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2020 Perspective: 5 Developments for the new decade

BY SERGE MYNGHEER | 7 JAN 2020

1. THE BIG JUMP: IoT

In August this year, it was reported that there are 26.66 billion IoT devices across the world. However, we wrap up 2019 with 7.75 billion people. This means, there are close to four devices per person. The staggering growth of mobile devices is becoming almost incomprehensible.
We need to start asking ourselves: how are these devices connected, what data do they store and who do they serve? There is a whole spectrum of possibilities on the horizon, but with that, also a range of security and usability issues.

The biggest game changer is the famous Internet of Things (IoT). It brings together data from a variety of different devices and forms a connection between both the offline and online world. It integrates technology and daily life in a seamless way. However, the IoT rage often focuses on devices and their functionalities, but not on their greater meaning for the world we live in. In this light, we strongly agree with the quote: “It’s not about things, it’s about service.” It’s exciting that we can install a little button that can track the heat, humidity, electric current, and many more aspects of a boiler. But what we do with this data, is what the IoT movement is really about. What if the button gives a signal to the manufacturer when there’s inconsistency in the electric current, and he gets an automated message that the firmware should be updated? The client gets a call, the manufacturer updates the boiler, and accidents are avoided. Here we see the true use of IoT: automating services.

2. MOVING BACK TO THE EDGE

Over the last couple of years, we have seen the massive rise of the cloud. Everything is sent, analyzed and stored in it. It was even predicted that this technology would be the death of the PC. However, we see that, no matter how many mobile devices we use, some tasks are still done solely with a traditional computer. Even more, it seems to form the center of our connected devices.

So, are we having second thoughts about the cloud? Even though it has immense benefits, such as sustainable data storage, people are beginning to see some of the downsides of this technology, most importantly regarding privacy and security issues. With moving data constantly to a shared environment, the risk of losing or compromising data becomes significantly larger. So, people are going back to placing the power into their endpoints. For example, we are starting to see cameras with their own facial recognition software, rather than sending the data across the cloud where the algorithm analyzes and sends the results back.

3. INTERNET OF ME

Nowadays, we can no longer open a website without some pop-up asking permission for cookies. The amount of personal data that is being stored is immense and people are aware of this more than ever. We no longer accept our data being collected without anything happening with it. If we have to give up personal data, we expect something in return.

We need to ensure the data from our customers are used to personalize their internet experience, so they don’t have to fill in the same information form for the 5728th time. Moreover, we need to start integrating the online data with the offline world. When you have given your home address to your local theatre’s website, the local library should also know you are a resident when you go to rent a book.

4. SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY

As stated in Part 1, THE BIG JUMP, there are nearly four times as many mobile devices as there are people on this earth. With this mass of devices and gadgets going around, companies lost control over their mobile equipment and the data stored on it. They no longer know what information circles outside of their organization. Secondly, it’s becoming impossible to keep track of what happens with old devices or with the accessories of an employee after leaving the company.

More than ever, there is a need for lifecycle management of the different devices in a business. The organization needs to take back control of the number of devices, their whereabouts, and the data stored on them. This way, devices are put in a sustainable lifecycle and data is stored safely, making it easy for the employees to move around comfortably and safely in and outside of the organization.

5. LIFELONG STUDENTS

In 2010 it was stated that the top 10 in-demand jobs did not exist in 2004. This shows the immense pace of innovation and the need for creating new types of professions, with each a whole new skillset. The demand for brand new knowledge will only grow with the need of blockchain developers, commercial drone pilots, and cybersecurity project managers. This gives the opportunity for employees everywhere to change their skills and work their way into a unique and cutting-edge field. This gives a boom in personal development and in flexibility for companies to place their employees in jobs that truly fit their preferences and competences.

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