TL;DR

What: The theme is generally still about data and security, but much is going to change as compared to 2019

12 Business Technology Trends to Watch in 2020

Some tech professionals gazed into their crystal balls and here are what they saw in the year to come.

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Data analytics

1. Qlik: Self-service analytics and DataOps will give businesses new levels of data agility 

With DataOps on the operational side and analytic self-service on the business user side, fluidity across the whole information value chain is achieved, connecting synthesis with analysis.

DataOps will take centerstage in 2020. It is a methodology that encompasses the adoption of modern technologies, the processes that bring data from its raw to ready state, and the teams that work with data. 

Using DataOps, 80 per cent of core data can be systematically delivered to business users, with self-service data preparation as a standalone area needed in fewer situations. With DataOps on the operational side and analytic self-service on the business user side, fluidity across the whole information value chain is achieved, connecting synthesis with analysis.

– Dan Sommer, senior director, Global Market Intelligence Lead, Qlik

2. Qlik: “Shazam” for data will provide insights before building a dashboard

You can shop by analysing a photo or identifying plants or animals with a click.

The concept of Shazam – the service of identifying songs that are being played, has expanded across various industries. You can shop by analysing a photo or identifying plants or animals with a click. 

In 2020, “shazaming” data will serve as a metaphor for more enterprise use-cases where users get insights before creating a dashboard. We could potentially point to a data source and get telemetry like where the data comes from, who uses it, what the data quality is, and how much of the data has changed today. Algorithms will help analytic systems fingerprint the data, find anomalies and insights, and suggest new data. This will enable micro-insights and more collaboration on data before creating a full-fledged visualization or dashboard.

– Dan Sommer, senior director, Global Market Intelligence Lead, Qlik

Data security

3. Veritas: Ransomware to continue to be a big business

We’re already seeing the beginnings of a secondary illegal market for stolen credentials.

Cybercriminals have long relied on social engineering as one of their most successful modes of attack. By fooling employees to share information or download their malware, ransomware attackers acquire the credentials they need to capture a company’s most important digital assets. Without a clean backup copy of an organisation’s entire data catalogue, users are held hostage at the mercy of criminals seeking monetary gain.

To stay ahead of the cat and mouse game, cybercriminals’ techniques will evolve in response to more rigorous company policies. We’re already seeing the beginnings of a secondary illegal market for stolen credentials. On the dark web, ransomware is fuelling the rise of a burgeoning market that makes it quick and easy for cybercriminals to gain remote access to corporate systems.

This boom is being supported by a shifting attack strategy that will only become more embedded in 2020. Ransomware attackers will increasingly target their efforts, not on existing employees, but on adjacent targets and other accounts with access to the systems of their intended victim. This includes outside contractors, freelancers, partners and approved vendors.

In Singapore, the latest malware incidents that hit before we close out the year is yet another timely reminder that ransomware will no longer be a matter of data denied. It will be a case of data compromised. Globally, the public sector, healthcare and manufacturing are emerging as some of the most likely targets. To bolster data security, the Singapore government has set up the high-level Public Sector Data Security Review Committee (PSDSRC). 

One of the key recommendations for improving transparency in the public sector’s data security is to publish the government’s policies and standards relating to personal data protection and provide an annual update.

At Veritas, we believe that this is a step in the right direction as publishing these standards also allows vendors that work for the government to understand the standards that must be met. Very soon, data responsibility won’t just be for internal consumption. It will be how organisations do business and choose who they work with.

– Ravi Rajendran, vice president and managing director of Asia South Region, Veritas

4. Thales: Quantum knows what you did last summer

In anticipation of that, next year will see an increase in the encrypted communications and encrypted data stolen by hackers as they stockpile information waiting for the tools to unlock it.

2020 will see more data breaches in anticipation of cracking the data when quantum computing becomes cheap and more affordable down the road. With potential breakthroughs like Google’s this year, it’s only a matter of time before more quantum computing power is achieved. When this happens, the encryption techniques used to sign messages and protect encryption keys will be rendered obsolete. 

In anticipation of that, next year will see an increase in the encrypted communications and encrypted data stolen by hackers as they stockpile information waiting for the tools to unlock it. So, in effect, quantum breaches will have already happened, long before the computing power comes to fruition.

Rana Gupta, APAC vice president for cloud protection and licensing activity, Thales.

5. Rackspace: Cloud risks might be closer to home than you think

the increased complexity of the IT environment due to multi-cloud adoption might lead to poor configuration management.

