Monday, December 18, 2017

Dell Technologies 2018 Predictions: Entering the Next Era of Human Machine Partnerships

As the years go by, emerging technologies are imminently shaping the future, subsequently affecting the overall human experience in all aspects of life and civilisation. This was evident in a human machine partnerships research led by Dell Technologies and Institute for the Future (IFTF) that saw the impacts and implications of technologies on society and on the workplace.

The research forecasted that the economic ecosystem entering the next era of human machine partnership, and that between now and 2030 humans and machines will work in closer concert with each other, transforming the lives of everyone.

Humans have worked with machines for centuries, but this entirely new phase is characterized by even greater efficiency, unity and possibility than ever before. Emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and advances in Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing - made possible through exponential developments in software, analytics, and processing power - are augmenting and accelerating this direction. Given this dizzying pace of progress, Dell Technologies shares a look at what’s coming down the pike next.

Prediction 1: AI will do the ‘thinking tasks’ at speed
Over the next few years, AI will change the way how time is spent for acting on data. Businesses will harness AI to do data-driven “thinking tasks” for them, significantly reducing the time they spend scoping, debating, scenario planning and testing every new innovation. The APJ region, emerging as the leader in innovation in artificial intelligence, will start to see real examples of these benefits becoming a business reality.

Some theorists claim AI will replace jobs, but it may also create new ones, unleashing new opportunities for humans. There will be a new type of IT professional focused on AI training and fine-tuning. APJ will become the home of these skills, with AI dominating the skillsets of future talent. AI’s thinking tasks will be prominent in healthcare, agriculture and financial services. The challenge will be for organizations to prove the business value of AI technologies and make sure they have the right infrastructure and talent in place.

Prediction 2: Embedding the IQ of Things
Starting in 2018, great strides will be taken in embedding near-instant intelligence in IoT-enhanced cities, organizations, homes, and vehicles. Humans will evolve into ‘digital conductors’ of the technology and environments surrounding us. Technology will function as an extension of ourselves. Every object will become smart and enable us to live smarter lives.

APJ is ground zero for IoT innovation and implementation. Investments are increasing and factors like government initiatives and 5G advancement are driving forces – markets like Japan, South Korea, Singapore and ANZ stand out for their readiness because of these factors. However, barriers to IoT success are consistent globally: collaboration will be needed to overcome barriers like inconsistent standards, and a fragmented technology landscape, and the need to ready infrastructure.

Prediction 3: We’ll don AR headsets
It also won’t be long until the lines between ‘real’ reality and augmented reality begin to blur. AR at work will bring together people and humans, allowing people to interact with data in ways they never have before. APJ will be the test bed for these applications, as it starts its journey to dominating AR innovation and application. 

VR will undoubtedly transform the entertainment and gaming space in the near term, thanks to the immersive experiences it affords, but smart bets are on AR becoming the de facto way of maximizing human efficiency and leveraging the ‘tribal knowledge’ of an evolving workforce.

Prediction 4:  A deeper relationship with customers
Dell Technologies’ Digital Transformation Index shows that 52% percent of businesses in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region think they may become obsolete within 3-5 years and 83 percent feel threatened by digital start-ups. It’s never been more important to put the customer experience first.

Over the next year, with predictive analytics, machine learning (ML) and AI at the forefront, companies will better understand and serve customers at, if not before the point of need. APJ consumers are already demanding: digitally-savvy and embracing mobile-driven interactions, they are also adopting technology driven interactions like alternative payment methods. In fact, much of the innovation in payments on a global scale is being driven by industry leaders in this region, and consumer demand for this will increase exponentially. 2018 will see brands being pushed to meet those consumer expectations.

Prediction 5: Bias check will become the next spell check
Over the next decade, emerging technologies such as VR, AI, will help people find and act on information without interference from emotions or external prejudice, while empowering them to exercise human judgment where appropriate.

In the short-term, AI will be applied to hiring and promotion procedures to screen for conscious and unconscious bias. Meanwhile VR will increasingly be used as an interview tool to ensure opportunities are awarded on merit alone; for example, by masking a prospective employee’s true identity with an avatar. 

Prediction 6: Media & Entertainment will break new ground with e-sports
In 2018, a vast number of e-sports players will be sitting behind screens or wearing VR headsets to battle it out in a high-definition computer-generated universe. As hundreds of millions of players and viewers tune-in, e-sports will go mainstream. APJ is already on the way to realizing this change, as we head towards the 2022 Asian Games where e-sports will be a medal event. China, Hong Kong and South Korea are already making headway with events and investments. Singapore is also setting its sights on home-grown e-sports professionals with a training academy for future e-sports champions.

In the future, every business will be a technology business, and our leisure time will become a connected experience.

Prediction 7: We’ll journey toward the “mega-cloud” 
In 2018, businesses are overwhelmingly moving toward a multi-cloud approach, taking advantage of the value of all models from public to private, hosted, managed and SaaS. However, as more applications and workloads move into various clouds, the proliferation of cloud siloes will become an inevitability, thus inhibiting the organization’s ability to fully exploit data analytics and AI initiatives. This may also result in applications and data landing in the wrong cloud leading to poor outcomes. APJ organizations will still be challenged to address their infrastructure to address immediate challenges but still have to keep a view of future applications.

The “mega cloud” will then emerge, which will weave together multiple private and public clouds to behave as a coherent, holistic system with a federated, intelligent view of an entire IT environment. Multi-cloud innovations in networking (to move data between clouds), storage (to place data in the right cloud), compute (to utilize the best processing and acceleration for the workloads), orchestration (to link networking, storage and compute together across clouds) must be created to make the mega cloud possible, and, as a new opportunity, customers will have to incorporate AI and ML to bring automation and insight to a new level from this next generation IT environment.

Prediction 8: The year to sweat the small stuff
In this increasingly interconnected world, reliance on third parties has never been greater. Organizations are highly interconnected systems that exist as part of something even bigger—the ripples of chaos spread farther and faster now that technology connects us in astonishing ways.

Due to the increasingly interwoven relationship between humans and machines, small subtle failures can lead to mega failures. Hence, next year will be a year of action for multinational corporations, further inspired by the onslaught of new regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will impact organizations across APJ. Prioritizing the implementation of cybersecurity tools and technologies to effectively protect data and prevent threats will be a growing imperative. APJ organizations will be driven to increase security budgets, and will also look at business-wide efforts such as employee awareness. IoT security will also to make it to the top of the list of security spend priorities in the region, to address potential issues from edge to core to cloud as innovation in IoT picks up pace.

About Dell Technologies

Dell Technologies is a unique family of businesses that provides the essential infrastructure for organizations to build their digital future, transform IT and protect their most important asset: information. The company services customers of all sizes across 180 countries – ranging from 98 percent of the Fortune 500 to individual consumers – with the industry’s most comprehensive and innovative portfolio from the edge to the core to the cloud.

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