Technology trends that will shape the industry in 2018

Technology trends that will shape the industry in 2018
As existing technologies reach maturity, unforeseen developments arrive ever more quickly, and innovations make the leap from consumer applications to business (and vice versa) it’s imperative that we constantly seek to find those that have the potential to add value to our own business and those of our customers. I’ve been working with my colleagues to identify some trends that we think will have an impact on our business and industry.

1. A move towards the edge

Two trends of recent years that have become familiar – cloud computing and the Internet of Things – have delivered undeniable benefits to businesses and consumers alike. But they also come with implications: namely the huge increase in the amount of data being transferred from connected devices to the data center for processing and storage, and the associated bandwidth needed. Edge computing alleviates this issue by performing data processing at the "edge" of the network, near the source of the data. Doing so significantly reduces the bandwidth needed between sensors and devices and the data center. A further drive towards edge computing relates to potential concerns around data integrity and privacy: anonymizing and creating encrypted data within the device at the edge before it is transferred to the data center will be a likely response to these concerns.

2. Deep and machine learning

We have now reached a stage whereby the full benefits of deep learning architectures and machine learning can start to be realized: we have huge sets of data to analyze, the processing power available to do so within reasonable timeframes, sophisticated algorithms, and a weight of use cases to learn from. When some of the most impressive demonstrations of the application of deep learning have been related to image interpretation, speech recognition, and decision support, the potential for analytics in the safety and security sector are obvious.

At a relatively basic level, deep learning applications will improve video motion detection, facial recognition (an area where Axis partner Herta is doing some leading work), individual tracking and suppression of false alarms. It will aid system design, configuration, optimization and device management. Beyond this, as applications develop, there is significant opportunity for predictive analytics leading to incident prevention: from terrorist incidents to slip and fall accidents; from traffic issues to shoplifting.

It is still early days, however. Development is currently fast and unpredictable, and the demands on processing power are massive, but the potential for deep learning, which may ultimately lead to autonomous systems, is huge.
 
Johan Paulsson, CTO, Axis Communications

3. Personalization vs. privacy

Imagine a retail environment where a customer’s face is recognized upon entering a store, and then offers are pushed to their mobile device based on previous purchases, preferences or even their recent browsing history. But then, just because something can be done doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be, and this example immediately highlights increasing concerns around privacy, and how personal data is being used by businesses and other organisations.

Legislation is being created to address these concerns. In the European Union, the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – the deadline for compliance with which is May 2018 – will unify the protection of data for individuals within the EU, wherever that data is held or used.

But whether motivated by legislation or simply wanting to do the right thing by customers and citizens, balancing increased personalization with the protection of an individual’s data and privacy will be a tightrope all organizations will walk this coming year.

4. Platforms to realize the full benefits of IoT

Today, the IoT has reached a point where to scale, collect and analyze data, and manage the network of connected devices effectively, it is crucial to use a scalable architecture. Such a so-called IoT platform allows equipment from different node vendors to coexist and easily exchange information to form smart systems using existing network infrastructure. There are numerous companies, both well-established providers of technology and new market entrants, enabling platforms to support IoT devices, and the next year will see further maturation. However, what will also be important for the future will be new international or de facto standards to enable interoperability between the different IoT platforms, and which will support true vendor-agnostic systems.

5. The Blockchain: more than Bitcoin

For many, blockchain and Bitcoin have become synonymous. In reality, they are quite separate and while Bitcoin uses blockchain as its foundation, the potential for blockchain to verify almost anything that has a value is almost limitless. As an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way, the coming year will start to see blockchain being tested in multiple applications across numerous sectors.

In our industry, given that blockchain enables the authentication of any content, blockchain could be used to verify video content from multiple sources – such as public mobile phones and law enforcement body-worn cameras – for use within forensic investigations. Beyond video data, blockchain could also be used to verify the authenticity of devices connected to the camera network.

6. Virtual assistants and augmented reality leap into business

The last year has seen significant consumer adoption of virtual assistants. Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana have all gained momentum as technology to help people manage their daily lives, and forthcoming technologies such as Facebook M will only build on this. It is inevitable that these same technologies will start to find their way into the business environment, as consumers expect the same levels of technological help at work as they now get at home. Particularly for the providers of any sophisticated or complex technology-based products and services, virtual support in specification, installation, configuration, and management will become more than simply expected; it will become an imperative.

So, there you have it: 6 trends we think will shape 2018. Let’s see how accurate they are!
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