The countdown to the New Year is an opportunity to stop and think about what the tech trends in this sector might be during 2024. Like a machine in constant flux, technology never eliminates, with companies and startups working today to create the innovative tools and novel solutions of tomorrow. Keeping in mind the link with what has happened in the last few months, I believe there are some themes and technologies that will inevitably come to fruition next year or, at any rate, a significant development with scenarios capable of impacting our daily lives and with the potential to change the times and ways of some activities.
At the top of the list is undoubtedly generative AI, which is already exploding as a solution capable of simplifying many processes and speeding up many steps, guaranteeing a real practical advantage. Concern for the environment and the need to reduce the impact of the human presence on an already heavily impacted world is a reality already embraced by many companies. This is why sustainable technology will find more space and consideration within the entire industry. When it comes to companies, the dangers are multiplying, but the remedy is basically only one: investment to protect one’s data. So, extreme attention to cybersecurity and systems can complicate the plans of cybercriminals.
Digital services and clouds, storing billions of pieces of information, characterize the contemporary era. But behind them is the capacity of computers to perform a huge number of calculations in a fraction of a second. This is why the coming year could consecrate quantum computers. Extended reality, a synthesis of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, has already been with us for a few years. For many insiders, it is in danger of turning out to be a flop, at least compared to the enormous promises made before its arrival. But 2024 has an ace up its sleeve that could be a game-changer.
Tech Trends: Generative AI
2023 was the year when generative AI grabbed the cover and became mainstream. Even those not coding experts have heard of it and will probably have tested one of the many services that allow you to obtain a text or image from a precise textual request (the prompt). In 2024, companies investing a significant portion of their annual budgets in developing GenAI-related applications will further accelerate the process. Beyond the fear that the novelty will shrink employment, replacing humans in a number of jobs, the advantages provided by this technology are obvious and incontrovertible.
Speeding up time-consuming activities and harnessing a smart assistant for repetitive and boring tasks are just two examples of the usefulness of AI, whose potential in terms of productivity and efficiency in changing the status quo has already appeared in part with the Microsoft-OpenAI duo and the new version of Bing Chat, as well as with the Google Bard chatbot. The development of so many different applications will lead GenAI to become widespread quickly, even among ordinary mortals unfamiliar with the subject, partly replicating what happened with the Internet, smartphones and apps. A process already underway will show its first results in the coming year.
Decarbonisation and energy efficiency as primary goals for 2030 are two of the priorities that globally (with exceptions, such as China and India) will lead companies to focus their activities on the environment. Reducing the carbon footprint and increasing the use of renewable energy are two interlinked activities where technology plays a crucial role. Solutions to recycle materials, increase the production of green energy, and reuse products are goals that will be even higher on the list of governments and companies than ever before. The circular economy will likely see more applications due to this trend, just as the spread of electric cars and infrastructure and services aimed at reducing energy consumption will expand. An enormous challenge, sometimes watered down by greenwashing, involves companies, developers and users.
Cyber resistance again listed for tech trends for 2024
According to Gartner, 60% of organisations will use cybersecurity risk as a determining factor in conducting transactions and business engagements with third parties by 2025. The immense output on the subject indicates that in the last three years, more than one in two companies has been the victim of a cyber attack (with ransomware dominating the rankings of cyber threats), with the cost of attacks to the industry set to exceed $10 trillion by 2024. This information alone is enough to understand how central cybersecurity is in the business context, with investment set to grow, as nothing is more important than protecting one’s data.
Cyber criminals are actively developing increasingly sophisticated attack techniques, so it’s essential to equip the defense with adequate countermeasures, particularly as smart working gains prevalence and complicates the effectiveness of defensive systems. While they are weapons in the hands of hackers, artificial intelligence and machine learning are two of the most important technologies available to companies. This is why they receive much attention and investment.
Quantum computers have been among us for a while now, and their enormous computing power is the starting point for speeding up processes that would otherwise be time-consuming. This leads to advances in various fields, such as cryptography, the study of the genome and the medical sector, without forgetting that quantum technology is one of the most heavily financed by banks and financial institutions, as it is helpful in tandem with AI for strong detection, trading and risk management. Forecasts indicate a business volume of more than $2.5 billion within the next six years, which is why Microsoft, Amazon Web Service, Google, Splunk and Honeywell invest so many resources in research and development. In 2024, therefore, I expect to see significant innovations in terms of applications and concrete results.
Extended Reality the new tech trend for this year
We have been expecting the exploitation of virtual reality or other related technologies for several years now and have been disappointed. Several problems remain unsolved, including the challenge of convincing people to wear a device on their face that isolates them from the rest of the world. The industry needs something that breaks the mould and is able to create hype and then turn that interest into a sustainable market, which is what Apple Vision Pro, the visor available in the US in early 2024, promises. From its reception, we can learn whether anything will move. Even though I am not a fan of these devices (I have tried several of them and, apart from the fun, the headache after a while has punctually arrived to spoil the party), Tim Cook’s company deserves trust.