Trends 2024/Technology – Enterra Solutions

Over the past few years, more and more experts have ditched the practice of making predictions and turned to writing about trends. Former President Bill Clinton once advised, “Follow the trend lines, not the headlines.” For business leaders, that remains sound advice. To that end, I scoured numerous articles about technology trends to see if some kind of consensus emerged about which trends will have the greatest impact over the coming year. One stuck out: generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). McKinsey & Company analysts note, “One new trend, generative AI, made a loud entrance and has already shown potential for transformative business impact.”[1] They add, “Generative AI and other foundational models change the AI game by taking assistive technology to a new level, reducing application development time, and bringing powerful capabilities to nontechnical users. Generative AI is poised to add as much as $4.4 trillion in economic value from a combination of specific use cases and more diffuse uses — such as assisting with email drafts — that increase productivity. Still, while generative AI can unlock significant value, firms should not underestimate the economic significance and the growth potential that underlying AI technologies and industrializing machine learning can bring to various industries.” Deloitte’s managing director and chief futurist, Mike Bechtel, agrees. He notes, “Generative AI is ushering in what is perhaps a full-on paradigm shift poised to unlock fundamentally new business opportunities and revolutionize how enterprises organize and operate.”[2] In addition to generative AI, which makes everyone’s list, other oft-mentioned technology trends are found below.

 

 

Web3 and the Metaverse. McKinsey analysts note, “Web3 includes platforms and applications that aim to enable shifts toward a future, decentralized internet with open standards and protocols while protecting digital-ownership rights. It’s not simply cryptocurrency investments, but rather a transformative way to design software for specific purposes. This shift potentially provides users with greater ownership of their data and catalyzes new business models.” Anis Uzzaman, Founder and CEO at Pegasus Tech Ventures, writes, “In 2024, Web 3.0 will gain further traction, opening avenues for new technologies, specifically the metaverse and other virtual worlds built for gaming, social interactions, and business. Web 3.0 will push for the rapid adoption of the metaverse across businesses as users seek a more personalized and rewarding online experience.”[3] Bechtel observes, “Augmented and virtual reality for consumer applications have garnered a lot of attention, but these technologies are making their biggest impact in industrial settings. Companies are using the industrial metaverse to power things like digital twins, spatial simulation, augmented work instructions, and collaborative digital spaces that make factories and businesses safer and more efficient.” Content analyst Parvin Mohmad predicts, “The concept of the metaverse, a virtual universe where people can interact, work, and play, will gain significant traction in 2024. Tech giants and startups alike will invest heavily in developing and expanding metaverse platforms, creating new opportunities in entertainment, education, and remote work. With the adoption of augmented and virtual reality, the metaverse will redefine how we connect and collaborate in a digital world.”[4]

 

Cybersecurity. Mohmad notes, “With the increasing digitization of society, cybersecurity will be a paramount concern in 2024.” Russ Ewell, Founder of Hope Technology Group, E-Soccer, and Digital Scribbler Inc., adds, “In 2024, there will be a stronger emphasis on proactive threat intelligence, AI-driven security solutions, and zero-trust architectures to safeguard digital assets and privacy. These tech trends not only represent individual advancements but also intertwine to create a tech ecosystem that propels innovation to unprecedented heights.”[5]

 

Advanced Connectivity. McKinsey analysts note, “Wireless low-power networks, 5G/6G cellular, Wi-Fi 6 and 7, low-Earth-orbit satellites, and other technologies support a host of digital solutions that can drive growth and productivity across industries today and tomorrow.” Advanced connectivity also includes cloud and edge computing platforms. Tech journalist Mark Haranas reports, “By 2027, Gartner predicts more than 70 percent of enterprises will use industry cloud platforms to accelerate their business initiatives, up from less than 15 percent in 2023.”[6] Ewell adds, “The rollout of 5G networks will continue to expand, facilitating faster data transmission and lower latency. Combined with edge computing, this technology will enable real-time processing and analysis of data closer to the source, empowering IoT devices and paving the way for autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and enhanced connectivity in remote areas.”

 

Quantum Computing. Although universal programmable quantum computers are probably a decade away. Many experts believe we will continue to see breakthroughs this year. For example, Mohmad predicts, “In 2024, we can expect to see significant advancements in quantum computing technologies. It could revolutionize industries like cryptography, materials science, and drug discovery by solving complex problems that were previously impossible for classical computers.” Freelance technology journalist Neil C. Hughes adds, “While quantum computing remains in an academic state today, we’ll see many organizations investing in education and planning around how quantum can benefit their businesses in 2024. Applications in data and computing-rich fields, such as finance and pharmaceutical research, will likely be the first to take interest and invest. Organizations will also need to prepare for more risks from quantum technology. While, on the one hand, it can provide better levels of cybersecurity than what currently exists, it may also have the ability to break security protocols that protect our data.”[7]

 

Sustainable Technology. Uzzaman writes, “Another key trend in 2024 will be the next evolution of sustainable technology. This includes clean technology, green technology, and climate technology. As one of Gartner’s top strategic technology trends for 2024, sustainable technology is a framework of digital solutions that drive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) outcomes. It’s important not to miss out on this trend. Gartner predicts that by 2027, 25 percent of chief information officer compensation will be linked to sustainable technology impact. Harvard Business Review reports that saving the earth from ecological disaster is a $12 trillion opportunity.”[7] McKinsey analysts add, “Climate technologies include carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS); carbon removals; natural climate solutions; circular technologies; alternative proteins and agriculture; water and biodiversity solutions and adaptation; and technologies to track net-zero progress.”

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

Every field of human endeavor will likely see breakthroughs in the coming years. In most cases, however, those breakthroughs will tie into one of the technology trends noted above. If there is one clear trend winner for the coming year, it’s generative AI. Although most of these technologies have a tremendous upside, many companies are learning they also have a downside. Bechtel explains one of the darker sides of artificial intelligence systems. He writes, “With the proliferation of AI tools, it’s now easier than ever for bad actors to impersonate and deceive their targets. Deepfakes are being used to get around voice and facial recognition access controls. They’re also being used in phishing attempts. Security risks are multiplying with every new content-generation tool that hits the internet. However, leading organizations are responding through a mix of policies and technologies designed to identify harmful content and make their employees more aware of the risks.” In other words, defending reality and the truth should be high on corporate agendas.

 

Footnotes
[1] Michael Chui, Mena Issler, Roger Roberts, and Lareina Yee, “McKinsey Technology Trends Outlook 2023,” McKinsey Digital, 20 July 2023.
[2] Mike Bechtel, “Tech Trends 2024: Technology Evolution, Business Revolution,” The Wall Street Journal, 6 December 2023.
[3] Anis Uzzaman, “The 10 Top Technical and Business Trends of 2024,” Inc., 11 December 2023.
[4] Parvin Mohmad, “5 Tech Trends That Will Shape 2024,” Analytics Insight, 19 September 2023.
[5] Russ Ewell, “2024: Innovations on the Horizon,” Medium, 6 January 2024.
[6] Mark Haranas, “Gartner’s 10 Biggest Tech Trends For 2024: AI, GenAI And Machine Customers,” CRN, 17 October 2023.
[7] Neil C. Hughes, “The Tech Trends That Will Shape the World in 2024,” Techopedia, 21 November 2023.

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