New advances in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, the internet of things and communication networks will be some of the trends that will shape the year 2024.
After 2023 which was clearly dominated by artificial intelligence, a new year is opening up before us in which it is sure to make the headlines once again. In this report, we look at some of the trends that we believe will guide the evolution of technology in 2024.
AI continues to advance
Equinix understands that harnessing the power of AI is a competitive necessity. It also emphasises that investments in the technology have a positive return, so it expects the integration of AI into organisations to continue to accelerate and democratise.
Snow Flake experts indicate that the Open AI API is facilitating the development of generative AI applications, such as chatbots, for example. Thus, they believe that this technology will become a driving force for businesses by 2024.
In addition, Asseco Spain Group predicts that augmented or assisted AI will be the next step in generative AI, combining the ability of machines to process data and make decisions with human collaboration. It explains that this technology will advance human-machine collaboration in decision-making and productivity. It will also provide assistance and help with complex tasks.
It specifies that augmented AI will make it possible to generate images, text or other types of content that are more in line with human thinking, offer greater personalisation and boost both creativity and efficiency in a wide variety of fields.
On the other hand, Equinix says there will be strong competition among developers to monetise AI and gain market share. At the same time, there will be an increasing need for technology companies to implement a data governance system that will drive them towards secure, private and sustainable use of AI.
In line with this, he anticipates that the coming year will see advances in the design of regulatory frameworks and ethical algorithms that guarantee the protection of data and privacy of individuals, in line with the new EU AI Law.
Snow Flake also predicts that smaller language models will become the standard, as opposed to large language models (LLMs). These models, which will operate in individual companies or departments, will provide hyper-personalised information based on specific needs.
In addition, Capgemini expects to see progress this year in solving one of the problems of generative AI: hallucinations. This will be achieved by combining generative AI models with high-quality information from Knowledge Graphs. And he believes that platforms that will provide tools for businesses to take advantage of generative AI without the need for technical expertise will emerge.
AI will also help improve security, through automation of key security and operational workflows, early visibility of the entire XIoT attack surface and training to stay ahead of malicious actors, Claroty notes.
Although this technology can also be used for malicious purposes, the company predicts that cybercriminals will continue to make inroads in using the technology as a weapon. For example, Snow Flake warns that generative AI will enable more effective phishing campaigns.
WatchGuard Threat Lab analysts say that cybercriminals can already buy tools on the black market that send spam emails, automatically craft convincing texts, and scour the internet and social media for information and connections to a specific target, but many of these tools are still manual and require attackers to target one user or group at a time.
However, well-formatted procedural tasks, such as those mentioned above, are perfect for automation through AI and machine learning, which is why they see AI-powered tools likely to become the best-selling tools on the dark web by 2024.
Similarly, it sees AI-based vishing taking off in the new year. They predict that the combination of convincing deepfake audio and LLMs capable of holding conversations with unsuspecting victims will greatly increase the scale and volume of vishing calls.
Asseco experts believe that 2024 will be a pivotal year for quantum computing, which will move out of the research labs, with projects such as EuroQCI, and into the mainstream.
This technology exponentially multiplies existing computing capacity, making it possible to solve problems in minutes that would take thousands of years using the best conventional computers.
It therefore represents a significant leap forward in data processing and the resolution of complex problems, with potential applications in areas such as cryptography, simulation and AI, as quantum computing allows much more efficient and faster processes to be carried out than those offered by classical computing.
However, Equinix also warns that it brings with it new risks, so quantum advancement will require the development of more sophisticated cybersecurity measures. For example, Capgemini notes that the US National Institute of Standards and Technology will publish standards for post-quantum cryptography (PQC), encryption algorithms that are believed to be resistant to quantum attacks, in 2024.
In any case, quantum computers are not expected to replace existing computers, but will be integrated with existing IT infrastructure, taking advantage of the best in each area.
IoT, edge computing and security
The IoT has been around for years, but it still has a long way to go. This technology connects everyday objects to a network, allowing them to exchange data and communicate with each other, thanks to sensors and smart devices that can gather information, make decisions and act autonomously.
Asseco sees IoT as a technological revolution, transforming the way we interact with our environment and how machines can optimise processes and services in real time.
It also believes it represents a quantum leap in efficiency, automation and decision-making, with applications in a variety of fields: home management, smart cities, medicine, agriculture, industry, etc.
A fundamental step for the growth of IoT is interoperability. UnaBiz says the industry will embark this year on the creation of common IoT standards, facilitating interoperability between devices and promoting a more unified ecosystem, which will contribute to a more harmonious and efficient development of the IoT.
Similarly, we’ve been hearing about edge computing for years, but it hasn’t really taken off. UnaBiz says edge computing will be a cornerstone for IoT, enabling faster and more efficient data processing, essential for applications that require low latency and real-time responses.
Asseco specifies that this technology enables much faster autonomous decision-making and task execution on devices and systems close to a data source, so as not to rely on remotely hosted servers.
