Connections proliferate among objects in the internet age. Billions of devices connect to the internet and permissibly share information with what it needs to, all in the pursuit of aiding the completion of certain tasks, making things easier and more convenient. It is impacting homes and businesses across the globe in radical ways, pushing the horizon back for how data is processed, distributed, and applied. The internet of things is a booming market. While devices will take the bulk of the interest, there are certain technologies which will unlock them, and make them more viable. What are these and how might they impact 2021?
5G will be a revolutionary piece of technology which will set in motion many new technologies. One of its many beneficiaries will be cloud computing. What this means is that the rendering and processing of applications will be handled on remote servers, instead of the user’s hardware. What this allows is greater flexibility in accessing certain solutions. For instance, many services now offer themselves as cloud-based. Businesses can access what it is they need via the internet, meaning that every employee can use their own device, or any device, to complete the tasks they need to using this service, while also guaranteeing that all the data is up-to-date and universal, so old versions are not kept on one hard drive, for instance. There will be more available from wherever anyone is, as long as there is internet.
One of blockchain’s key values is to address how information is stored and shared. It’s focus, then, sharply aligns with that of the market for the internet of things. Blockchain is a digital ledger that stores information in a highly secure way with a focus on transparency. Information is stored in blocks on a chain, with each block containing the “fingerprint” of the one before it, which is essential to its security as if a block is changed the fingerprint is too, subsequently voiding the link to the next block and the rest of the chain. Each block is validated by a peer-to-peer system of companies – a decentralised network – with a time delay between each block added to a chain. All this adds to the fact that it will be hugely difficult to hack.
In its current form, blockchain’s use in the consumer and business circles is mostly geared towards cryptocurrencies. It is a two-trillion-dollar market of which bitcoin accounts for half. Currency is obviously an integral cog in the world’s machine, so establishing itself in this way is radical. More and more corporations and businesses are accepting them as payment methods and are investing in them to diversify their portfolio. 2021 promises to be a huge year in which cryptocurrencies are further normalised.
With more and more emphasis and reliance on digital solutions there comes a security risk. The likes of phishing, ransomware, and social-engineering attacks are expected to continue causing issues for users. AI and machine learning programmes will help developers and businesses keep their data safe by being that all-seeing eye human workforces can’t necessarily be. They will spot abnormal patterns and be able to combat them instantaneously, while also coming up with fixes which humans might not think of. These solutions and advancements will be necessary moving forwards as more and more devices and used and entrusted with sensitive data.