What tech convergence means for businesses

Next year we'll see the convergence of numerous game-changing technologies. Here's how that will impact your business.
20 December 2018

Now is the time to act. Source: Shutterstock

2018 was dominated by tech buzzwords such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G.

On their own, many of the capabilities of these technologies in their current form have been exaggerated. But the real value can be obtained by exploring how they all work together.

As we dare to look into our immediate future and the opportunities and challenges waiting ahead, we can see a more efficient and secure world is beginning to take shape.

IoT is already evolving into the internet of everything (IoE) where we can attach a sensor to almost anything and it will provide real-time data streams.

With the arrival of 5G speeds next year, we can expect a further deluge of data being continuously transferred in a variety of speeds and formats around the world.

But it will be a combination of AI and machine learning that can transform this raw data into contextually-rich information and finally achieve a single view of data. Meanwhile, blockchain technology enables businesses to store vast information and securely store it in a way that also promotes trust and transparency.

It also removes many of the security vulnerability concerns that have previously prevented AI and IoT from progressing forward.

As these technologies begin to converge, we are starting to see a new ecosystem forming on our journey to Web 3.0. But, in storing and guarding digital records, it’s blockchain that is making this new alliance possible. Traditionally, every connected device represented a security vulnerability.

When you throw in the fact that AI is making decisions rather than humans, it’s clear that something needed to change to bring these technologies together. Blockchain technology is filling this void by creating secure and scalable platforms that are enabling businesses to step back and see the bigger picture.

Try to imagine alternative solutions where IoT sensors capture information and send it in real time using 5G speeds. AI and machine learning then provide a single view of contextually-rich, real-time data that is securely stored on blockchains. This realization will be responsible for compelling new business cases and projects over the next twelve months.

2019 will continue to highlight how we are living in a digital age of exponential change. But it will require a shift in culture and mindset to succeed. There is an argument that businesses have been guilty of not thinking big enough. If every application, device, and service is all extracting valuable insights, imagine the power of a single view on all that data.

By unifying all of your customer data, the dream of real-time personalization becomes much more than just another pipe dream. Every interaction becomes an opportunity to improve the customer experience.

These are just a few reasons why leaders that are looking to secure an early competitive advantage. The emergence of a variety of new tools and resources can help any business solve their customers’ most significant problems and raise their expectations in the process.

It’s kind of ironic that tech buzzwords such as AI, IoT, machine learning, 5G, and blockchain are beginning to fall under the giant umbrella of a buzzword that has been resurrected from the nineties. But it’s the convergence of these game-changing technologies that will transform businesses across multiple industries all over the world.

We are still in the early stages of this digital transformation journey, and it’s not about fueling the hype of emerging tech. I believe that 2019 will enable everyone to take a step back and learn how all of these new technologies are beginning to work together at an exponential rate and see beyond the buzzwords.

After years of being burned by the ‘garbage in, and garbage out’ problems when dealing with big data, a group of technologies will finally start delivering on their promises. The eureka moment will appear when business leaders grasp the fact that AI needs data, IoT needs intelligence, and both of these are yearning for more secure and transparent marketplaces.

What will the convergence of all these technologies mean for your business in 2019? That will depend entirely if you can shake off the legacy hardware and mindset that has been holding you back in 2018, and start to get serious about the transformation of your internal processes.

If you are struggling to keep up with the pace of exponential change now, remember that it will also never be this slow again. Consider this message a wake-up call that something big is on the horizon.