Authored by Brian Burke, Gartner Research VP
Hyperautomation, blockchain, AI security, distributed cloud and autonomous things drive disruption and create opportunities in this year’s strategic technology trends.
Human augmentation conjures up visions of futuristic cyborgs, but humans have been augmenting parts of the body for hundreds of years. Glasses, hearing aids and prosthetics evolved into cochlear implants and wearables. Even laser eye surgery has become commonplace.
But what if scientists could augment the brain to increase memory storage, or implant a chip to decode neural patterns? What if exoskeletons became a standard uniform for autoworkers, enabling them to lift superhuman weights? What if doctors could implant sensors to track how drugs travel inside a body?
Technology is now on the cusp of moving beyond augmentation that replaces a human capability and into augmentation that creates superhuman capabilities.
How these changes will impact the world and business makes human augmentation one of Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends that will drive significant disruption and opportunity over the next five to 10 years.
The trends are structured around the idea of “people-centric smart spaces,” which means considering how these technologies will affect people (i.e., customers, employees) and the places that they live in (i.e., home, office, car).
These trends have a profound impact on the people and the spaces they inhabit. Rather than building a technology stack and then exploring the potential applications, organizations must consider the business and human context first.
These trends don’t exist in isolation; IT leaders must decide what combination of the trends will drive the most innovation and strategy.
For example, artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of machine learning (ML) with hyperautomation and edge computing can be combined to enable highly integrated smart buildings and city spaces. In turn, these technology combinations enable further democratization of the technology.
Trend No 1. Hyperautomation
Automation uses technology to automate tasks that once required humans.
Hyperautomation deals with the application of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to increasingly automate processes and augment humans. Hyperautomation extends across a range of tools that can be automated, but also refers to the sophistication of the automation (i.e., discover, analyze, design, automate, measure, monitor, reassess.)
Hyperautomation often results in the creation of a digital twin of the organization
As no single tool can replace humans, hyperautomation today involves a combination of tools, including robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent business management software (iBPMS) and AI, with a goal of increasingly AI-driven decision making.
Although not the main goal, hyperautomation often results in the creation of a digital twin of the organization (DTO), allowing organizations to visualize how functions, processes and key performance indicators interact to drive value. The DTO then becomes an integral part of the hyperautomation process, providing real-time, continuous intelligence about the organization and driving significant business opportunities.
Trend No. 2: Multiexperience
Multiexperience replaces technology-literate people with people-literate technology. In this trend, the traditional idea of a computer evolves from a single point of interaction to include multisensory and multitouchpoint interfaces like wearables and advanced computer sensors.
For example, Domino’s Pizza created an experience beyond app-based ordering that includes autonomous vehicles, a pizza tracker and smart speaker communications.
In the future, this trend will become what’s called an ambient experience, but currently multiexperience focuses on immersive experiences that use augmented reality (AR), virtual (VR), mixed reality, multichannel human-machine interfaces and sensing technologies. The combination of these technologies can be used for a simple AR overlay or a fully immersive VR experience.
Trend No. 3: Democratization
Democratization of technology means providing people with easy access to technical or business expertise without extensive (and costly) training. It focuses on four key areas — application development, data and analytics, design and knowledge — and is often referred to as “citizen access,” which has led to the rise of citizen data scientists, citizen programmers and more.
For example, democratization would enable developers to generate data models without having the skills of a data scientist. They would instead rely on AI-driven development to generate code and automate testing.
Trend No. 4: Human augmentation
Human augmentation is the use of technology to enhance a person’s cognitive and physical experiences.
Physical augmentation changes an inherent physical capability by implanting or hosting a technology within or on the body. For example, the automotive or mining industries use wearables to improve worker safety. In other industries, such as retail and travel, wearables are used to increase worker productivity.
Physical augmentation falls into four main categories: Sensory augmentation (hearing, vision, perception), appendage and biological function augmentation (exoskeletons, prosthetics), brain augmentation (implants to treat seizures) and genetic augmentation (somatic gene and cell therapy).
AI and ML are increasingly used to make decisions in place of humans
Cognitive augmentation enhances a human’s ability to think and make better decisions, for example, exploiting information and applications to enhance learning or new experiences. Cognitive augmentation also includes some technology in the brain augmentation category as they are physical implants that deal with cognitive reasoning.