Edge computing brings a substantial improvement in terms of efficiency and speed to tasks where latency is a critical factor, such as autonomous vehicles, remote production or the internet of things (IoT). It also enables real-time data processing without the need for constant connection to the cloud and greater process automation, so it can play a decisive role in the transformation of industry.
All this will be possible thanks to the integration of AI to edge, boosting efficiency in data processing, improving decision-making in real time and optimising network performance, as explained by UnaBiz experts.
Colt also foresees exponential growth in the number of edge applications, accelerated by the adoption of AI in combination with smart technologies such as IoT and immersive extended reality (XR).
But the development of IoT and edge computing is also challenging. Claroty says that as converged XIoT networks become commonplace across all critical infrastructure sectors, organisations will need to shift their security focus from network-centric to asset-centric.
The company says it is critical to understand traffic patterns, detect known policy violations and apply segmentation through firewalls, network access controls and micro-segmentation to ensure secure network communications.
Telecommunications: 5G and beyond
Finetwork says that as the deployment of 5G networks expands and use cases for 5G-based technologies are developed, the potential for this new generation of connectivity will grow.
In addition, the future arrival of 6G is already on the horizon, which will bring a leap in speed and data transmission capacity. Gartner indicates that sectors such as telemedicine and technologies related to home intelligence will benefit from this new development.
6G will not arrive in 2024. In fact, Nokia notes that the first 6G networks are not expected to be commercially operational until after 2030, but the foundations are already being laid, with advances in 5G-Advanced, as well as crucial steps on the road to 6G. For example, distributed massive MIMO (DmMIMO), an AI-native network fabric, new spectrum and radio designs, and the advancement of intent-based automation are some of the stepping stones.
But it’s not all over for the next generations of mobile connectivity. Finetwork predicts that 2024 will be the year when technologies such as VoLTE and VoWiFi, which offer the ability to make voice calls over the LTE/4G or WiFi mobile network, respectively, will take off. This allows simultaneous high quality voice calls and online browsing. In addition, when made via LTE or WiFi, no additional data is consumed, only call minutes.
UnaBiz also believes that low power long-range networks (LPWANs) will gain prominence. These technologies offer extended battery life, wide range and low deployment costs, driving connectivity in large-scale IoT projects.
In addition, the company predicts that we will see convergence between networks for large projects. For example, it talks about the strategic convergence of 0G technologies such as LoRa and Sigfox, which opens up new opportunities for massive projects by providing efficient connectivity for a large number of devices with low power requirements.
In addition, Colt expects the emergence of Network-as-a-Service solutions to deliver cost savings and reduce energy emissions, while meeting the need for businesses to adapt to changing market dynamics.
The company predicts that SD WAN and SASE will continue to drive growth in 2024 and beyond. In addition, it predicts that the adoption of AI and smart technologies such as IoT and immersive XR will drive the deployment of private wireless 5G network solutions in enterprises’ operational and business premises.
Augmented and virtual reality taking off
Asseco experts believe that 2024 will be the time for augmented reality, in combination with 5G, leveraging its ultra-fast, low-latency connectivity for the instantaneous overlay of virtual elements in the real world.
This will enable users to access more immersive and dynamic experiences, such as interactive gaming, real-time support for professionals, richer entertainment and educational experiences, and more.
WatchGuard also notes that the development of new virtual or mixed reality headsets are beginning to attract users to immerse themselves in immersive environments. But it warns about the threats that come with their use, as a malicious hacker could find a technique to collect sensor data from virtual or mixed reality headsets to recreate the environment in which users play.
2024, a key year for sustainability
Sustainability is also a very important factor in the future of technology. Ynvolve recalls that the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) requires some 12,000 large companies to report on their ESG with data from 2024. Similarly, due diligence regulations come into force in 2024, which aim to end voluntarism and oblige companies to incorporate sustainability into their business.
Ynvolve points out that data centres are major CO2 emitters, so companies will have to look for more sustainable solutions and drive their IT infrastructures towards climate neutrality by developing good practices.
Equinix also stresses that the emergence of new regulations such as the European Energy Efficiency Directive, which require greater control of companies and data centre operators to promote energy savings, will lead to an increased commitment to achieve more environmentally friendly business models and will boost the search for new formulas and technologies to reduce the carbon footprint and resource consumption.
The company points out that Spain has unbeatable geographical conditions for the generation of solar and wind energy, so it anticipates that investments in renewable energy projects such as PPAs (power purchase agreements) will be significant.
It also expects public administrations to support the sustainable growth of the digital infrastructure sector, focusing on maximising energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, favouring the use of renewable energy and limiting water consumption.
Moreover, Equinix highlights that as technologies such as AI demand increased data processing and traffic, the power requirements of servers and storage are constantly increasing, as well as the heat that accompanies them, so companies will need to continue to explore new cooling strategies.