Blockchain, machine learning, robotics and AI to reshape digital business
Dimension Data says Blockchain has immense potential to disrupt and transform the world of money, business and society in 2018
Blockchain, together with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotics and virtual and augmented reality, have the potential to deliver disruptive outcomes and reshape digital business in 2018.
This is according to the list of top IT predictions for 2018 published today by global solutions provider Dimension Data.
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 Group chief technology officer, said Blockchain has gone from strength to strength. "Last year, when we looked at the top digital business trends for 2017, we predicted that centralised 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."
Reinecke added that: "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 centralised 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 centralised transactional authority. The cost of the transaction has to be near-zero or free, and the cost elements of a centralised model simply don't support the potential business model in IoT," he explained.
Mechelle Buys Du Plessis, managing director, Dimension Data Middle East concurs with Reinecke and said: "Blockchain is an enabler for the Middle East region to deliver secure, digitised services across all verticals. The Dubai Government is leading the charge with a well-defined blockchain strategy. We have seen a leading uptake of Blockchain with Smart Dubai, as it sets out on a journey of adopting Blockchain to provide simpler and secure services across multiple government agencies to better serve citizens, residence and tourists."
Du Plessis added that with ambitious growth figures forecast for tourism, Smart Dubai is gearing up to provide seamless services to allow for simple, secure transactions. "We are already seeing progress towards paperless processes, which will lead up to the utilisation of blockchain. Furthermore, we have also seen the finance sector taking to blockchain and digitisation initiatives. There is no denying that blockchain will become more prevalent in the region in 2018."