There are thousands of stories of invention, innovation, and discovery playing out across the technology industry at this exact moment. They are real but largely unseen until an event – a data breach, a cloud outage, a social movement – brings them to our attention.
The cloud and AI are no longer frontiers. The digital economy is the new tech green space. Nearly 8 out of every ten companies have experienced at least one cloud data breach. The transition to net-zero will be as disruptive as the industrial revolution.
Businesses need to separate the trends from the hype to capture competitive value. That’s what drives my annual ritual of making tech predictions for our next orbit around the sun. The future is beginning to take shape, and here are my predictions for tech trends coming in the year ahead.
An Accelerating Attack Surface Will Demand More and Future-Proof Security Innovations
In the billion-dollar race to protect, detect, and respond to an expanding attack surface, we will see risk management melding with business innovation capabilities. Compromised credentials, misconfigurations, and malicious and inadvertent misuse of resources have been at the center of security discussions.
We see the conversation broadening to applications and their dependencies, as well as shadow IT which goes far beyond mismanaged devices. Exposure for businesses could exponentially increase due to unvetted development projects and as organizations innovate to meet the demand for always-on, digital access to products and services.
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- Application and API Security (CNAPP)
As modern cloud-native applications are becoming drivers of business, protecting the underlying application environment is critical. In 2023, developers will get more and more support from various tools that help speed up development cycles and allow them to better manage and secure distributed application architectures with an emphasis on delivering exceptional, secure digital experiences. We will also see continued movement toward tools that allow developers, site reliability engineers and security experts to collaborate more seamlessly on these outcomes.
- Quantum Cryptography
Transmitting keys poses a fundamental risk to security, as keys can be harvested and decrypted later. While Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC) is a potential stop-gap solution, it’s unclear if PQC schemes could be broken in the future. Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is poised to be particularly impactful because it avoids distribution of the keys over an insecure channel. In 2023, in preparation for a post-quantum world, we will see a macrotrend emerge with adoption of QKD in datacenters, IoT, autonomous systems, and 6G.
Experience Economy Solutions Will Deliver Actionable Business Insights and Performance
The digital experience of customers and end users is now a primary driver of business success, and “experience” will emerge as a key new KPI in the months ahead. This will change the playing field dramatically.
To survive and thrive, companies need to be able to tie data insights derived from normal IT operations directly to business outcomes or risk being overtaken by more innovative competitors. Distributed tracing will soon become a currency of business performance, and every technology investment will need to be set against observability standards and practices – from cloud, to core, to edge.
- Full-Stack Observability Tied to Business Outcomes
A significant problem with monitoring has always been too much data with too little context and business correlation. The evolution of application monitoring toward full stack observability will increasingly provide a view relative to business context. When applied systematically, this can dramatically speed up response and optimize business operations in real time. In 2023, business context will become widely recognized as an integral part of monitoring and visibility outcomes.
- Traces and OpenTelemetry
In the year ahead, there will be a significant shift toward the open-source ability to grab information from multiple domains that were previously siloed and then develop modern applications that rely on distributed tracing embedded in the actual experience. OpenTelemetry will become the leading open-source standard behind how IT teams consume data to enable observability over the IT stack from the network and infrastructure to applications and the internet.
- Edge Native Application Development Frameworks
As edge devices become smarter, and process, manage, and drive insights closer to the user, there is growing need for edge-native application ecosystems. In 2023, we will see growing adoption of application development frameworks for the edge replete with new data management, compliance and security APIs coupled with novel AI/ML toolchains. This is the beginning of a world where the edge will be operated by horizontal software platforms – groups of small, generic computers scaled to deployment needs and consumed as a service.
The New Phase of Digital Transformation Will Be Led by Smart Connectivity and Networks
Resilient and agile supply chains can be a weak link or great competitive advantage. Predictive technologies move us away from using isolated data analysis to real-time decision making. Multicloud models are designed to be elastic and scalable to complex regulatory and service-level requirements.
