Every year since 2001, MIT Technology Review has released a top 10 list of breakthrough technology. Among the breakthroughs that made this year’s list were metal 3D printing, sensing cities, AI cloud, pixel buds, zero knowledge proof and using quantum computing to model a small molecule made of three atoms. Making the list of the World Economics Forum’s 10 emerging technologies for 2018 were augmented reality, AI-led molecular design, plasmonic materials and electroceuticals.
Meanwhile, as I mentioned in my recent blog post, the innovation debuted at AWS re:Invent 2018 included satellite data analytics and intelligent robotics. And at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) just a couple of weeks ago, the most highly touted innovations were a climbing car, smartphones that fold, rollable and modular TVs. and the most ambitious gaming laptops ever.
These technological developments have me thinking a lot about what this means for technology in 2019. What are these trends telling us? Well, if you read the articles about them carefully, many say something along the lines of “well, this technology has been around for years, but what’s different about this version is that it’s lighter, smarter, better, more effective or a remake of an old design.” Let me explain in more detail.
Everything on the top 2018 technology lists requires reliable, easily accessed, and highly available core systems, computers, software and databases. However, these can’t be the applications, systems, computers and software of yesteryear. Applications that work on foldable smartphones or that parse the data from sensors on thousands of city streets to improve planning must be built differently.
Yes, we’ve started down that path, but we have to step up the game. These apps must be nimble, changeable, and exploit the API economy to link up with other apps, systems and more. The systems where they live need to facilitate these characteristics and should, for the most part, be in the cloud. The applications also need to be comprised of services and components and deployed in serverless technology like containers. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) should be used to automate mundane rules-based business processes, and progressive web apps should alleviate the need to concern ourselves with native capability.
AI molecular-led design and atom modeling require quantum computers that use qubits instead of binary code. The fact that Intel announced its smallest and fastest laptop processer, based on Ice Lake microarchitecture, shows that the processing industry is getting the message. Developments by AWS, Microsoft, and Google indicate that new solutions will make using cloud-based systems even easier. And to get all of this built and integrated in short timeframes will require a different kind of software, such as cloud-based, business-focused offerings that eliminate the bulk of hand coding in favor of visual modeling and AI.
In short, the breakthroughs of 2018 require us to rethink everything that underpins current technology: hardware, architecture, interfaces, data centers and more. I expect to see some exciting developments in the months to come.
As I noted earlier, almost everything hailed as an innovation in 2018 was really more along the lines of improvement and enhancement. As exciting as a rollup TV or a climbing car (it has legs that retract so it can move upwards by 5 feet) are, the fact remains that they are an improvement or ingenious use of something we’ve had for years. Even the foldable smartphone is a new take on the flip phone.
I like that the tech world is looking at things that have been around for a while and pondering new uses or designs for them or deciding that just because they haven’t gotten something like the 3D printer exactly right yet, it doesn’t mean there’s no hope for it. The metal-printing capability could energize entire industries and have an impact on human safety.
In the AI area, they are working on a major deficiency. AI is good at identifying specific things from millions of images, but it can’t produce that thing on its own. So, they are using a dual neural network training process which will soon enable AI to create a specific image on its own. Even though AI is newer than many of the other technologies that are being improved, the fact that they are working on improving it is a good sign. The other big development is the move of AI to the cloud, thanks to AWS, Microsoft and Google.
The city sensing project described by MIT Technology Review is an excellent example of bringing an idea back to life. In the last five years, many smart city projects have been scaled back or left unfunded. However, the idea of smart cities has taken on new life in a part of Toronto called Quayside. An extensive network of sensors is gathering data on air quality, noise levels, traffic and people’s activities. That data will be analyzed to aid with decisions about design, policy and technology.
I believe all this is positive. Our technological history is littered with stories of abandoning the old completely in favor of the brand new. And each one of these projects opens new doors and opportunities for us all.
The opportunities for technology in 2019 are exciting. The need for different kinds of computers, processors, systems, and software will spur unique and exciting technology developments across all industries. You will see companies—yours might even be one of them—building more cloud native applications to handle new technological innovations like operating systems and apps for folding phones or controlling climbing cars. And you’ll also see programming for qubits instead of binary.
The most notable trend will be the growth that hybrid IT fuels by all these developments. Companies will be taking an even harder look at their underlying infrastructures and the latest cloud and architecture innovations from AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM. They will likely elect to move more workloads off their mainframes and aging databases to more agile cloud offerings, while maintaining on-premises hardware and software—including quantum computers—for certain aspects of their business. Instead of organic hybrid IT which is a mixture of cloud and on-premises that has developed almost by default, this will be deliberate, controlled hybrid IT.
Whether it’s re-platforming applications, rehosting your mainframe, modernizing your legacy systems or updating to a modern relational database, TmaxSoft has a solution that will enable you to make the most of all the tech trends in 2019. Explore your modernization options by downloading our new eBook, Lift, shift and modernize: proven mainframe modernization strategies that enable digital transformation.
Joshua Yulish is the Global CEO and President for TmaxSoft. He has over 20 years of experience in software and technology, and he has led the company’s expansion into global markets and is focused on transforming TmaxSoft into a tier-1 software developer. Joshua joined TmaxSoft in 2015 from Hewlett-Packard (HP) where he was a vice president leading business development. He received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a concentration in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.