The pace of technological change is increasing. While math, business, and computer jobs will likely rise, and many tasks in other industries will likely be lost to robots, the way almost all jobs are done will continue to change. Here are four emerging technologies set to revolutionize IT through the growth of a new kind of network.
1. Mobile computing
As mobile devices become more sophisticated and more powerful, we start thinking of them as mobile computers. With 1-terabyte flash drives, a capacity that was once unthinkable in all but the newest servers, limitations to memory are disappearing. While Wi-Fi combined with video conferencing and cloud services are bringing about the age of the virtual office—distributed computing becomes a distributed business. IT professionals will need to become as flexible as the offices of the future.
2. Virtual Reality
The Oculus Rift VR headset has been on the market for a year and was quickly followed by similar products from Sony, HTC, and others. While VR was primarily aimed at gamers, it can be used as an aid to training pilots and first responders. Potential uses include VR as a sales tool to preview products in a no-cost, no-risk virtual environment to exploring computer-generated models to perfect designs for jetliners and prosthetics. Soon, savvy tech experts will come up with VR programs that lead to market growth—which industry will be quick to exploit and IT services will need to support.
Robots are becoming more mainstream within an industry and in the home or office. Today, you can buy vacuuming, scrubbing, and lawn-mowing devices that work autonomously or hand-held devices that can recognize human speech to search for answers on the Internet. But the most immediate effect may be felt in the still-expanding drone market. These devices, once on a par with remote-controlled toys, are being coupled with artificial intelligence and all manner of gadgets to produce startling new innovations. A new drone scheduled for release by Lily Robotics can track and follow its owner, and Amazon is already using drones to deliver packages. Managing commercial drones, and the information they collect will become an increasing demand on IT resources.
4. The IoT
It’s a term you’ll hear a lot—the Internet of Things. You already have automated, sensor-and-camera based security systems that provide remote monitoring via the Internet. Smart designs conserve energy by control of lights or AC. Now we see refrigerators that can order groceries when supplies run low. Smart homes and businesses will soon become the norm, as the cost-savings of hooking systems into networks offset the expense. Facilities and equipment managed via the company infrastructure will also fall under the purview of the IT department.
While all this automation and inter-connectivity seems to provide more opportunities for hackers and malware, we will also see companies rally to combat them with the latest AI software designed to protect all of our networks, from the routers to the coffee makers. An increasing dependence on technology and connectivity also creates an increasing need for the technical skills to support the new network.