Human augmentation carries a range of cultural and ethical implications. For example, using CRISPR technologies to augment genes has significant ethical implications.
Trend No. 5: Transparency and traceability
The evolution of technology is creating a trust crisis. As consumers become more aware of how their data is being collected and used, organizations are also recognizing the increasing liability of storing and gathering the data.
Additionally, AI and ML are increasingly used to make decisions in place of humans, evolving the trust crisis and driving the need for ideas like explainable AI and AI governance.
This trend requires a focus on six key elements of trust: Ethics, integrity, openness, accountability, competence and consistency.
Legislation, like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is being enacted around the world, driving evolution and laying the ground rules for organizations.
Trend No. 6: The empowered edge
Edge computing is a topology where information processing and content collection and delivery are placed closer to the sources of the information, with the idea that keeping traffic local and distributed will reduce latency. This includes all the technology on the Internet of Things (IoT). Empowered edge looks at how these devices are increasing and forming the foundations for smart spaces, and moves key applications and services closer to the people and devices that use them.
By 2023, there could be more than 20 times as many smart devices at the edge of the network as in conventional IT roles.
Trend No. 7: The distributed cloud
Distributed cloud refers to the distribution of public cloud services to locations outside the cloud provider’s physical data centers, but which are still controlled by the provider. In distributed cloud, the cloud provider is responsible for all aspects of cloud service architecture, delivery, operations, governance and updates. The evolution from centralized public cloud to distributed public cloud ushers in a new era of cloud computing.
Distributed cloud allows data centers to be located anywhere. This solves both technical issues like latency and also regulatory challenges like data sovereignty. It also offers the benefits of a public cloud service alongside the benefits of a private, local cloud.
Trend No. 8: Autonomous things
Autonomous things, which include drones, robots, ships and appliances, exploit AI to perform tasks usually done by humans. This technology operates on a spectrum of intelligence ranging from semiautonomous to fully autonomous and across a variety of environments including air, sea and land.
While currently autonomous things mainly exist in controlled environments, like in a mine or warehouse, they will eventually evolve to include open public spaces. Autonomous things will also move from stand-alone to collaborative swarms, such as the drone swarms used during the Winter Olympic Games in 2018.
However, autonomous things cannot replace the human brain and operate most effectively with a narrowly defined, well-scoped purpose.
Trend No. 9: Practical blockchain
Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger, an expanding chronologically ordered list of cryptographically signed, irrevocable transactional records shared by all participants in a network.
Blockchain also allows parties to trace assets back to their origin, which is beneficial for traditional assets, but also paves the way for other uses such as tracing food-borne illnesses back to the original supplier. It also allows two or more parties who don’t know each other to safely interact in a digital environment and exchange value without the need for a centralized authority.
The complete blockchain model includes five elements: A shared and distributed ledger, immutable and traceable ledger, encryption, tokenization and a distributed public consensus mechanism. However, blockchain remains immature for enterprise deployments due to a range of technical issues including poor scalability and interoperability. Blockchain, which is already appearing in experimental and small-scope projects, will be fully scalable by 2023.
Enterprise blockchains today take a practical approach and implement only some of the elements of a complete blockchain by making the ledger independent of individual applications and participants and replicating the ledger across a distributed network to create an authoritative record of significant events. Everyone with permissioned access sees the same information, and integration is simplified by having a single shared blockchain. Consensus is handled through more traditional private models.
In the future, true blockchain or “blockchain complete” will have the potential to transform industries, and eventually the economy, as complementary technologies such as AI and the IoT begin to integrate alongside blockchain. This expands the type of participants to include machines, which will be able to exchange a variety of assets — from money to real estate. For example, a car would be able to negotiate insurance prices directly with the insurance company based on data gathered by its sensors.
Blockchain, which is already appearing in experimental and small-scope projects, will be fully scalable by 2023.
Trend No. 10: AI security
Evolving technologies such as hyperautomation and autonomous things offer transformational opportunities in the business world. However, they also create security vulnerabilities in new potential points of attack. Security teams must address these challenges and be aware of how AI will impact the security space.
AI security has three key perspectives:
- Protecting AI-powered systems:Securing AI training data, training pipelines and ML models.
- Leveraging AI to enhance security defense:Using ML to understand patterns, uncover attacks and automate parts of the cybersecurity processes.
