1. Artificial Intelligence(AI)
I believe that AI is a major trend today as many companies are trying to stay ahead of the curve by investing into research of AI technologies and implementing it in their businesses or selling it to other companies that may use it in their business such as an online store that may use AI technology in order to recommend products that a particular customer may be interested in. With AI in its infant stage it may take a while before it begins to behave as a human, having the ability to learn, solve problems, show creativity, have perception or even social intelligence.
AI can be split into 2 types:
Narrow AI and General AI.
Narrow AI is commonly seen in computers today. They have been taught specific tasks or they have learned how to carry out specific tasks. An example of this is Siri from Apple devices.
General AI on the other hand is more flexible where it is capable of learning just about anything. This is very close to human intelligence(Heath 2018).
2. Machine Learning
According to (Faggella 2018), “Machine Learning is the science of getting computers to learn and act like humans do, and improve their learning over time in autonomous fashion, by feeding them data and information in the form of observations and real-world interactions.”
There are many different types of machine learning and they are grouped into 3 categories which are unsupervised learning, semi-supervised learning and supervised learning(Faggella 2018).
There are a number of methods to getting machines to learn such as using decision trees, clustering, to layers of artificial neural networks. This all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish and the type of data that you are able to feed it(Faggella 2018).
I find that machine learning is quite fascinating as they are able to find patterns in big data that perhaps a human being would have not found.
3. Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality is an enhanced version of reality where live direct or indirect views of physical real-world environments are overlaid with computer-generated images over a user’s view of the real-world, thus enhancing one’s current perception of reality(RealityTechnologies.com, 2018).
I think this is a hot trend because of how we’re using AR for gaming and also utility apps such having the ability to place virtual furniture in a. real environment. I think this revolutionises a lot of processes and I see it becoming a new way that brands in south Africa can promote their brands, so clients can have a more immersive experience.
4. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions(VirtualRealitySociety.org.uk, 2018). VR is not a new technology, it is continuously improving and organisation are seeing how it can be used in education and training. In South Africa Virtual Reality is becoming more and more apparent as businesses are trying to differentiate how they demonstrate and educate potential customers about their products. I have once witnessed how a whiskey brand was able to demonstrate how their whiskey is made, from where they source their raw materials, how its distilled, to how its aged. It was quite an interesting experience. People only get to see just a final product and some may find it interesting to know how it’s made which makes customers have more of an appreciation for the product.
5. Big Data
According to SAS Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what organisations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analysed for insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves(SAS, 2018). I think that Big Data has been a major buzz word lately. Organisations are now becoming more focused on getting data and analysing that data as data is key in all organisations.
6. Cloud Computing and Advanced Cloud Services
Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing services , from applications to storage and processing power, typically over the internet and on a pay-as-you-go basis.
According to Fin24.com, Cloud computing has taken off drastically across Africa’s major markets. The use of cloud has more than doubled in the last 5 years(Brown, 2018). I believe that many South African companies are able to stay competitive due to accessibility to knowledge and skills from around the world. Highly skilled people from overseas are able to assist local companies to get their cloud computing up to standards. With AWS now having a base in South Africa, it may bring a lot of tough competition to local cloud computing service providers. I think that cloud computing service providers may find it beneficial to work with AWS as they are seen to be the best cloud services provider.
7. Deep Learning
Deep learning is a machine learning technique that teaches computers to do what comes naturally to humans: learn by example. Deep learning is a key technology behind driverless cars, enabling them to recognize a stop sign, or to distinguish a pedestrian from a lamppost. It is the key to voice control in consumer devices like phones, tablets, TVs, and hands-free speakers. Deep learning is getting lots of attention lately and for good reason. It’s achieving results that were not possible before.
Rouse (2018) describes Cybersecurity as the protection of internet-connected systems, including hardware, software and data, from cyberattacks.
In a computing context, security comprises cybersecurity and physical security, both are used by enterprises to protect against unauthorized access to data centers and other computerized systems. Information security, which is designed to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data, is a subset of cybersecurity.
9. Internet of Things- and Machine to Machine communication
Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig. As I mentioned, if it has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT. The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices… That’s a lot of connections (some even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion). The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people). The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things(Morgan, 2014).
10. Gamification of Training and Education
According to Holloway, Gamification is the use of game design and mechanics to enhance non-game contexts by increasing participation, engagement, loyalty and competition. These methods can include points, leaderboards, direct competitions and stickers or badges, and can be found in industries as varied as personal healthcare, retail, training and, of course, education.
Some facts on Gamification:
Brown, J. (2018). The gamification of education. Retrieved from https://www.fin24.com/Companies/ICT/spend-on-cloud-computing-is-increasing-in-sa-kenya-and-nigeria-20180420
Faggella, D. (2018). What is Machine Learning? Retrieved from https://www.techemergence.com/what-is-machine-learning/
Heath, N. (2018). What is AI? Everything you need to know about Artificial Intelligence. Retrieved from https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-ai-everything-you-need-to-know-about-artificial-intelligence/
Holloway, S. Gamification in Education. Retrieved from https://tophat.com/blog/gamification-education-class/
Morgan, J. (2014). A Simple Explanation Of ‘The Internet Of Things. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2014/05/13/simple-explanation-internet-things-that-anyone-can-understand/#117ee71f1d09
RealityTechnologies.com. (2018). The Ultimate Guide to Augmented Reality (AR) Technology. Retrieved from https://www.realitytechnologies.com/augmented-reality/
Rouse, M. (2018). Cybersecurity. Retrieved from https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/cybersecurity
SAS. (2018). Big Data. Retrieved from https://www.sas.com/en_za/insights/big-data/what-is-big-data.html
VirtualRealitySociety.org.uk. (2018). What is Virtual Reality? Retrieved from https://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality/what-is-virtual-reality.html