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Next big things for big business in 2018

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We are constantly seeing rapid changes in the IT industry but what does next year hold in store for us? THOMAS DI GIACOMO, CTO at SUSE outlines a few developments bound to make headlines.

There are some big things set to come in 2018. In fact, we are seeing numerous significant developments in the world of enterprise IT. These include the emergence of the container infrastructure ecosystem, a continued move to hybrid cloud and the growth in software-defined infrastructure and storage. So, what is to come over the next twelve months and how should IT teams be preparing for any incoming changes?

Maturation of hybrid cloud strategies

There’s a chance that within the coming years the public cloud landscape will diversify. Consulting organisations are developing their own managed cloud services for example, some local public cloud players are becoming more global as well, so we’re seeing more and more cloud providers emerge. Of course, going entirely public cloud poses a risk for lock-in and, as a result, organisations are looking to a hybrid approach. If you do all your compute and have all your data in the same public cloud than you are likely to be locked in, but you avoid this by looking at a hybrid/multi cloud strategy. Consequently, we will see many more organisations subscribing to a hybrid cloud approach.

Hybrid cloud is a reality that enterprise IT must face, not only enabling different clouds to run together but also to maintain and manage them for a long time. Having workloads and data running and being stored agnostically on any type of cloud is definitely key. There are more solutions emerging in this space and this growth in competition may put pressure on their price – for non-open source solutions, that is.

Container ecosystem expansion, and consolidation?

Kubernetes, an open-source orchestration engine, exploded onto the scene two years ago as a way to automate deployment, scale, and manage containerised applications. It has already won the war for container orchestration dominance, and experts predict further rapid adoption over the next few years as organisations realise its full potential.

The next step for the technology is around container eco-system at large. That’s to say security for containers, service meshing and management, networking, management, and storage is the next thing for Kubernetes and the container world to tackle. We are already starting to see all of that happening, and this is set to be a big focus for the next year. As adoption and maturity develop, one of the questions is also if we will see a consolidation of Kubernetes-based solutions and companies in the market already from next year or slightly later.

Hardware – the new software

For some time now, software has been the main topic of discussion when it comes to giving organisations a competitive advantage through technology. However, it’s important we don’t forget about hardware, which is now more important than ever before.

We’re seeing trends emerge such as open hardware, with compute power not only for traditional high-performance computing (HPC) use cases but also some of the new trends we are seeing around machine learning, deep learning and quantum computing, with specialised processing units being used to optimise specific types of computations. This is set to be even more important in the coming years, with the quantum computing market alone set to be worth almost $500 million by 2023.

Being open about being open

The next year will be about figuring out how to combine various emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). Yet, it’s not just about combining these together, but also learning how to integrate emerging technology with existing infrastructure. The combination of big data and existing analytics with AI is one good example of technologies that can be combined with each other to work effectively, so it’s important that we find ways to combine and manage them together.

From an open source perspective, if we’re ever going to achieve success with combining the stack, organisations need to be opening up and working with competitors for the best chance of success. The number of combinations is huge and getting even larger, so it’s more important than ever to be open.

Since the beginning of Linux 26 years ago, we’ve seen enterprise Linux expanded and fragmented with lots of solutions, then consolidated. In the coming year and beyond, it’s vital that the industry continues to make the most of the open source community and use the resources available rather than take a ‘DIY’ approach. IT leaders need to look to the open source community for growing technologies like Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and containerisation, focusing on the business value of the technology itself as opposed to building anything from scratch.

In 2018, we’re set to see the maturation of various technologies, from containers and hybrid cloud to AI. Most importantly, these technologies need to be able to work collaboratively – with each other and with existing infrastructure – if we’re to see them deployed successfully and provide real business value to organisations in the coming months and years.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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Buy 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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Pizoelectrics: Healthcare’s new gymnasts of gadgetry

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Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, and intrusive medical procedures, among other, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move, and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. 

Instruments become wearables, including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029”, notes that sensors should preferably be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal, and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. 

We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks. 

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? 

Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. 

The IDTechEx Research report looks at what comes next, based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.  

Click here to read how Piezo has been reinvented.

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