Anticipating nefarious use of AI by attackers: Identifying attacks and defending against them.
Dynamic Caching- Emerging Trend, Need of Tomorrow
Authored by Amit Singh, Managing Director, Zenlayer India
Dynamic content caching is a term that’s synonymously trending with discussions around Content Delivery Network (CDN) industry. In fact, with the growing popularity around CDN Dynamic Content Caching is often the claim you will hear from most CDN players. Let me simplify for you how the modern technology makes caching of dynamic content possible.
Most content on the website is collection of both static and dynamic content pages. The word ‘static’ we know is something that remains constant. In computing, static content is any file that is stored in a server and is the same every time it is delivered to users like in the case of eBook, whitepaper, homepage of a website. On the other hand, dynamic content refers to any digital content that keeps changing based on factors specific to the user such as time of visit, location, and device. Text, audio and video formats are examples of dynamic content. This type of web content adjusts dynamically or in real-time allowing websites to individually adapt to different site visitors. Customised newsletters, emails are the most basic forms of dynamic content. Other examples include landing pages on website, forms and purchases, product pages with bounce offers like sales and coupons, targeted website advertisements, voice assistants, etc.
Dynamic content furnishes different information based on who the viewer is. Online store experience is a lot different for a frequent shopper than a first-time user. Online news website that displays latest news and articles on its web pages, also has dynamic content that keeps getting updated. Your blog feed, social media feed, personalized emails, are other examples of dynamic content that look entirely different for every user. Even interactive content that engages the users allowing them to interact with the content in order to change it are mostly dynamic in nature, like the comment area of your blog, social media sharing buttons, call-to-action buttons on a website and the popular ‘facetime’ or video chat via smart devices. But how is this constantly changing dynamic content being displayed on webpages, tv or smart devices in real-time? This is where CDN industry services and dynamic caching jointly play their roles.
CDNs and Dynamic Caching
‘Caching’ in computing, refers to the process of storing data or copies of files in a temporary storage area called cache. A cache’s primary purpose is to increase data retrieval performance by reducing the need to access the underlying slower storage layer. Caching enables quick access to the stored or cached content. Dynamic content is mostly event-driven for each user implying that the same cannot be served to multiple users and hence is difficult to cache. However, caching dynamic content is now viable with advanced CDNs the right technology mechanisms in place.
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) which today is a vital component of almost any modern web application, is a network of powerful computers located in geographically distinct places. It is designed to serve web content to visitors with great performance and efficiency. Ecommerce or media sites utilize the power of CDNs to frequently update content such as latest prices, news, weather forecasts, articles, featured products, breaking news, video etc on their web pages. Majority of content delivery networks frequently manage caching for sites through a global server network. CDNs can be configured to retrieve data from the origin servers and deliver dynamic content that is unique to the requestor. Intelligent caches and CDNs are able to quickly inspect requests and modify the behaviour of the caching logic as per requirements.
How dynamic caching works?
The HTML document is the backbone of the any webpage and is the first connection point between website origin server and the browser. With a large number of visitors, there is stress on the origin servers. But when the HTML document is cached, the caching server is the only one making a request to the origin server irrespective of the number of visitors. Thus, the website servers are freed up for critical transactions.
When a user visits a website using a CDN, and web traffic is geo-dispersed, it’s not always feasible and certainly not cost effective to replicate entire infrastructure across the globe. The traffic routes through the server that is closest to the user and serves up cached or stored versions of the site resources. This allows the site to load faster and eliminate requests back to the origin server. For caching, CDN reduces load on application origin and delivers a local copy of the content from a nearby cache server.
Role of cache servers
Proxy cache servers are the basic elements of a CDN’s network data centres, which are strategically situated around the world. Based on traffic patterns of individual regions, these points of presence (PoP) are chosen. Active locations with many users may have several data centres and remote locations with few users may have only one PoP to cover large geographic region. Cache servers act as a repository for website content, providing local users with quicker access to stored files. The cache server closest to the end user is chosen to reduce the connection time needed for transmission of website data.
