Key Trends for APAC Technology Market in 2018: IoT Leads

IoT platforms are rapidly becoming a strategic imperative in almost every industry as they deliver helpful insights to support digital transformation.

As the year comes near its end, a wave of change is expected with the new beginning. Although the only thing constant is change, IT professionals have geared-up to give way to the trends of 2018. The year 2017 saw a lot of new technologies becoming a part of the daily life after demonetisation and Digital India program began. For 2018, alongside nine other trends, the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) platforms is expected to lead significantly in enterprise IT. Hubert Yoshida, CTO, and Russell Skingsley, CTO-Asia Pacific from Hitachi Vantara collaboratively predict these 10 IT trends: 

1. Adoption of IoT Platforms

It has not been long now that IT has become in-charge of smartphones, TV sets, washing machines, toasters, coffee makers, and many other innumerable devices. IoT platforms are rapidly becoming a strategic imperative in almost every industry as they deliver helpful insights to support digital transformation. IT must work closely with the operations side of the businesses to focus on specific business needs and define the scope of an IoT project. 

“Enterprises should look for an IoT platform that offers an open, flexible architecture that simplifies integration with complimentary technologies and provides an extensible “foundry” on which to build a variety of industry applications that companies need to design, build, test, and deploy quickly and with minimal hassle,” says Skingsley.

2. Smart Object Storage 

Enterprises in India started their digital transformation this year with the Digital India program. The initial problem that they faced was the ability to access their data. While object storage can store massive amounts of unstructured data and provide metadata management and search capability, the ability to be context-aware is missing. Object storage now has the ability to be “smart” with software that can search for and read content in multiple structured and unstructured data silos and analyze it for cleansing, formatting and indexing.  

3. AI and Data Analytics

A growth in analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) is expected very evidently in 2018. According to IDC, revenue growth from information-based products will double the rest of the product and services portfolio for a third of Fortune 500 companies by the end of 2017. “AI became mainstream with consumer products like Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri, and Hitachi believes that it is the collaboration of AI and humans that will bring real benefits to society,” says Skingsley. 

4. Video Analytics

Video can provide unique functions like egomotion – 3D motion used in autonomous robot navigation – behavior analysis and other forms of situational awareness. Video content analytics will be a “third eye” for greater insight, productivity and efficiency in a number of domains beyond public safety. Algorithms that automatically detect and determine temporal, spatial and relational events combined with other IoT information, like cell phone GPS and social media feeds, to apply to a wide range of businesses like retail, healthcare, automotive, manufacturing, education and entertainment. 

5. Agile Development of Software Methodologies 

IT organizations are adopting agile methodology as digital transformation is all about efficiency and teamwork to drive eficient and more relevant business outcomes. IT organizations have a legacy of silo operations with server, network, storage, database, virtualization, and now cloud administrators passing change notices back and forth to deliver a business outcome. In fact, many would argue that IT was more focused on IT outcomes and not business outcomes. 

“Agile provides us with a nimble approach, where small cross functional teams, with a clear direction and strategic milestones, can iterate through short sprints to ensure alignment across the board, communicate effectively, and focus on problem solving and achieving our common business goals,” says Yoshida. He also noted that 2018 will see more enterprises move to agile and DevOps in software development, with agile methodologies being used across the enterprise. 

6. Data Governance 2.0

New challenges in data governance will be witnessed in 2018 which will require organizations to implement new frameworks. The biggest challenge will come from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will give EU residents more control over their personal data. This regulation will drive up costs and increase the risks involved in collecting and storing personal data. Violations of the GDPR could face fines totaling up to $21.75 million, or 4% of EU’s total annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year.

“Previous data governance was based on the processing of data and metadata. New data governance must now consider data context. If a user invokes their right to be forgotten, a company must be able to locate that individual’s data, eradicate it and provide proof that this has been done. GDPR’s mandatory breach notification of within 72 hours also means organizations face a very short window to respond. In 2018, data governance frameworks will need to be updated to include content intelligence tools,” comments Skingsley. 

7. Container-Based Virtualization 

Container-based virtualization, also called operating system virtualization, is the latest virtualization technology that will gain wider acceptance in 2018. Considered a new generation of virtual machines (VMs), which abstracted an entire device including the operating system (OS), containers consist only of the application and all the dependencies that the application needs. 

8. Blockchain 

According to Yoshida, blockchain will be in the news in 2018 for two reasons: 

First is the use of cryptocurrencies, which saw growing acceptance this year as a stable currency in countries that were plagued by hyperinflation. Japan and Singapore are also indicating that they will create flat-denominated cryptocurrencies in 2018 that will be run by banks and managed by regulators. 

Second is the growing use of blockchain in the financial sector for routine processes like internal regulatory functions, customer documentation and regulatory filings. Interbank fund transfers via blockchain ledgers are also expected to expand in 2018, and other sectors will begin to see prototypes with smart contracts and identity services for healthcare, governments, food safety and counterfeit goods. 

9. Biometric Authentication

Biometric Authentication already became an important part of use after the Aadhaar got mandatory or all Indian citizens. The increasing numbers of passwords required by today’s consumers will also support the shift towards biometric authentication in 2018. “In reality, most of us use the same password for the accounts that we don’t think are very important. Unfortunately, hackers also know this, so once they discover a password, they will use it to successfully hack other accounts. Businesses are coming to the realization that proxies that represent our identity - like passwords, ATM cards, and pin numbers - even with two-factor authentication, are hackable,” says Skingsley. “Smart phone vendors and financial companies are moving to solve this problem by using biometrics which represent the real user.” he added.

10. Co-Creation of Value

Traditional business thinking starts with the premise that the producer autonomously determines value through its choice of products and services. Consumers have typically been consulted through market research and were passively involved in the process of creating solutions and value. In 2018, we will witness a shift in value creation, away from producer-centric, solution-value creation to a co-creation paradigm of value creation.


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