Misconfigurations and the challenge of managing identities and access in the multi-cloud environment will continue to present threats for companies next year.

Despite its benefits, multi-cloud also opens more doors to security risks. Besides providing a wider potential attack surface for hackers, multi-cloud can also cause organisations to be more vulnerable to insider threats. For instance, the increased complexity of the IT environment due to multi-cloud adoption might lead to poor configuration management. Having more business users using the cloud also poses a challenge as not everyone fully understands cloud security risks and know how to mitigate them. A recent report by Symantec found that some users may exhibit risky behaviours in the cloud such as oversharing cloud files or not storing sensitive data properly in the cloud – all of which may lead to data loss.

To minimise cloud risks, organisations will need to have a multi-layered security strategy that can provide detection, response and remediation when their IT environment is in jeopardy. Their Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) will also need to work across more departments in 2020 to ensure that security is not overlooked when innovative solutions and new business processes are introduced.

– Sandeep Bhargava, managing director of Asia Pacific/Japan, Rackspace.

Automation and artificial intelligence

6. AntWorks: Interest in AI to continue

closer collaborations among the government institutions, legal organisations and businesses are required to ensure the advancements and innovation in AI.

The attention on Artificial Intelligence will trickle to 2020, as more businesses begin investing in AI-powered solutions to improve business performance in Singapore and the region. AI will present a balance of opportunities and challenges – aiding the deployment of smart city projects for the former, while issues on security, as well as ethics, being part of the latter.

2019 marks the launch of Asia’s first AI governance model framework, and it is clear that AI regulations and policies are still in the early stages in the region. The success of using AI for good depends upon trust, and that trust can only be built over time with the utmost adherence to ethical principles and practices.

Hence, closer collaborations among the government institutions, legal organisations and businesses are required to ensure the advancements and innovation in AI. A focus on regulating its applications and not just the technology itself will also be pivotal in establishing trust in AI.

– Asheesh Mehra, co-founder and group CEO of AntWorks

7. Cloudera: The rise of AI factory in APAC 

an AI factory enables the process of building, scaling, and deploying enterprise machine learning applications to be automated, repeatable and predictable.

As the importance of data continues to grow, we anticipate more organisations in Asia Pacific to move beyond data analytics and consider using AI and machine learning in 2020. 

According to IDC, the region is expected to spend US$21.4 billion on AI systems by 2023, up from US$6.2 billion this year. Leading the AI spending will be the banking sector, which is expected to use it increasingly to combat fraud and to improve customer service. 

However, getting machine learning into production or embedded in the entire organisation can be challenging. Since businesses may be running on an inflexible, siloed IT infrastructure, it will be difficult for machine learning systems to access the necessary data, and scale as needed. 

We believe more organisations in the region will develop an AI factory in future to overcome that issue. Built on an enterprise data cloud (a 100% open platform that unifies and powers all data and machine learning workflows across hybrid and multiple clouds with common security and governance), an AI factory enables the process of building, scaling, and deploying enterprise machine learning applications to be automated, repeatable and predictable. Since this eliminates the complexity of deploying machine learning apps, organisations can easily operationalize and scale machine learning capabilities across the enterprise, which ultimately empowers the entire company to make data-driven decisions.

– Mark Micallef, vice president for Asia-Pacific and Japan, Cloudera.

8. Thales: The ethics of AI

With increased awareness of bias in data, business leaders will demand to know how AI reaches the recommendations it does to avoid making biased decisions as a business in the future.

2020 will be the year research & investment in ethics and bias in AI significantly increases. Today, business insights in enterprises are generated by AI and machine learning algorithms. However, due to these algorithms being built using models and databases, bias can creep in from those that train the AI. This results in gender or racial bias be it for mortgage applications or forecasting health problems. With increased awareness of bias in data, business leaders will demand to know how AI reaches the recommendations it does to avoid making biased decisions as a business in the future.

Rana Gupta, APAC vice president for cloud protection and licensing activity, Thales.

9. Zebra Technologies: Driving intelligent automation to optimize business operations in 2020 

As machine vision and deep learning evolves, the possibility of recognising some items automatically without the need for an identifying mark has become real.

Enterprises are looking for technological solutions that can enable the automated smart tasking of their workers empowered via prescriptive analytics and mobile software to overcome their challenges. Given the complexity of their workflows, finding the right domain expertise for the job is key to a successful digital transformation. 

Applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will heighten the ability to drive further value for businesses in areas of safety, security, operational efficiencies, human worker engagement, empowerment and overall intelligence of their respective working environments. As machine vision and deep learning evolves, the possibility of recognising some items automatically without the need for an identifying mark has become real. 

This reality is evident in leading retail companies where we see them implementing vision-based solutions, with examples including counting customers in queues, identifying theft at self-checkouts, examining store shelves for inventory levels, and speeding up the checkout process. It is expected that this trend will continue in 2020 as beyond, as the technology evolves. That said, as this trend grows, barcodes will continue to be integral to the data capture landscape for core applications because of their low cost and ease-of-use.

By orchestrating human and robot workflows in a synergistic way across the warehouse and distribution centre as well as the retail store, it will increase business operations efficiency.

– Fang-How, Lim, regional director – Southeast Asia, Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific

10. Veritas: The year of AIOps adoption

AIOps and API automation hold the promise to abstract complexity and provide significant new levels of autonomous processes.

Many organisations have been experiencing a shift from the traditional core enterprise data centre to a decentralised on-prem and cloud infrastructure. Another major trend is what I’ve termed “Digital Users”. Digital Users include machine agents, containerised applications (as above), process-oriented analytics, IoT devices and API-driven infrastructure.

Digital Users can number into the thousands and quickly expose the complexities associated with the manual processes required to deploy infrastructure, apps, and data management and protection services.

AIOps and API automation hold the promise to abstract complexity and provide significant new levels of autonomous processes. These are significant trends that will make AIOps an imperative in 2020.

Looking ahead to 2020, collecting data from various systems, tools and devices and the application of analytics, AI and machine learning will gain speed, simplifying the adoption of Digital Users, enhancing IT operations and information management with capabilities that will include:

  • Automatic detection and self-directed, real-time action on events and issues
  • Automated workload and data analysis that drives resiliency orchestration
  • API enabled provisioning, management, protection and recovery
  • Proactive data classification and action spotlighting potential risks and threats

– Ravi Rajendran, vice president and managing director of Asia South Region, Veritas

5G network

11. Rackspace: IoT and edge will move from hype to reality thanks to 5G and cloud

5G’s low-latency, high bandwidth network will enable far-away sensors to instantly share updates about the connected devices, therefore enabling real-time processing.

We anticipate an increase in the number of IoT and edge computing deployments in some parts of APAC in 2020, driven by the commercial availability of 5G and cloud adoption. To date, South Korea and China have rolled out 5G networks, while Australia, Japan, and Singapore plans to do so next year.

GSMA anticipates that 5G will contribute to almost US$900 billion to the region’s economy over the next 15 years. It will be beneficial especially for the manufacturing, retail, transportation, and government sectors, as they adopt IoT to become more connected. 5G’s low-latency, high bandwidth network will enable far-away sensors to instantly share updates about the connected devices, therefore enabling real-time processing. This will, in turn, drive the demand for edge computing as data can be immediately processed near where the data is generated, instead of in a centralised data-processing warehouse. Edge computing can also help reduce operational costs. It reduces the bandwidth needs as data is mostly processed locally, and only the relevant data gets transmitted to the central data repository.  

The benefits of deploying IoT, edge, 5G and cloud technologies are exemplified in the case of smart cities. With edge computing, a connected traffic light can analyse the data collected by sensors to determine real-time traffic flow. It can then quickly transmit that information to other traffic lights and autonomous cars in the vicinity via 5G and cloud to coordinate the flow of traffic – such as changing the duration of the green light or suggesting a different route to the car – to ease congestion. As more Asian cities ramp up their smart city efforts and organisations become more connected, we are excited to see many other use cases for edge computing (supported by 5G and cloud) in time to come.

– Sandeep Bhargava, managing director of Asia Pacific/Japan, Rackspace.

12. Thales: The 5G Hackathon

2020 will compound the privacy issues as a result of the increased connectivity brought about by 5G.

2020 will compound the privacy issues as a result of the increased connectivity brought about by 5G. With increased connectivity, we will see a dramatic increase in the number of connected devices and sensors, resulting in a vastly expanded list of targets for cyber-attacks. 

However, in their rush to beat the competition, security will be an afterthought as opposed to being a forethought. The end result will see 2020 as a record-breaking year for cyber-attacks on connected devices and recognition for privacy and security regulations at the federal level.

Rana Gupta, APAC vice president for cloud protection and licensing activity, Thales.

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