one of the most exciting years on record for business owners who follow tech news. That’s because a whole host of technologies that have until recently been in development are expected to roll out on a wide scale next year. Much of the talk in industry circles has been about the use of AI (and what implications that has for critical IT functions such as cybersecurity), but pending developments in cloud computing and the much-anticipated implementation of 5G networks should also be cause for curiosity. Sit back, get comfortable, and start reading up on 5 of the most important new technology developments we can expect to see in the year to come.
The 5 Tech Trends You Can Count on Next Year
We’re all used to SOC-as-a-service by now, which allows companies of all sizes to outsource their network security operations to qualified third-party providers. In theory, the same benefits should apply when AI-as-a-service becomes more commonplace next year: trusting AI operations to a company with more computing resources to perform them improves service quality while reducing costs. No need to purchase your own expensive infrastructure when you can simply pay-as-you-go to use someone else’s AI platform as needed!
Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have already spent much of the last year developing these services, but with AI becoming ever more versatile it’s safe to say the market for AIaaS will be ripe in 2020. From offering predictive analytics to clients who want better marketing data to image content identification and even AI-enhanced logistics (like using an algorithm to predict traffic patterns for a delivery company), the power these platforms can offer at surprisingly reasonable prices will make them especially attractive to small businesses looking for an edge.
2) Increased Transparency in AI
Here’s the kicker: the more functions AI takes over, the more of our sensitive personal data will be controlled by automated processes — and some people don’t like that. Who can blame them? We’ve all seen at least one Terminator movie. That’s why companies that use AI to collect customer information (which is exactly what happens with predictive analytics) will face additional pressure in the future to show that those operations are performed ethically.
As a result, it’s pretty much a given that 2020 will see new demands for transparency when it comes to the use of artificial intelligence. The EU already has GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) standards, but you can expect similar legislation to arrive in other countries around the world as 2020 gets underway. What does that mean for business owners? Simple: you’re going to want to look for providers who focus on Explainable AI (or XAI for short). XAI is basically an area of study devoted to showing how an AI makes decisions. This, in turn, allows users to understand why an AI would make certain choices, as well as gaining insights into when it’s likely to succeed or fail at a task. As a result, XAI both enhances consumer trust in machine learning technology and can decrease liability for businesses that use it.
3) The Distributed Cloud
Ready for the next step in cloud computing? Well, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s just around the corner and will probably be everywhere next year. Cloud platforms and distributed networks are already commonplace, so it only makes sense to bring them together in 2020. Basically, this just means moving public cloud services to locations other than the cloud provider’s data centers.
Not only is this expected to improve network performance by allowing for lower latency; it’s also going to make cloud functionality much more secure. Decentralized cloud architecture means that transferring and storing information no longer requires it to be duplicated and sent to a data center, which creates more potential targets for hackers. Instead, a file can be stored locally behind a firewall, and accessed exclusively by authorized parties via blockchain. Files can even be broken down into multiple parts that are stored in different blocks at various locations, meaning that even a hacker who successfully infiltrates one block won’t get anything they can use.
4) New Security Measures to Deter AI-Related Cyberattacks
You didn’t think AI was just going to be used by the good guys, did you? Unfortunately, practically every new technology that can be used can also be abused — and AI is no exception. There are already examples of cybercriminals turning AI and machine learning into hacking tools. Take training-data poisoning, for instance: a process by which hackers subvert an AI by feeding it false information. Essentially, they just give the model bad information until it starts to do things it isn’t supposed to do — like change its boundaries or create a backdoor that can be exploited at the hacker’s convenience. Cases of the latter type are especially dangerous, since the model itself still appears to function properly while the backdoor is being used to access the system.
Data poisoning isn’t a new idea. However, most research on data poisoning has previously been limited to studying how it works in offline settings. Data attacks for online learning are still quite poorly understood — but the last two years have seen a substantial increase in the amount of research being done on them, since those are the kinds of data poisoning attacks we’re likely to see more of going forward. With that, we can likely look forward to a variety of new security features and services designed to address AI-related cyberattacks. After all, the many businesses who buy into AI-as-a-Service are going to need protection.
5) 5G Data Networks
We’ve known they were coming for a while now, but 5G networks are still going to revolutionize the degree to which we consume and share data in most industries. Over the next year, it’s projected that we’ll see 20-100 million 5G connections around the world. Data transport speeds are also projected to become up to 10x faster than they were for 4G networks, which means that businesses will likely be sharing a lot more information over them. For example, 5G will be essential for accommodating the vast amounts of data produced by IoT technology, and will also support services that rely on processing that data at the edge of a network instead of at centralized locations (see our section on distributed cloud providers above).
The price of all that functionality is complexity. Put simply, 5G is going to require a lot more infrastructure in the form of compatible devices and antenna to pick up its new frequencies. That also means more maintenance will be necessary to keep said infrastructure operational. Finally, because so much data will be moving through these networks, businesses of all kinds will be under greater pressure to make sure they’re protecting that data for their partners and customers. For that reason, the rise of 5G networks will almost certainly be accompanied by a renewed global focus on cybersecurity standards. Get ready to spend more of your IT budget on cybersecurity, or start looking for a third-party provider who can reliably maintain and monitor your network on a subscription basis.
Get Ahead of the Technology Curve in 2020
You’ve probably noticed that none of the technology mentioned above is coming totally out of nowhere. Cloud computing, distributed networks, and SOC-as-a-Service have all been around for a while, and even 5G networks and artificial intelligence have been creating rumors over the past year or so. It’s how these technologies are expected to link up with each other in 2020 that offers the greatest potential for businesses — and creates risks they need to be aware of in order to stay safe. Use this article to inform your research going forward so that you and your company can enter the new year with complete confidence.
About Anna Hanson
Anna Hanson is the Sales Director at ByteSpeed. Since 2005, she has led their Sales Team with a focus on trending technologies and business development. She considers ByteSpeed her “home away from home” and values creating long-term relationships with partners to best serve clients.
Anna is passionate about giving back to her community and is currently a board member for the Boys and Girls Club of Fargo.
When she’s not at work or volunteering, Anna is at home spending time with her children, husband and the family dog
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