Autonomous vehicles. Cloud computing. Connected medicine. Data breaches.
These inventions, use cases and challenges have been key tech topics for several years now. And all of the above are poised to undergo significant change in the year ahead.
These likely changes are driven by a combination of recent learnings, technological advancements and better organization. And that’s mostly – but not all – good.
So, what can we expect in these important areas in 2020? Here are my predictions.
The road ahead for autonomous cars becomes longer and more limited
If you think vehicles that drive themselves sound like science fiction, you’re not alone. Many of us still think that autonomous cars sound pretty far out. And, in a sense, they are.
As we all know, autonomous vehicles exist in the real world today. However, that doesn’t mean we’ll see them out in force on Main Street any time soon. Instead, the majority of autonomous vehicles successfully coming to market will have a narrow scope and reach.
Figuring out how to safely put autonomous vehicles on the road is a huge challenge. So, it’s understandable that such efforts might hit a few bumps in the road. But autonomous vehicles have faced much bigger problems than anticipated, including a fatal collision.
As a result, autonomous vehicles are much further out than initially predicted. Because of that, we’ll see a shift in how they’re used. They’ll be limited to certain routes, at certain speeds and used only for set distances. Much like a ski shuttle, they’ll be on a very specific track and tasked only with a small set of responsibilities.
The Boomerang effect drives greater multi-cloud, multi-deployment adoption
IDC estimates worldwide public cloud spending of $229 billion this year and nearly $500 billion in 2023. And a Gartner survey indicates 81% of public cloud users work with two or more providers. But the firm advises enterprises against jumping straight from on-premises to multicloud. Nuances between platforms make it difficult to build services in more than one, it says, so businesses should go slow to give in-house staff time to climb the learning curve.
I expect to see greater multicloud adoption in the year ahead, despite challenges. But I also believe 2020 will bring a greater focus on technologies that cater to on-premises and private cloud environments in addition to public ones. We can credit that to the boomerang effect.
Just a couple years ago many organizations were planning to go 100% public cloud. And, in some cases, these businesses moved a number of their applications to the cloud. During that process, many discovered that the public cloud didn’t always meet all of their needs. Security issues, having to rewrite applications and other challenges brought about this realization. As a result, certain apps boomeranged back to on-premises deployments.
Nowadays, organizations are increasingly embracing multi-cloud, multi-deployment environments. They’re deploying applications because they offer the best technology, and because they’re secure – regardless of whether they’re on-premises or in the cloud.
It’s my opinion that we will continue to see a rise in business applications that mimic cloud environments – even if they technically don’t fall under the public cloud umbrella. Organizations will build infrastructure and architect in a way that allows them to stretch and expand applications, and turn on and turn off workloads. These environments will look strikingly similar to the public cloud but will be built on-premises or in a private cloud.
Connected medicine makes more house calls
A few years ago, WIRED published an article titled “Healthcare 2020: The e-Doctor Will See You Now.” It noted the likely decrease of paper-based processes in the medical profession. It said patients would take greater control of their health care over time. And it noted that wearables would monitor the health of patients, wherever they might be.
These trends have already emerged to some extent. Look for them to become even more prevalent in the year ahead.
In 2020, we’ll see large medical devices, like breathing machines, that have traditionally been available only in medical facilities, make their way into homes. These devices will be smaller, internet-connected and available for at-home use because they are network-attached. Being able to access these machines at home will save both the medical industry and consumers time and money. They also hold the potential to improve health and save lives.
Data breaches continue to be a major challenge
More connected devices and migration of personal data to connected systems also increase risk. That’s why 2020 will see just as many – if not more – data breaches than 2019’s tally.
Criminals have come to realize that data breaches are a potential cash cow. Consequently, we’ve gone from the lone hacker to organized criminal conglomerates seeking out personally identifiable information (PII).
Medical data, which provides a value treasure trove of information, is particularly attractive to bad actors. Reports indicate full medical records can bring up to $1,000 on the dark web. That’s far more than just credit card information or social security numbers alone. Unauthorized parties can get to medical records by hacking wearable and implanted devices to forge a path to a health system with patients’ electronic health records.
There are several other factors adding to the tenuousness of the overall cybersecurity challenge. They include human error and businesses struggling to find the balance between “just enough” and “too much” security.
Organizations need security and privacy controls, but not so many that they drive away consumers. Finding that sweet spot is a challenge. Those organizations that err on the side of too little security will find themselves in the data breach crosshairs in the year ahead.