OK, here goes... I'm doing it! I'm making my predictions for the top trends in enterprise technology for 2020.
And yes, I know that the tradition is to make these predictions before the start of the new year, but I'm getting off on a technicality. I'm doing it before the start of the Chinese New Year! I'm still ahead of the January 25th deadline for the start of the Year of the Rat!
Now, unless your name is Nostradamus, making any sort of prediction is a risky business. Just check out this sample of predictions that, in hindsight, may have exhibited more self-confidence than foresight...
- 1800: “Rail travel at high speed is not possible, because passengers unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.”
- Dr. Dionysius Lardner, Professor of Natural Philosophy & Astronomy, University College London.
- 1876: “This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.”
- Western Union internal memo.
- 1916: “The cinema is little more than a fad. It’s canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage.”
- Charlie Chaplin, actor, producer, director and studio founder.
- 1977: There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”
- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corporation.
- 1995: “The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper…”
- Clifford Stoll, Newsweek article entitled “The Internet? Bah!”
There's many more of these online on a website called BoredPanda. (BTW, I thought BoredPanda perfectly described me when I recently came across this article at 30,000 feet, en route from Basel to Cincinnati. A long flight and airplane WiFi is a bad mix.)
Anyway, the point is that you can risk your reputation when you make predictions.
Fortunately for me, I have no reputation!
My Top 5 Enterprise Trends For 2020:
1. AI takes off in manufacturing.
Artificial intelligence use cases in the enterprise have so far flourished in the areas like security, data management, personalized marketing, selling and chat bots. In the industrial sector, AI use cases in manufacturing have been under-weight. Until now. I see startups and small providers generating some incredible use cases.
2. Knowledge graphs climb up the hype curve.
We know the biggest challenge in anything related to analytics and AI is data prep. That's where knowledge graphs come in. They are able to "graph" out relationships between different data stores and help make sense of data without endless time being spent on prep. It's a very exciting area.
3. Low-code no-code solutions.
Like knowledge graphs which democratizes data, this one democratizes programming. It allows citizen developers to drag and drop components and create programs themselves. The concept has existed for several years, but low-code no-code platforms have matured now.
4. A new era of internet solutions emerges.
Starlink, the SpaceX satellites, which will provide high-speed internet from space, will have 1,500 satellites in orbit by the of the year. The plan is to get to as many as 42,000! Between 5G and the promise of reliable internet over land, sea and air anywhere in the world, get ready to see some new internet applications.
5. Blockchain use in finance, security and supply chain starts to go mainstream.
Both large institutions and governments have invested heavily in making blockchain ready for security and financial transactions by 2020. We'll see mainstream use of blockchain platforms in leading financial institutions and in China, the US and digital governments in Singapore, UAE, Latvia and others.
So, how confident am I of these trends? Obviously, confident enough to document them, although realistic enough to couch them in fine-print terms and conditions.
Seriously, these are all fairly safe and linear projections. I believe future-thinking enterprises will track these and use many of these. What can make these projections false isn't the known trends. It's newer technology, economic or military surprises, and a ton of stuff that nobody knows.