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Trending in 2016: the connected world brings opportunities and risks
The BBC has come up with top top tech trends for 2016:
1. Cybercrime and a renewed emphasis on cybersecurity
2. The internet of things and the development of hyper-connected world
3. Real-time data analytics, not intuition, driving business decisions,
4. New data protection laws forcing firms to rethink compliance strategies,
5. Artificial intelligence and robotics replacing repetitive tasks,
6. Smartphones becoming primary tool for almost everything,
7. More business applications for virtual and augmented reality tech,
8. Increased personalised and in-store location-based marketing,
9. Drones to be allowed to make deliveries and perform other public tasks,
10. Established businesses to face increased competition from #startups,
The forecasts, opportunities and risks are based on a series of interviews with tech firms, telecoms, digital agencies, research analysts, lawyers, and accountants.
Let's take a closer look.
Cyber security will become the biggest worry for most companies as the internet of things takes off and our world becomes increasingly mobile and connected.
More and more firms are realising that customer data stolen by hackers is not good for business. It not only damages corporate reputations, but also erodes the public’s ‘comfort in sharing their data. Breaches are though inevitable while the shortage of skilled cyber security professionals will make building strong defences against attacks more expensive.
Several security experts have forecast an increase in ransomware attacks with criminals hacking into a system, encrypting the data and then demanding a ransom to decrypt it. According to one expert, ransomware attacks are expected to become a bigger threat this year, targeting critical assets in return for more money. Other experts believe the growth of mobile payment systems will give hackers new opportunities, while others see increasing threats for employees, suppliers and contractors as a way of infiltrating corporate systems.
New European data protection laws coming into effect in 2018 are expected to bring a significant increase in fines for data breaches, forcing firms to reassess their compliance procedures already in 2016. Firms that can afford it should have dedicated data protection officers reporting to the board.
The new world of "connected everything" should finally see real momentum in 2016, from connected cars recording driver behaviour data for insurance purposes, to smart watches and other wearables delivering health data and even initial diagnoses.
Key trends include "machine-to-machine" tech moving beyond industrial applications, such as utility infrastructure monitoring, and into agriculture, health, smart metering, and environmental research. Others are predicting home appliances receiving software updates automatically and companies offering additional services on the back of the connected home concept.
All the data that these connected things generate will be stored, analysed and translated into practical insights using real-time analytics, enabling companies to actually anticipating changing customer needs rather than just responding to them.
Some believe this will translate into a smarter workforce as well, as employees are able to solve problems on the go, where robots augment but do not replace humans as problem-solving becomes one of the most coveted skills in organisations.
This trend, dubbed the "internet of things", or IoT for short, will not only bring a host of new applications but also a host of new cyber security threats as the number of gadgets and objects wirelessly transmitting sensor data to each other and central computers increases. Greater connectivity means more points of entry for hackers on the look-out for more weak points in any system or network. Hence, IoT cyber security concerns will loom large in 2016.
Source: BBC Cybersecurity in the connected world