Smart connectivity and networks are at the center of it all. They’re not just about optimizing resources – they can potentially help organizations anticipate and respond to global trade issues, workforce changes, and other unexpected events. Next year, 2023, will be a turning point in the deployment of game-changing networking and connectivity solutions on which future engineering marvels will be built.
- IoT/Supply Chain Resiliency
Enterprises and logistics providers will increasingly utilize IoT to bring greater visibility into their supply chains in 2023. IoT and other technologies will not only play a larger role in bringing better resiliency and efficiency into supply chains but can also help to improve IT/OT network management. As a result, organizations will start to reconfigure supply chains around predictive and prescriptive models including smart contracts and distributed ledgers. This is a major transition toward more sustainable business practices and circular supply chains.
- Predictive Networks
In the year ahead, the network will become more experience-centric with increasing capabilities to predict end user experience issues and provide problem-solving options. Companies will increasingly access predictive technologies in integrated, easy-to-use SaaS offers. This represents an important step toward a future where connectivity is powered by self-healing networks that can learn, predict, and plan. Predictive networks will be powered by the same predictive analytics that are gathered from myriad telemetry sources.
- Multicloud Realignment
As deglobalization and issues around data sovereignty accelerate, in the year ahead we will see a discernible shift in how companies leverage multicloud architectures. While 89% of enterprises are adopting a multicloud strategy for a variety of reasons (geopolitical, technical, provider diversification), the benefits also come with additional complexity in connecting, securing, and observing a multicloud environment. We will see continued movement toward new multicloud frameworks such as Sovereign Clouds, Local Zone Clouds, Zero-Carbon Clouds, and other novel cloud offerings. This will create a path toward more private and edge cloud applications and services ushering in a new multicloud operating model.
Responsible Innovation Will Move Fast Toward Building a Better, More Inclusive Future for All
Organizations are expected to put their good intentions into action – being purpose-driven is now a corporate requirement. Trust in our institutions and in companies has been tested over the last few years. This has brought us to an inflection point, and we are on the edge of generational change that will become evident through technology in 2023.
Ultimately, organizations will have to define a purpose that goes beyond profitability. While there have arguably been benefactors of the collapse of trust, the new scope of innovation is bending fast toward public good – with responsibility, sustainability, equity and inclusion as guiding themes.
- Hybrid Work Equity and Inclusion
Fostering a culture of accessibility-first thinking and embedding universal design principles with assistive technologies will emerge in 2023 as defining principles for development of collaboration products and features. This is the next phase of hybrid work where prioritizing equitable, inclusive experiences can help drive happier and more productive workforces. In 2023, we will also see the use of natural language processing (NLP) and AI/ML in new and innovative ways to deliver these solutions.
- Sustainability and the Journey to Net Zero
Net zero will drive common standards to meet sustainability goals with advancements in Power Over Ethernet (PoE) design and hardware to transform data centers for a more sustainable future. Networking and APIs will become more advanced within data center platform management to monitor, track, and change the use of energy. IT vendors and equipment partners will be more transparent in their reuse of hardware (circularity) to move the needle with the sustainability processes.
- Responsible AI
In 2023, the ability of rogue individuals and organizations to use artificial intelligence for unethical or socially destructive objectives will continue to grow. Industry, governments, academia, and NGOs will come together to begin hammering out a framework for governing AI in an ethical and responsible manner to mitigate potential harm. This framework will be based on principles such as transparency, fairness, accountability, privacy, security, and reliability and will be applied in contexts such as model creation and the selection of training data for AI systems.
As we look to the year ahead, we see a transformation in how applications, connectivity, and security are delivered and consumed. We see an immersive future that is “sustainable by default,” requiring new technologies built with new processes and in service to new business models. We see exceptional, reliable digital experiences as the gold standard of business success.
No matter how extensive or complex the advances, there’s no greater risk than standing still. The winners in 2023 will be those armed with the right tools – and the courage – to break down organizational silos across domains and disciplines and work together without limits to affect real and lasting change.