We are becoming an ever greater data consuming and interconnected world. In ten years, more people and nations will have internet connectivity that they depend on for their life and business. With nations like India ‘leapfrogging’ technology such as landlines, and instead adopting mobile technology, it would not come as a surprise if more and more internet networks are comprised of Wireless devices. Li-Fi (internet connectivity with light pulses) could become a major player in secure internet connections (as it is contained to where the light reaches, i.e. room walls).
With the enhanced connectivity ordinary people, and companies will increasingly face new security issues, which we are already seeing today. This will probably be the most frightening thing of new technological capability; security and data protection. The TalkTalk hacking scandal and the more recent Apple Ransomware virus demonstrate no one organisation or business is safe from these kinds of attacks. As technology evolves, new weaknesses will always be exploited, but that’s not to say systems are weak or vulnerable, we will just need to be smarter about it.
People need to be very cautious with the software and material they are downloading and streaming. In addition, they need to ensure that their security protocols are thorough and up-to-date, including anti-virus, web protection, and ad blocking software. People will need to continue to simply avoid dodgy or malicious websites. Security issues come in a range of guises, including Ransomware viruses (like Cryptolocker) and Trojans that sit on the host’s machines and collect data without being noticed (like Volatile Ceder Malware). These programs can make using the same password for everything even more dangerous! Companies such as Microsoft are working on programs to enhance security measures, such as Windows Hello, which uses facial recognition in an attempt to challenge any and all identity-related security issues.
The other issue is Big Data and the concept that everything we do is becoming ‘data-fied’, in this respect years’ from now we will live in a very data-heavy world, where data will be harvested, analysed and applied in all walks of life. There are already concerns over companies collecting data from children via the devices and applications they use, as well as the privacy laws safeguarding minors, with many underage children using social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram without knowing that those pictures taken are essentially then ‘lost’ to the web.
In general, companies will start to move away from on-premise solutions like servers and instead adopt either hybrid or totally cloud solutions for their business. As more and more companies look into innovative cloud solutions and applications, less attention will be paid into improving current set ups and hardware in that respect. PCs themselves may simply become dumb terminals, only used to access the internet, dashboards and portals for your data and emails. Microsoft’s Continuum is looking to use phones as though they were your PC, with a clever docking station you use to project your mobile onto your office monitor. This, of course, opens up lots of ‘ownership, ‘BYOD’ and security issues, should the phone belong to the user and not they company. The power of mobile technology has increased so quickly that it is very possible that mobile devices will be used over and above PCs and so the Continuum mentioned above could truly be a reality. Also, chrome books and similar may also increase in popularity.
The potential technological capabilities that will be available in 10 years are hugely exciting. But perhaps most exciting, is the increase in ease and efficiency, and how it will be a more subscription-based way to pay for services and applications. This is already in motion with the adoption of cloud services that allow more and more people to pay per month, rather than large upfront costs of say servers or PCs.
The cloud allows for increased accessibility and flexibility within the workplace, so people can work on the go, from the office and even at home. This is going to really transform employment in the next decade… mothers can return to work easily after maternity leave or work from home for a period, people can work in international markets as they’re not constrained to their desk and people with disabilities have access to the equipment and software they need to aid them.
Virtual reality will become ever more popular for home and business use, and app automation for central heating, lighting, fridges and much more will be common place in 10 years. IT is becoming increasingly intertwined in our every day life, and while the opportunities for this are exciting, we need to be smart in how we protect ourselves from potential risks.