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Blockchain, robotics, AI and wireless will ‘disrupt’ in 2018: Dimension Data


October 25, 2017  


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Blockchain, together with artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and virtual and augmented reality, have the potential to deliver disruptive outcomes and reshape digital business in 2018. And, according to new findings from Dimension Data, companies that have not started the digital investment cycle are at high risk of being disrupted.

AI, machine learning, robotics, blockchain, and wireless are all set to disrupt the way companies sell products and services, especially when those elements combine.

This is according to the list of top IT predictions for 2018 published by the technology firm. But the top trend for the coming year is the adoption of Blockchain — the technology behind Bitcoin – and its immense potential to disrupt and transform the world of money, business, and society using a variety of applications.

Ettienne Reinecke, Dimension Data’s group chief technology officer, says Blockchain has gone from strength to strength. “Last year, when we looked at the top digital business trends for 2017, we predicted that centralized transaction models would come under attack. We were spot on. In the financial services sector, we’ve seen the US and European capital markets moving onto Blockchain platforms, and similar activity in markets such as Japan. Considering how conservative and compliance-focused this sector is, that’s quite remarkable.

“It’s ironic that the cybercriminals who perpetrated the recent WannaCry ransomware attack could hold a federal government to ransom and demand to be paid in Bitcoin. Bitcoin might be a crypto-currency, but it’s based on Blockchain, and if cybercriminals are confident that Bitcoin provides a safe mechanism for the payment of ransoms, it indicates just how secure the distributed ledger approach is. I believe that Blockchain has the potential to totally re-engineer cybersecurity, but the industry has yet to come to terms with it.”

Reinecke predicts that Blockchain will also deliver on the promise of Internet of Things (IoT) in the year ahead. “In the world of IoT you’re generating millions of small transactions that are being collected from a distributed set of sensors. It’s not feasible to operate these systems using a centralized transactional model: it’s too slow, expensive, and exclusive.

“To extract the true value from IoT technology you have to be able to operate in real time. Once a sensor alert is received from a control system you must react to it, meter it, and bill for it instantly – all of which negates the viability of a centralized transactional authority. The cost of the transaction has to be near-zero or free, and the cost elements of a centralized model simply don’t support the potential business model in IoT.”