Tech Futurist Brian Hopkins believes today’s digital landscape is rewriting the rules of business, and it’s doing so at a breakneck pace.
According to Hopkins, 56 percent of businesses reported in a survey that they are involved in some form of digital transformation in their workplace. Of that number, 62 percent say it’s a company-wide transformation.
Hopkins, vice president and principal analyst at independent research firm Forrester, was the latest presenter at the Greater Alpharetta Technology Network’s (GATN) speaker series event on Nov. 16, sponsored by ObjectFrontier.
“Once we alter your view of the world, we want to lead your organization through the changes you need to make,” Hopkins said of Forrester.
One of Hopkins’ latest reports, The Top 10 Technology Trends To Watch: 2018 To 2020, predicted an exciting amount of growth in the industry over the next few years. He discussed some of the major trends at his GATN speaking engagement:
- Software that Learns to Learn
- Blockchain Trust
- Customer Experience
Software that Learns to Learn
An advancement in software that learns to learn, like AI, is not a trend based off analytics, Hopkins said.
“It’s more that we are already seeing software systems that need human programming less and are teaching themselves instead,” he explained
Hopkins referenced AlphaGo as an example. When Google introduced AlphaGo’s latest version, AlphaGo Zero, one of the primary objectives was to teach the program how to play (and win) against any opponent in the ancient Chinese game of Go.
Through the training process, AlphaGo became its own teacher. It learned new moves by playing itself rather than studying moves of previous players. In a surprising development, the program discovered new moves that had never before been played in this ancient game. It used those moves to play and win against world champion Go players, multiple times.
There are still projects that need a heavy human hand, like self-driving cars, but these programs are learning more and adapting through their algorithmic training.
“As we learn to create better training data, we improve the algorithm,” Hopkins added.
Once companies embrace the new digital landscape, or “The Information Technology Stone Age,” as Hopkins called it, they gain leverage over the changes – ultimately resulting in immense opportunities.
Blockchain is morphing the way consumers and companies manage their assets, adding a sought-after sense of trust. Trailblazers are taking agency over their finances, real estate and security by challenging central authorities through digital currency.
Hopkins reminded the GATN audience that although Blockchain appears foolproof, there are still business risks. He prompted the technology leaders in the room to evaluate exactly where they fit in the digital ecosystem, and, if they were willing, to adapt their business strategies at the speed of change.
Of course, strong customer experience is what drives success. Hopkins describes the current culture of consumers as a “hyper-adoptive generation.” This generation is willing to try any new technology to add comfort to their lives and dump the technology as soon as they are unsatisfied.
According to Hopkins, the future will consist of fused digital experiences, blending augmented reality with a user’s normal life.
In our world of interconnectivity, the No. 1 challenge confronted by technology entrepreneurs is data. Hopkins presented two key questions:
- Who owns connected building data?
- How does one manage data that is not hyper-local?
By 2020, successful firms will be those that properly utilize the public cloud for big data analytics. In addition to that, firms will move more toward accepting the exotic data and advancements of the edge.
About the Speaker
Brian Hopkins covers big data, systems of insight, public cloud, insight platforms, and insight for the internet of things. He also leads Forrester’s emerging technology and technology innovation research, leading a team of analysts who write Forrester’s top technology trends and top emerging technology reports annually. His research provides practical advice to CIOs, enterprise architects, technology managers, and customer insights professionals seeking to build insights-driven businesses and maximize the value of their business technology investments.