Dynamic content is generated by running scripts in a CDN cache instead of a distant server thus reducing the response time to client requests and speeding up loading of dynamic web pages. It is served to client devices based on parameters like device type, time of day, user location, or data from third party APIs. Often, most content on a dynamic webpage is same for all users, and only few elements are dynamic. The dynamic content acceleration service leverages the high-quality connectivity between the network PoPs to improve response time. This service mainly takes advantage of the private back bone Software Defined Network (SDN) and achieves better ‘back-to-parent/origin’ network connectivity.
Advantages of Dynamic Caching
- Improved data retrieval and application performance
- Reduced hosting and server costs
- Reduced latency and improved IOPS for Q&A portals, gaming, media sharing, and social networking
- Dedicated caching layer enables systems and applications to run independently
- Data can span multiple cache servers and can be stored in a central location
- Controls like TTLs (Time to live) for successful cache and cache miss
- Decreased load on origin server
- Faster loading of sites
- Reduced bandwidth costs
- Improved access speed and user experience
- Reliable content delivery
- Highly resilient, secure and stable CDN cache servers
Uses of Dynamic Caching
- Website owners can gather visitor data like frequency of visits, pages visited etc and deliver personalized, dynamic web content at no additional cost
- Better interactive and personalised user experience
- Reduced load on the backend database and reduced time to load site
- Increased visitor time on site due to browser history insights and display of relevant content
- Increased conversion rates, bounce rates, and return visits
- High performance and no page layout break on multiple devices
- Easy maintenance
- Predictable Performance during peak traffic events like IPL or festivals
- Eliminate Database Hotspots
- Increase Read Throughput (IOPS)- In addition to lower latency, in-memory systems also offer much higher request rates (IOPS)
With 5G reaching India soon, and some parts of the world heading towards 7G, we can soon expect video replacing voice, text, and everything in between. Dynamic Caching could become the panacea to avoid overloading of data.
Voice Messaging – A Mastered Path to Rural India
Authored by Mr. Rajdipkumar Gupta, MD & Group CEO, Route Mobile Limited
Out of a population of 133.2 crores in India, a total of 101 crores of people are estimated to own active mobile connections as per TRAI in April 2018. With an exponential rise in the number of mobile phone users across the globe, the world is gradually progressing towards a technologically smarter era. Having said that, an estimated figure of over 74 crores is still using a basic feature phone. Considering India which majorly is segmented into two categories:
• Urban population and • Rural population
As per the report of census 2017, India constitutes a total of 66% of the population to rural area. While the smartphone penetration in these areas is just about 20.26%, there still is a deficit in reach of over 61.5 crores mobile phone users which are not smartphones out of 74 crores basic feature phone users. Taking under consideration that most of these people use basic phones which would not allow them to use the latest high-end features, reaching out to the mass population located in rural areas using a technology that requires minimum technology intervention becomes paramount.
While people even in the remotest locations are carving their path to synchronize well with digitization, it would be fair to join the hands of these technological advancements with our traditional systems in order to enhance the effectiveness of all the activities undertaken. More so, people are getting engaged and connected with a palm-sized technology which enables them to reach out to the world with nothing more than just a simple touch on their screens. Although 36% of the Indian population has been using smartphones, a huge chunk of 64% living in urban as well as rural India is still distant from getting a cutting edge technology mobile phones.
What if we bring together the power of voice broadcast with brand campaigns?
With an active base of 1.012 billion mobile phone users, employing voice campaigns will help reach the message of the brands across the country. Versatile by nature, voice broadcasting can be used to promote events, deliver poll surveys, deliver general announcements, and many such activities.
A panoramic view on traditional means of brand campaigns:
A typical campaign carried by a brand involves people, resources, and predominantly a need for people to be physically present. Along with that, some of the most commonly encountered obstacles are as follows:
- Need of human intervention
- Uncertainty in reachability
- High budget requirement
- Language Barrier
- Dependency on external factors
As various brands majorly look out for expansion and recognition, a physical campaign requires physical presence of people. Adding on to that, the success of these events is considerably dependent on the availability of space, equipment, and favourable climatic conditions. The entire event might go for a toss in case of unfavourable climatic conditions, or other factors.
Conducting campaigns with voice broadcasting will not just allow one to increase the reach but at the same time will proffer with a range of other features.
Adding a tinge of personal touch has always been beneficial. With Voice Broadcasting, one can customize their campaigns based on their needs, and the demand of their target audience. You can also alter the campaign to a degree that suits the expectation of your upcoming campaigns. Additionally, brands will have the freedom to speak in a dialect that works for the masses. Also, these speeches can be then translated in the choice of the language required in the future in order to make it understandable yet effective.
High-level of Flexibility
It lets you take charge of your own campaigns. Developed to be able to use with a high level of ease, you can modify the campaigns without affecting the other attributes of your campaign. A simple and easy to use format lets you decide the nature of your voice messages.
Elimination of one way communication
Moving a level further, with an Interactive Voice Response, you can also gather, and collate the responses from your audience. This sort of interactivity brings depth to your campaigns, making it way more effective.
In an era of mobile phones, there might be less than a handful of people who don’t own a mobile phone. Using voice broadcasting completely eliminates the need for a person to be physically present for that particular event. A simple, traditional call allows you to reach and address the mob with greater efficiency.
Elimination of hefty budget
Replacing a physical event into voice broadcasting cuts down on the cost exponentially. Rather than investing a lot of money on different factors that involves uncertainty in the performance of the event, investing in Voice Broadcasting proves to be favourable in terms of the cost incurred and also in terms of the productivity of an event.
Cut down on the time involved
While a conventional event demands a lot of time and human involvement which thereby calls for much more investment of time. Voice Broadcasting can be considered as a simple one-click process.
Voice Broadcasting, when it comes to its mechanism, is one of the simplest techniques to reach out to a large number of people. Owing to its simplicity, security, flexibility, and scalability, it has by far been a vital asset to many political campaigns. Suitable for an array of events ranging from promotional events, polling surveys, personalised messages to general announcements, and many more.
A simple six-step process is what it takes to incorporate Voice Broadcasting into your existing system.
Step 1: Record a voice message.
Step 2: Upload a file of mobile numbers that you wish should receive a call.
Step 3: Add the details of your campaign.
Step 4: Schedule your campaign.
Step 5: Make your campaign live.
Step 6: Access reports at the click of a button to understand the effectiveness of the campaign that can be sorted circle-wise or state-wise.
With a literacy rate of 71% in rural India, one of the most challenging problems is to be able to deliver messages that are understandable. As the major issue faced by the people living in remote/rural areas is the language barrier, implementing voice messaging will eliminate most of the shortcomings of the illiterates. Keeping this as a line of reference, creating a campaign that would keep the majority of the crowd to understand the message becomes crucial.
Voice broadcasting is extremely flexible that lets us run campaigns that would cater to the needs of the mob. Reaching out to a huge mob using a simple, lucid, and a dependable technology would bring success to most of the campaigns. Also, integrating a voice broadcast is as easy as any other physical campaigns.
Smartlink Offered Its Goa Manufacturing Facility for COVID-19 CARE CENTRE
In a bid to control the rapid increase in the number of cases of the Coronavirus in Goa, Mr. K. R. Naik, Executive chairman, Smartlink Holdings Ltd & Founder of Digisol Systems offered his newly purchased factory free of cost to the Verna Industries Association for turning it into a COVID CARE CENTRE for Asymptomatic COVID patients.
Inaugurated on 13th August, this COVID CARE CENTRE is solely managed by Verna Industries Association. The care center is equipped with 140+ Bed Hospice to house only Asymptomatic Positive Patients from Verna Industrial Estate.
This newly converted facility will provide the physical infrastructure, medical furniture, equipment along with Doctors and paramedical staff that will be stationed at the facility round-the-clock.
Mr. Pradip Da’Costa, President, Verna Industries Association and Mr. Damodar Kochkar, President, Goa State Industries Association thanked Mr. K. R. Naik for his exceptional support for this social cause during the pandemic time.
Commenting on this, Mr. K.R. Naik, Executive Chairman, Smartlink Holdings said, “The Coronavirus Cases are rising every day all around us, and it has become important to use every bit of resources we have to fight against it. We at Smartlink are committed to work together and support our country’s efforts to deal with this pandemic. We will continue to utilize our resources to address the urgent needs of those working to combat the threat and impact of COVID-19.”
Smartlink has been always believed in working together and empower every Indian with its offerings. It is one of the few IT networking companies that has been supporting Vocal for Local since its inception. Even during this time of unprecedented uncertainty, the company has taken on the responsibility to help ease the COVID-19 related stress through this initiative and hopes this will help to overcome crisis.
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